A young woman recently reminded her friends on social media that years ago here in San Antonio, Texas we used to call Frost Bank to get the time and temperature. That before this information was at our fingertips 24/7 on our cell phones.
It was probably one of the first times I remember my mom letting me use the house phone to make a call. You remember what a house phone is don’t you? It was that rectangular thing in the kitchen mounted on the wall. It had buttons with numbers and a long stretchy, curly cord so that you could sit on the floor in the hallway for privacy.
210-226-3232 Frost Bank Time set us all straight on the clock and weather. This was vital to keeping synchronized time on our wind up watches and preventing hair frizzies when we got caught in the rain without an umbrella. And it was just plain fun.
The thing is, until my friend mentioned this bit of nostalgia, I had forgotten.
It’s true, the world must move forward. Things change. What’s old is new. Some things must go by the wayside with time, but I am the girl who prefers books to electronic readers. Analog to digital. Trains to planes. Theatres to Netflix. Wrapping paper to gift bags. Trails to treadmills. I want a gift at Christmas, not a gift card. I am elated to get a handwritten letter in the mail. I think every kid should learn cursive writing if only to sign his name. And everybody should bake at leas
t one cake in their lifetime that is not from a mix. How many of you has sifted flour?
There are few things more reassuring than a lovingly and meticulously assembled scrapbook or a memory laden stack of black and white family photos. It beats the heck out of 4,000 pictures on your phone or in a cloud somewhere that you will never see again.
Web searches have made us lazy. Auto correct has created a generation of bad spellers. We have smart phones, smart TVs, smart ovens and even smart dryers. We don’t need to pay attention because we can rewind or start over. If we are bored, we fast forward. We don’t have to get up, we have remotes. All physical activity can be tracked, analyzed and recorded by a magical band on our wrist.
I am, however, thankful for my car’s global positioning system. Folded road maps are just plain evil. Calculators are good. Printers and copy machines are good. Does anyone remember carbon paper and mimeograph ink? Debit cards reign supreme over checks. Direct deposit is a lifesaver.
The most popular stocking stuffers last Christmas were those pricey but intricately drawn adult coloring books. Families all over America actually sat down across from one another, at a table, with a box of crayons and talked while they colored and sipped on hot chocolate. I have just discovered that there is an IPad version of these coloring books.
Why? Seriously, why?
I guess my point is that time marches on, change is constant and in most cases, that is a good thing. The cautionary tale, however, is to not forget what was. There may still be some worth in it if only to make you smile.
I smiled today when I remembered the automated voice at the end of the phone of my childhood telling me it was 12:47 p.m. and that it would be a sunny and warm 87 degrees all afternoon.