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"Back in the Day"..... Remember When Things Weren't So Technical?

Updated on June 18, 2011

Are Play Grounds Becoming Extinct?

We Used To Have Imaginary Friends and Play Outside

Being a parent, and having friends, family members, and co-workers who have had children, it is amazing to watch children today and see the differences time has provided one generation to the next.

Recently, I had the privilege to sit with a 6 year little girl, about to turn 7 years old. We were sitting at the kitchen table looking at sale flyer's. I asked her what she would like for her birthday. The response was amazing. Silly me, I thought she'd say a Barbie or some other toy. No, she flatly stated "I want this so I can text." I was flabbergasted. Text? a 7 year old needs to text? Who? Needless to say, she got a Barbie for her birthday.

Today, I had the privilege to spend the day with my "Baby". Of course she is 19 years old, but we had a fascinating time talking about things she did as a child. I guess I come from the generation of the "last imaginary play" kids. Because I was bombarded with a lot of memories I had as a child. We didn't have computers, cell phones, video games, or cable/digital/Satellite TV. We rode our bikes, and hung out with our friends...outside. We didn't text our friends all day, or worse if they were sitting in the same room. We dialed a telephone to talked to our friends, or sent them a letter. We always spoke to our friends face to face.

My daughter truly amazes me, because she did thank me for sending her out to "play" on a regular basis. She attributes this love for outdoors and sport like activities to her mom's insistance she play outside. However, she did turn around and ask for a cell phone too. Only her reasons seemed more sound than hearing it come from a 7 year old. I guess going off to college one might need it....cough call mom.

It makes me wonder what this sweet little 7 year old will turn out like. She insists the TV be her baby sitter. She has to have that cell phone, and constantly wants to play on the computer or a video game. Has time really changed so much?

I can remember things like this (and frankly some of them are extinct and need to be put back in our culture) :

Gasoline was 99 cents a gallon.... wow!

Cigarettes were 75 cents a pack, and you could be a kid and go to the local store and get them for your questions asked.

Drive-ins were the cool place to watch a movie

Phone lines had "party lines" so your neighbor could pick up their phone and actually eavesdrop on your conversation.

Phones were rotary dial not push button, and they were attached to a wall.

Television had 3 channels to choose from (at least in my area, stuck out in the country)

MTV had music videos, not reality shows all day long (VH1 same thing)

My High School's first computer ran on DOS, and didn't show up in any class room until 1984 or 1985-ish.

Sex Education was taught in Health class, in High School

Our parents were allowed to spank us when we were being really bad, and were allowed to make us attend church.

Microwave ovens were usually only in Convenience stores and had a dial to turn to make it run

VHS versus Beta video tapes..... cost outrageous prices (like $80) to first purchase, CD's and DVD's hadn't even been invented yet.

MOM and POP Resturaunts were the greatest places to eat. So were Bowling Alleys.

Home Schooling did not exist....everyone went to a private or public school

People played Vinyl Records.... on Record players, Cassette tapes replaced 8-track.


I could sit here all day and remember things. It's rather fun. Though my children will still give me "crazy" looks...and they will still ask me for that cell phone. What's this world coming too? I am still trying to get a handle on all the video game terms. That alone can confuse even the strong at heart. This zombie kills that zombie, etc... My favorite sentence lately is "Um mm, you lost me at the name of the thing." The term "Gamer" is popular right now....should I be proud? Anime? OK, entirely different universe.

I'd like to see that same 7 year old play outside, but most of all it would be nice to know they appreciate the things they have today. Because my generation didn't have those things to entertain us all day long. We had to use our imaginations on a daily basis, and I don't think our parents were confused every time we opened our mouth to tell them what we had been doing with our time if they asked.


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    • PaisleeGal profile image

      Pat Materna 

      6 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Dragonlady.... This is so true and sad also ... I'm afraid by the time my 3 yr grandson is grown he will not even know how to use the hand written expression of a letter or note or how to actually look someone in the face a carry on a conversation. I'm on a mission. When he's with me at my house we use very little technology. I'm determined he at least be given the opportunity to open his mind to his own ideas and develop his imagination.

    • dragonlady1967 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you multifunctions :-)

    • multifunctions profile image

      Sanjay Sapre 

      8 years ago from India

      you are so full of love and affection.

    • dragonlady1967 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago boyfriend's sister does the same thing with the time limits. It's amusing watching them

    • mailxpress profile image

      Michelle Cesare 

      8 years ago from New York


      Good Hub. So true. Times have changed a whole lot.

      I have a friend who has a 10-year-old. She puts a time limit when he's on the X-box and makes him go outside to play and hang with friends. She feels this is something that needs to be done.


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