Yup, I’m bucking against tradition. I’m such a rebel. I don’t make resolutions. I don’t care for putting that kind of pressure on myself. The end/start of another year is an imaginary line. So, on to my post!
What Would Grammy Wood Think?
I imagine the strangest things sometimes. If you have been following me for any length of time this statement should not surprise you at all.
I often think about the every-day items we use, and that we take for granted. Microwaves ovens, cell phones, flat screen TVs, computers, and tablets are all such an integral part of our lives, we barely think about what life was like before their existence.
I sat here the other day and wondered what it would be like if my Grammy Wood came back to life for one day, and I had the opportunity to show her all that has changed since her death in the mid 70s.
When she died, the microwave was barely heard of yet. We still used the rotary phone, no touch tone, no cordless phones, and definitely no cell phones. The television in her living room was one of those huge, wooden floor models, it was “state of the art” color. (I have one like it in my living room right now) We did have a tiny black and white portable TV that us kids used. It had an antenna that had to moved to get the picture, and a pair of pliers to change the channels, all five or six channels. There were the three networks and the UHF channels, 27, 38, and 56, which we tuned in after school to watch “The Three Stooges” and “Bugs Bunny” cartoons.
Can you imagine how amazed, confused, and probably shocked Grammy would be on this tour of my home?
Let’s start with the microwave oven. Thank goodness they have gotten smaller. Remember those huge, clunky things that first graced our counter tops? Oh my. Imagine me asking Grammy if she would like some soup. She watches as I take a bowl from the cabinet, open a can of soup, pour it in the bowl and put it in this strange looking box on the counter. I push some buttons that make a beeping noise. It lights up, whirs, and spins the bowl. Then, just 2 minutes later I take a piping hot bowl of soup from the box and serve it to her. I can just imagine the look on her face. I mean, think about it! We saw something to this effect on “The Jetsons” cartoon, not in real life! I think she would be amazed, and possibly a bit frightened.
Now, lets look at the computer. At the time of her passing computers still took up entire rooms, and only at NASA and really big companies like Raytheon, where my grandfather worked. I walk over to this little, almost flat contraption on my dining room table, open the lid and show her the bright screen. I’m not even sure how I would begin to explain it’s complexities to her. I would probably show her how we can get the news or weather anytime we wish by typing in a few words. Maybe I would show her my Facebook page, and how it holds photos of her and Papa, and their old house, or how I can open a little window on it and chat with people halfway around the world!
While my stunned grandmother is being enchanted and amazed by this, she hears another noise. It is some kind of “music”. I walk over and pick up this tiny object, open it and say, “Hello”. She soon realizes I am having a conversation with someone. I turn to see her mouth agape at all I have shown her so far, and explain to her that I will be off the “phone” in a minute. A phone? That little thing? It has no cords, no wires.
After my phone conversation we move on. I take her in to see the television. I grab yet another small object from the side table, push a button, and this flat thing on my book-case turns on, showing a bright, colorful screen. She screams in delight as she realizes that this is a television! Her delight quickly turns to horror as a commercial for “feminine care” products comes on showing what appears to her to be half-dressed women, dancing around talking about tampons and modesty. The next commercial is loud and the “music” something she has never heard, and from the look on her face, would have gladly missed the opportunity. After several minutes of violence, nudity, and language that would only have appeared in her nightmares, she asks me to turn it off.
My poor grandmother. Yes, she would be amazed by most of our modern gadgets, and appreciate how they have made things “simpler”. I am grateful that she is not here to see what has become of our society though. What we consider “entertainment” would be beyond shocking to her, and I dread her seeing how most of these technological improvements have had a negative effect on so many lives. How they take up so much of our time, how our children would rather sit inside, playing with a little gadget than be outside playing in the fresh air, using their imaginations. I would hate for her to see how many marriages have been destroyed by pornography and gaming addictions, how we have become addicted to the screen.
As I sit here finishing this blog post, (what’s a blog post? Gramma would ask), I am grateful for our advances in technology. However, after taking Gramma on this grand tour I can’t help but long for the times that were truly simpler. I long for her to be in her old house, sitting at her kitchen table, sewing…Papa in his ham radio room, an amazing thing to me back then, listening to him chat with people across the world, as I sat and watched the black and white TV…the sound of clinking milk bottles coming from the porch. Crawling into my bed that night and almost swooning at the smell of sheets that had been dried on the clothesline, soaking up the sun.
Rest in peace Gramma Wood…I know you will. I will try to find some peace and quiet here as well. I might even venture outside to breathe in the fresh air. Love you.