Your parents said, “We think you are ready for big boy underwear instead of diapers.” Now you pay attention to Depend ads on TV and hear your doctor ask the question “Any trouble with urine drips?”
You remember when all cars were American made, had a foot-feed, three pedals on the floor, fender skirts, running boards, and a crank and chains in the trunk. Turning signals were an arm out the window.
Today, new cars have speed controls, turning lights, cameras forward and aft, GPS and surround speakers, tire pressure monitors, seat warmers, and you wonder if you will live long enough to ride in a self-driving car.
You have albums of small black-and-white photographs taken on a box camera and developed by a drug store. Now pictures are instantly on a view screen, downloaded to friends around the world and stored in a “cloud”.
You watch the Oscars on a large, flat-surface, colored TV screen with your offspring, and you are the only one in the room who remembers stars from your youth who are being memorialized on the show.
You listen to today’s workers describe their jobs and can’t figure out in what industry they work and what they really do. In our day, mom was usually at home and dad’s work was close by and included no airplane travel.
You attended a neighborhood church and knew in which pew every family sat. Now, there are mega churches; police personnel direct traffic flow; hymns are shown on a screen; and you can be absent without being missed.
Shopping by parents was done once a week; lists were imperatives, and “green stamps” yielded rewards. Meat storage was in an ice box or “town locker”. Fruit was only a summer’s delight, unless preserved by home canning.
National press conferences were official news sources carried solemnly on radio and three primary TV networks. Today, presidential tweets come daily without pause, caution, or certainty what is truth, fake, spin or suspect.
As a boy, my radio was tuned to the Minneapolis Lakers, when George Mikan led the team to five national titles. Last March, my TV set carried six local, college and professional games for men and women, simultaneously.
For much of life we try to stay ahead of change. In older ages, we work hard to keep up. We are tempted to look back and wish for what was rather than adjust our attitude to the present, which is our only real control.
On balance, by honest comparison, would we really want our grandparent’s world rather than our own?
My grandfather died young from heart disease. Last year, a pacemaker was installed in my left shoulder which eliminates a left ventricle block and helps to keep my blood pressure in the normal range. Most of our age-mates enjoy good-quality living from joint replacements, surgical advancements and new medications.
My wife and I wear finely ground glasses, wear tiny hearing aids within our ears, and have a large TV screen with voice activation of stations, captions, off and on, plus control in our hand while sitting on the couch.
We can mail-order pills and products and eat well-balanced meals (foods from around the world) which can be delivered to our door. Our city operates a swimming pool, fitness center and tennis courts where pickleball can be played, where residents of all ages can socialize, exercise and encourage our health maintenance.
We worship in a church of our choice, say hello to long-time friends, enjoy meeting newcomers, and are delighted by little children in young families. We can stay in touch with world-wide friends on the internet.
Our grandchildren are being well educated. We drive – or are driven — to their many activities, cheer them or clap (as we watch the action), and always hear these words of endearment at the end: Thanks for coming!
We live in America, which plays a leadership role in the world, still uses a governance system of balances of power, is blessed with overall prosperity despite ups and downs, and still believes, “We hold these truths”.
May we all on July 4th sing “God Bless America” with grateful hearts for blessings yet in hand and enjoin future generations to not forget that “In God we trust” is stamped on every minted coin, all paper currency, and that “under God” remains in our pledge to the flag. Let us all give thanks, accordingly.