Sometimes I Do Miss It

Our book club recently read Laura Moriarty’s book, “The Chaperone,” which follows the life of middle-aged Cora, a fictional character who accompanies the teenaged Louise Brooks (a real person who was a silent film star back in the 1920s) on a summer trip to New York City so Louise can try out for the Denishawn School of Dance.  I won’t bore you with the all the details, but it seemed to me that the theme of the book was Cora gradually learning to shed many of the prejudices, social restrictions and strict morals of the early 1900s to grow into an more open-minded and accepting person.  In other words, Cora begins to embrace many of the more modern attitudes we have today, which is of course, a good thing.

I would never want to go back to the days of racial segregation, when it was illegal to be anything other than heterosexual, before women had the right to vote, or when polio, tuberculosis, and a host of other diseases  were far too common.  I don’t miss cooking before the invention of the microwave oven, and as much as it annoys me, I can no longer imagine living without my cell phone.  But I have to admit that there are still a few aspects of “the good old days” that I actually do miss.

I miss the days when it was safe for children to roam the neighborhood, riding bikes and playing with friends, and when games were the products of their imaginations rather than structured leagues, organized and run by adults.   I miss the days when television sets had only a few channels, because then I wasn’t tempted to waste quite so much time watching it.  (Which is why no house of mine will ever boast a “home theater.”) I miss the days when people often sat on their front porches in the evening, chatting together and watching the world go by.

Ann and Ruth on bikes

While I certainly appreciate air conditioning, I also miss falling asleep at night while listening to the sounds of crickets and cicadas, and the sweet smell of the occasional cooling breeze that came in through our opened windows.   I miss the excitement of getting an actual letter from a far away friend or relative, and how eagerly I would open it, read the contents, and then carefully tuck it away for safekeeping.  I know emails are more convenient and much quicker, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I was actually excited to get one.

Of course I am aware that our world has changed for the better in many, many ways, and I appreciate that.  But as an introvert who has never quite mastered the art of multi-tasking, and as someone who really values having a bit of peace and quiet each day, I also believe that some of the changes I have lived through have made the world a bit faster-paced, a bit more intrusive, and a bit more impersonal than I would like it to be.  I don’t want to abandon the modern world, but I admit that there are times when I wish I could just take a break from it, at least for a little while.

33 thoughts on “Sometimes I Do Miss It

  1. How about going back to when people were nicer, less rude, were more respectful and polite? Or am I am I imagining that?? I feel the world on the whole a more aggressive and hurtful place and I, for one, have a hard time living comfortably within it….

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think we also have cell phones and the internet to blame for some of that behavior, unfortunately. It’s so much easier for someone to be rude (or worse) to someone else when they aren’t looking them in the eye, but typing it on a phone or on a computer. Not sure why or how they don’t get the words are still as hurtful. Nor why they don’t “get” when on social media everyone is seeing what they wrote. If you ask me, it’s greatly hurt communication as whole. Okay, off my soap box now. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I know what you mean Ann, life has become fast paced and there’s no going back. I think that’s why I enjoy camping so much as it gets us away from technology, back into nature and back to basics, where we can really appreciate what’s around us and the simple things in life. Yes, I totally agree with you Ann. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Coleman, I share the gist here. Change is always disorienting and distressing and when changed moved from discovery to big dollar generating commodification it all went sideways.. The automobile happens and then planned obsolescence kicks in and unless you can fix or repair there is no here to there unless you by a new.

    Now in the new personal communication and info age, the rapidity of change comes quicker, and obsolescence is contingent on processor and software updates that continue to work only on the developers desire to make it so. But mainly that’s a brief and my beef about consumer technology rent seeking.

    But with capitalist rent-seeking all manners coarsen. You really think the App developer plays by the old business notion, “The Customer is always right.” It more like the customer hasn’t a clue. So if you don’t have to play nice to get a dollar, why cultivate manners and a sense of fair play for free.

    But the good news is, I hear talk of returning, some what, to the days of free range child rearing, hand written correspondence, and bottom up push back against need it all consumerism.

    I’ve gone on to long again. You make me think.

    Regards,
    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Doug. Saying I made your think is the nicest compliment I can get. And I think you are right in that there is no real motivation for people to show good manners any more, although I am intrigued by the idea of “free range child raising!” Seriously, you have a way with words that is rather astounding!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoy some of the changes that have taken place, especially when it comes to technology. But for as much as we’ve gained there is so much we’ve lost. Like you, there are times we could return to some of the things I miss and wish our children and grandchildren could experience some of what we had in our lives back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me, too! I wish we could somehow combine the best of both worlds. The advantages of modern technology, but the patience and connection to the real world that seems to have been lost. Who knew that the next generation would not be able to relate to so much of what our lives were about? Thanks, George!

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  5. No, I don’t want to go back to the old days and ways but I do miss some of the simple things. I grew up in the country and miss leaving the windows open at night and looking out at the moonlight. But we can’t go back so we have to take the good with the bad today and find our own peace with our memories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that’s the conundrum: how to keep the good advances we have made, while still retaining the best of our past. Sadly, it doesn’t seem possible, which makes me a bit nostalgic. But I know if I had to make a choice between living in the past and living in the present, I would choose the present.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. WOW! You’ve nailed the things I miss about the old days (yes another “old fart” perspective…). I could write a post in the comment but I won’t because you already nailed the emotions I share with you. But yes, playing football in the street and dodging light posts and cars as the ball came your way, my mom “calling me in” because it was getting dark”, board games (marathon Monopoly games), AM Radio (KRFC and KYA out her in the NorthWest), and YES a letter in the mail from a friend or relative addressed to me. WOW – thank you for sparking these memories of a simpler time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so welcome! I admit to enjoying the advantages of technology, and how we are more accepting of different lifestyles now, but I still miss some of the many things we have given up. In my household, as long as we were home for dinner (5:30 sharp) we kids were pretty much free to live our own lives. And I think I benefited from that, a lot! Thanks for your kind comments….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post Ann and I totally agree.
    This might not come out the way I mean, but something I miss is NOT having instant access to information. I enjoyed the search if you wanted to know something (“Call up Mr Whoever. He know all about American History” or “I have some old newspaper clipping from that event that will tell us”). Now if you want to know something you just search the web and BAM! Instant info, no work or conversation involved. No brain power required. I don’t think it’s as much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you brought that up! In the interest of keeping the post short, I didn’t mention how I miss actually having to look up information, and even that was only after we spent a certain amount of time using our imaginations, wondering about possible answers. Now people just grab their phone, and ask “Siri” a question, and they have their answer. I can’t help but think it is going to make us rather intellectually lazy in the long run, and that can’t be a good thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My kids had video games, but they didn’t get a video game set until they were 10 and 12 or 11 and 13. I can’t remember. And while they did play on it, I still wouldn’t allow it all the time. I made them go out side and do things. They did play in the woods. Build “forts” in back yards. Etc. So, I think – hope – I kept things fairly balanced between the old and the new. Still not like when I was a kid, but hopefully close.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ann, you’ve really captured the good, the bad and the ugly of our changing world. You mentioned children not being able to roam and play freely today and that, for me, is the saddest part. When I was a kid we’d play outside until after dark. If I could hear my mom’s voice when she called me, all was good.

    Liked by 1 person

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