Saturday, 18 April 2020

Things my people never knew.



My parents both died in the early 1980's, and during the intervening 35-plus years, so much has happened that they would have found almost 'unbelievable'.

Most importantly, life has changed drastically since Babbage allowed us all have laptops at home. The days when we all referred to the Encyclopedia Britannica or the local Reference Library for our information have long gone. These days the click of a mouse brings forth more information than we could ever have imagined; on any subject.

We no longer take our exposed rolls of 35mm camera film to Boots; the digital age means that the photographic department of the nearby Chemist is now defunct, and the processing of our holiday snaps takes place in that same all-powerful laptop.

Furthermore, that telephone in the hall is now hardly ever used, as everyone (except me) carries a small hand-held mobile device that does just about everything. We can even speak to, and see, each other across the world for FREE.

TV's are now flat, and you can change channels without having to leave the sofa!

If I'd told them that their lovely thatched Sussex house, that they bought back in the late 60's, is now worth a bloody fortune; they would have laughed in my face.

Cars now drive themselves (without petrol). Houses create their own electricity through roof-mounted solar panels. Woolworth's no longer exists. Big Ben no longer rings, due to lengthy renovations. Having joined The Common Market in 1973, we then quit the EU in 2020. Some people now live on takeaways of beefburgers and cola, which are consumed whilst watching TV. Millions of Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants now live in England, and have created their own communities. And I am still living in France.

Your 3 grandchildren have all done well. One lives in London, one in Oz, and one presently in Holland. You also now have 6 great-grandsons, but no granddaughters; each of your grandchildren has two boys.

Not all has been good since you left. There have been several unnecessary wars in Iraq and Syria, and the USA currently has a bizarre orange-faced TV personality and property owner as its President (no comment).

We are also currently in the midst of an extremely nasty worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19.

Otherwise, my sister and I are both well. We both live adequate lives; both still in our chosen countries, and we have both also followed in the family tradition of becoming diabetics.

I know you would have loved modern communication; mostly for Email and chatting on Skype, and I'm pretty sure you'd have joined the millions who buy stuff 'online' from a Co called Amazon.

The world is quite different now, and I think, mostly, you would have enjoyed it. I'm just sorry you aren't both here to see for yourselves.


58 comments:

  1. I like your description of the bizarre orange faced #45.

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  2. I often think back to the aerograms that took a week or so each way and 3 minute prebooked phone calls - always from my end.

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    1. I think I still have an unused aerogram somewhere; it must be a 'collectors item' these days.

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  3. Cell phones have ruined so many mystery novel plots!

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    1. I am that lone person in the world who doesn't own one; and I'm not fussed!

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  4. I love this post. You highlight many things we just accept as ordinary, which are anything but.
    I wish I could have my maternal grandfather back, just to show him all the things man has developed. I sat watching the moon landings with him. He had a brilliant mind but not the opportunity. He was a steam engine driver, the third generation of his family to work on the railways.
    Thanks for this.

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    1. I'm sure my mother would have embraced all modern technology, and used it regularly. My father would probably have ignored it as all 'stuff and nonsense'.

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  5. Mr Orange images are as nothing compared the Sun’s latest publicity seeking front page picture of Meghan Maskel and dog.

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    1. Weren't they fortunate that there was a photographer about, when she and Harry went delivering food parcels to the needy of Los Angeles. It could ALMOST have been pre-arranged.

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  6. Huge changes. My parents lived to see a lot of changes but didn't use the new fangled internet themselves. Email helped shorten the distance but only through my younger brother.
    They did enjoy the video recorder and english programmes, as opposed to american, that were shown on tv but radio and long playing discs were still their preferred entertainment.
    My mother was horrified at all the violence in the world, I suppose a lot of it was too close up with the world news broadcasts in colour. She would not have liked to have lived through even worse in the last decade.

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    1. I just think my people would have been shocked by what's gone on. Roughly around when they died, you could still buy a pleasant country house for about £20k; these days it would be £2 Million. They wouldn't have believed it.

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  7. I find British and indeed European obsession with all things Trump quite strange. We have so many short comings here in politicians, policies, finance and banking yet they are consistently ignored for the latest rant about the Orange Bad Man. UK newspapers even tout the higher number of deaths from Covid in the US as proof of Trump being incompetent. Yet the harsh reality is that if we adjust the deaths for population size we are faring far worse.
    If the UK had the same population as the US we'd currently be on 77,000. Spain would be on close to 160,000. Perhaps we ought to remove the plank from our own eye before, well you know the quote.

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  8. Also consider the government bailout package. Our, UK, government has only managed to get 1.1 billion in business loans issued. No individuals have seen a penny and the self employed won't see anything until the end of June.
    In contrast the US government has issued over $301 billion to 1.38 million companies in relief loans. One third of all US taxpayers have already had their stimulus money directly deposited into their accounts.
    Makes you think....

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    1. I'm sure Trump has done many good things, but the world's obsession with him is based on his bizarre behaviour, and lack of eloquence.

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    2. Cro, he thinks as he speaks. He doesn't seem to use auto-cue. He is bizarre at times but generally seems more right than wrong. Wish we had one here.

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    3. Adrian, are we watching the same person? I am very pleased we don't have such an orange-fizzoged loon here! When someone refers to a virus as "the germ" and goes on to discuss "how clever, the germ has become", so much so that according to Trump "antibiotics won't work on it now", you know you are on a hiding to nothing. President Trump, a basic rule of science is that antibiotics cannot kill viruses!

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  9. My Dad and Mum died in 2001 and 2002 respectively at the age of 94 and 93 respectively. They were fortunate enough to benefit from some of the modern technology. Dad, a photographer all his life, marvelled at my digital camera. Mum, who kept in touch by telephone with her family daily, marvelled that, in the middle of the Australian outback, I could use my Nokia mobile phone to check that she was okay and have a few words. Oddly, they would both have been in their element with all this new technology even if perplexed by it.

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    1. It's interesting to wonder what they would have made of it all. A mixture of emotions I imagine.

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  10. Yes Cro, our generation has seen so much change, one wonders what the future holds?

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  11. You sound almost proud of not owning a mobile. May I ask if Lady M. has one?

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    1. No. Well, like me, she has an old one in a drawer somewhere.

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  12. Lovely piece, Cro. And do you remember the "telegram"? Oh my god. The telegram. Usually the bearer of bad news. Last one I got was from my father. To inform me that the (my) wedding was cancelled. A day before we were flying to the motherland and some of our guests had already landed there. No shit.

    As to mobiles. I haven't got one either. It can only be a matter of time before I cave in. There are, believe it or not, people - not least companies - who will only communicate via texts; MSN whatever. How to be squeezed out of the market place. Once upon a time we were peddled the idea that technology makes things easier. And, most likely and on the whole, that may be true. In other ways? No. Not at all. Some "inventions" make life far more complicated and consume time into the bargain!

    U

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    1. Occasionally when buying through Amazon, I am obliged to give a Mobile No. I simply give someone elses, and my order goes through. You'd be surprised by whose numbers I've given!

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  13. So many changes in our lifetime, not all for the better. But right now modern technology is definitely helping people stuck at home and separated from their loved ones.

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    1. Yes, it's really come into its own; especially for older people. A life saver.

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  14. To think how we marvelled at the impossible gadgets depicted in the 1960s Star Trek series, communicators and universal translators (mobile phones and apps), replicators (3D printers) etc. We just need Scotty to beam us up.

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    1. If Scotty could transport me to Oz and back (safely), I'd be extremely happy.

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  15. I often say to the husband what would our parents think about all the things so many of us take for granted today? They just wouldn’t recognise the world. Fast forward and our offspring will be saying the same about us!

    LX

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    1. And about the funny old clothes we wore, and the old-fashioned kitchens we used, etc.

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  16. We are about to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary and I was thinking just this morning how, in 1988 not many people had heard of the internet, owned mobile phones, and if you had told us then that in 32 years we'd have to wash our rubbish before throwing it out...

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    1. It really is amazing how much things have changed in such short a time. My wife washes all our recycling stuff, before taking it to the bins.

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  17. Yes Cro, I think more or less the same about my parents who died in the late seventies - but of course these things didn't happen overnight, they crept up on us as they do with every generation.

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    1. I do remember that Pepys was paying his maid exactly the same amount of money as Dr Johnson paid his maid one hundred years later. Things didn't used to go so fast in those days.

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  18. My parents passed away in this century and did get to see and use many of the conveniences we have today. However, like me, they would have feared for where this is all going.

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    1. The only thing I would like to see are Concorde type planes that could get me to Australia in 6 hours, at a reasonable price.

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  19. I guess every generation could have said the same, albeit very different things. My dad just started to get to grips with the computer just before he died ...... it’s a shame he couldn’t have had more time with it as he would have loved it. XXXX

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    1. No, for many generations things stayed exactly the same. They may have made slight improvements to a cup or a bed, but until the Industrial Revolution progress was very slow. Whether or not this was good thing; I know not.

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  20. My parents took everything in their stride from my mother as first mate on steam engines in the 1930s to my father and the first combine harvester in the district and they embraced everything new that came along. An interesting post, difficult to get my head around because sometimes I find the latest technology hard work and think have I let them down. they'd have cracked it.

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    1. I like to think my mother would have embraced everything, but my father was 'old school', and would have continued with his FT and Investors Chronicle.

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  21. The Orange One speaks as he finds. Don't forget he was a tv quiz show host. Something like Sugar or whatever his name was on British TV. And also that he has a casino in Las Vegas etc.. He's not a peanut farmer like Jimmy Carter. Or even a Gwbya with a daddy thing. He's himself. I admire him greatly for trying to drain the swamp. As Elon Musk said when mainstream ran a fake news item: "I only wonder that CNN still exists." When the Orange One won the election I predicted he wouldn't start a new war. And to date he hasn't.

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    1. I also hear that, as now, he stands a very good chance of being re-elected. Unfortunately his bloopers and Trumpisms tend to grab the headlines, and no-one talks of his successes.

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    2. Trump didn't drain the swamp, he just became the most terrible creature in it.

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    3. Shame on me? Why? Half of America supports the president. They support his early action on stopping flights from China for example. Nearly 70% of the world’s Covid-19 deaths are in Europe. I’ll swap you some of our leaders.

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    4. Thanks Gwil . It's nice to know that not everyone overseas is eat up with TDS. A lot of the headlines are BS and that's all some care about. Major newspapers in the US have been called out time and time again printing false information or rather skewing the news to fit their narrative.

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  22. A lovely, reflective and affectionate post. I wonder what changes your parents would have noted if they had chosen to write similar addresses to your grandparents.

    PS. Like Ursula and your good self I have also never possessed a mobile phone. We should form an online club - The Dinosaurs!

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    1. I suppose the telephone, radio, TV, many electrical appliances, and plumbing all became standard during the latter part of my grandparents time, but I think they took much longer to be universally accepted.

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  23. Cro, I'm glad my folks aren't here for this Pandemic. And I was glad they didn't have to experience Katrina when it hit New Orleans. But there are so many new things they would have enjoyed... especially my dad. He loved new inventions. But I think they are aware of life and what we are going through... even if they are no longer here with us.
    And I have to tell you, Cro, that I LOVE my iPhone (even if it's an old model)! However, I hardly ever use it to talk...

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    1. When I did have a mobile, it was simply a telephone, and I had enough trouble trying to use it even though it was supposed to be simple. I gave-up after that.

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  24. My mother embraced all the technology, she was a whizz at computers and getting the internet up and running. She didn't have any training at this, she just learnt as she went along. The grandchildren used to call her Technogranny. If we had problems with our internet or anything else, I'd call her and she'd know what to do, amazing for an 86 year old lady, she just loved learning new things. It's mind boggling how much has changed since my grandmother's days, she'd have been astounded at it all, but she'd have gone along with it all as well, just like my mum.

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    1. I don't think my mother would have been too interested in the ins and outs of computers, but I know she would have loved using them.

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  25. Lovely tribute to your parents Enjoyed this Thankyou

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  26. Having been born before WWII, I'm still around to see, those things your parents saw, and onward. -smile-

    And that is where we part company... Your description of the President of my Country, is below you. When people resort to such silly mockery, they have nothing else to base their opinions on.

    And before you say..."Oh yes, I have many reasons..."

    Please remember which World Leader stopped flights from China, way back in January!!!

    When all other World Leaders, did not do so.

    For fear of being called Xenophobic.

    Who had the guts, to attempt to protect the people of his Country?

    But I do Thank you again,
    for your sweet comment,
    on "Clara."
    πŸŒΈπŸ’œπŸŒΈπŸ’œπŸŒΈπŸ’œπŸŒΈ

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