How did that happen!?

Over the weekend, I had three interactions with 20-somethings that made me realize that, well, I’m not 20-something anymore. And honestly, it kind of freaks me out. It doesn’t feel like it’s been nearly 14 years since I was in my 20s. I remember sort of freaking out when I turned 30, and it seems like it was at most five years ago. Yeah, not so much.

On Friday, I helped a gal in my local RWA chapter and her boyfriend move a TV stand since I have a truck and they don’t. We talked about several things during the drive to and from our destination, things that included the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of all things. During the first animated series in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was in high school and college. Um, she was a toddler when it started. I’m also one of the charter members of my RWA chapter, and she was in elementary school!

Next up, a guy came over to buy some microphones from hubby. He was 22 and won Australia’s Got Talent when he was 16 or 17. Nice guy, very talented, but good grief, I could be his mom! Wah! Very much the same feeling I got when watching the Olympics.

Then yesterday I had lunch with my cousin’s daughter, who was in town for a nursing conference. Her mom and I are the same age. I may have rambled off something about not even having a thought about a cell phone when I was in college and remembering talking to friends from actual Clark Kent-esque phone booths. I don’t feel old, but there are moments when it’s abundantly clear how quickly things change and how people in their 20s are an entirely different generation than me. I want to yell, “Wait! Slow down the ride!”

Friend Jody Wallace got me this shirt commemorating my love for the old game, Oregon Trail.

Friend Jody Wallace got me this shirt commemorating my love for the old game, Oregon Trail.

I thought I’d list a few things my generation remembers that are definite things of the past now:

1. No Internet and having to go to the library to look up stuff in books and bound magazines after looking in the card catalog.

2. When long-distance was so expensive you rarely called anyone outside of town

3. New Wave (Duran Duran!) and then ’80s hair bands (Bon Jovi, Poison, Warrant, Def Leppard)

4. Copious amounts of AquaNet that no doubt is the cause of the hole in the ozone layer

5. Three TV channels and reruns in the summer. There wasn’t any such thing as some new show running in the summer.

6. Those three TV channels actually going off at night after the national anthem played, and then the text pattern and then “snow.”

7. When cartoons only ran on Saturday mornings

8. When computer games had text and very simple graphics. Hello, Oregon Trail!

9. Our “remember where you were” events were when the Challenger blew up, when Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video premiered on MTV, and when the Berlin Wall came down.

10. And speaking of MTV, we remember when they actually played, you know, music videos.

Have you had any of those “Oh, crap! I’m a different generation,” moments? If so, when did it hit you? What’s something you remember from your teen years that is long gone now?



  • Jane says:

    Hello Trish,
    I so remember when I used to get up early on Saturday to watch The Smurfs and The Snorks. Remember when MTV would have a world premiere of a music video and what a big deal that was. The only things on your list I didn’t live through was number 4-6.

  • Mozette says:

    I get the ‘I’m from a different generation’ thing all the time. It is very scary to know that I am distinctly from the X-Generation where I grew up around VCR’s, turntables, cassette tapes and Samboy’s Chips… and there was no mobile phones, no internet, no CCTV and the world was a much, much bigger place – and we listened to all our music on walkmans or on vinyls… very cool. πŸ˜€

    Not so in the eyes of the now generation where everything has to be here yesterday, the technology is tiny, slimlined and palm-sized… and thus so much easier to break, drop and more expensive to replace.

    I’ve had people in their 20’s and early 30’s roll their eyes at me when I’ve said hi to them as they looked me up and as though judging me on what I’m wearing … my Doc Martens, blue jeans and mermaid jacket with a sweet, boldly coloured shirt underneath…. and yet they’re dressed in next to nothing thinking they’ve got something to prove (and no, I never thought I had that much to prove as I dressed in what was comfortable when I was young).

    But I find that kids today can make us feel very uncomfortable by just glaring at us. So, what I do is stare back at them and make the ‘phew, do you stink?’ look, then take a few steps back and check that I didn’t step in something… when it’s evident I didn’t, I look back at them with the stinky look and glare at them. They feel like they’ve done something wrong now… heheheheee… yes, my work is done and I feel better than those younger whipper-snappers who haven’t been on my planet longer than me. πŸ˜›

  • Helen says:

    Oh Trish over the years I have had many of these lol lost count what with 6 grandkids and all the young people I work with including a couple of them that are actually taught at school by my daughter πŸ™‚
    I have learnt to smile about these things

    Have fun

    • Sometimes it is funny, but I still have this feeling that the last 15 years have sped by in the blink of an eye. I just hope the next 15 don’t do the same thing.

  • flchen1 says:

    Oh yes, Trish. Sigh. Card catalogs… old fashioned dial-up for e-mail… LOL! Corded phones–only one for the WHOLE HOUSE! Craziness!

  • Ki Pha says:

    Oh wow! For some reason I remember all of these things even if I’m in my 20s! I so remember no internet and going to the library for research. Ling distance call, yup. I I lived Saturday morning cartoons!!! The only time I actually wokeup on my own at 7 in the moring! Oh I I super lived those computer games! Hated the long loading wait but we’ll worth it. And Oregon Trail was one game I didn’t like. My people will always suffer! LOL And yes!! What ever happen to MTV and the music videos?! I so missed those.

    I’ve had those crap moments all the time when I talk to my siblings and cousins! And I’m in the same generation! Technology is the huge gap between us. But I really miss those candies. Those strange candies. Oh and the toy commercials! Whatever happened to those. You know the board games: Trouble maker, Clue, Connect four, Chutes and Ladder, Hungery Hungery Hippos!!! Cabbage Patch Kids, American Girl Dolls, Crying Baby dolls…. Wow how commercials changed! Now it’s all about reality tv.

    • I love board games and rarely get to play them. I think maybe you’ve hit on something, the increased speed with which things change, especially technology. I think with each passing year, those changes become faster and faster, and so it seems like the experiences even within the same generation are worlds apart.

  • Trish, isn’t it funny? I find I feel really old when kids start talking technology and things like videogames. I’m years behind with that stuff – I’d rather go and read a good book! Speaking of Thriller, I actually worked with someone who was in the Billy Jean clip (calling it a clip dates me too!). She was working as a lowly film assistant and they decided they wanted a pretty girl to walk off with him at the end so they picked Linda. You only see her from the back but once you know it’s her, she’s recognizable.

    • That’s really cool, and one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs. I can distinctly remember going to my best friend’s house to watch the world premiere of the Thriller video because she lived in town and had cable TV. No one out in the country had cable unless they spent a fortune on those huge satellite dishes that looked like they were trying to contact intelligent life in other galaxies.

  • allison says:

    Hit the nail on the head! Then again, we are the same age practically. You know exactly how old I am!! Ha Ha!! My scary moment actually happened when I was still in my 20s!! At my job at the time we went in to the middle school to talk to them about decision making, relationships, and things like that. My friend and I who led the class felt quite young at 28, and couldn’t figure out why all the kids still looked at us like we were ancient. We finally figured out if was because we were twice as old as them. We were 28 and the kids were 14. My husband has to gently remind me at times that something I’m talking about wasn’t recently, but 20 years ago LOL πŸ™‚

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    I am 60. I witnessed live the Beatles coming to America, the so called British invasion. Went to see them at the Indiana State Fair. I am also among those living who remembers where she was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Flintstones were on prime time Friday night’s. We had “party lines”. Every time you picked up the phone a neighbor was on it! And you actually had to dial the number. No push buttons or speed dial. The age that hit me the hardest was 55. Realized then how close I was to turning 60. You know what? Now that I’ve actually turned 60, I find I don’t mind it so much. It’s just a number, after all.

  • MicheleKS says:

    I hit the big 4-0 this year and I can relate to your list. One thing I’ve commented on is the computer systems I’ve worked on over the years at my job- we still have old DOS-based systems (green screens as we call them where you use Function keys instead of your mouse). Those things just refuse to die and the problem where I’m at is the younger kids don’t want them to go because they’re so afraid breaking the new system or something. Us oldsters were the ones who were supposed to be resistant to change yet we’re the ones who love the new systems despite their bugs and issues. But I like my age because I’m starting to worry less about a lot of things that don’t deserve my time and energy.

    • That’s so interesting about the preferences for the computer systems. There’s actually something similar with young adult fiction — readers of that tend to like actual, trade size or hardback books rather than electronic reading devices. It’s older people who love their Kindles, Nooks, etc., as a general rule. You’d think it’d be the opposite with as much as younger people are on their phones.

  • Debbie says:

    I remember all of those things. It hit me big time one day when I realized that microwaves became a huge thing and were so expensive when they first came out. VHS came and went, I remember MTV when it first came on the air. Music went from vinyl records, to 8 track tapes, to cassette, discs now ipods. I remember when color tv first came out…now I feel realllly old.

    • I still have some VHS tapes. I’m currently going through my house cleaning and culling, so that is going to be something that probably goes since I haven’t watched them in many years.

  • Hellion says:

    Your list is primarily my list. Except I lived in the middle of nowhere and on top of never calling people who were long distance, we also had a PARTY LINE. I know. I think we were one of the last people in the 80s to have a party line. I remember Dad being irked when they did away with the party line and he’d have to have his own line, et al. The cost! *LOL* Cabbage patch dolls–I so wanted one when I was a kid; and boomboxes. Mixed tapes. Waiting all day by the radio for your favorite song to come on so you could record it–and being PISSED if the DJ talked through any of it or cut it off early. I typed my senior paper on a typewriter–one that let you see part of what you’d written before committing to it. *LOL* Top of the line. I just started college and computers were everywhere and the internet was starting to be popular. I think I spent a semester in the computer lab playing on the internet. Yeesh.

    There are other things…but they’re mostly a reflection that my father is older and I was basically raised in a previous generation (the 50s/60s) rather than the 80s as far as he was concerned. *LOL* So I was even weird to my 80s friends.

    • Yes to the sitting by the radio to tape favorite songs and to being ticked if the DJ talked over it!

      My mamaw had a party line for a while. At least I think that’s what it was. You’d pick it up and hear other people talking.

      I so remember the craze one Christmas when the Cabbage Patch doll was the gift to get and there weren’t enough of them.

  • Kaelee says:

    I have lots of moments when I realize I’m from an older generation. I wasn’t quite a teen when Elvis Presley made his television debut but I remember my uncle’s reaction. It was the same one he had when the Beatles hit TV. It’s the same one I get when I hear of the antics of some of the young teenage stars now. I am slowly becoming my uncle. UGH!.

    I only had my hair teased once. I was a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding. We all had big puffy hair. It took me two days to get all the knots out. I think that was when I decided not to worry about up to date hair styles. I also remember tent dresses and miniskirts. Tent dress haven’t come back but miniskirts sure have.

  • It’s interesting, too, seeing these young writers starting out and realizing they have so many choices. We didn’t even know what e-publishing was when we started MCRW–and self-publishing was something that was not respected at all. Even as e-publishing began, most of us didn’t really think about it… Back then, trying to get published meant logging a lot of hours in line at the post office and knowing what a “Tyvek” envelope was because the contests you were entering required it. Oh, and International Reply Coupons because Harlequin was in Canada and you had to give them a way to send your partial back when they rejected it. Ahhh…good times!

    • Yes! Oh, the money I spent on postage trying to get published. And the awful feeling of seeing those fat Tyvek envelopes come back in the mail. You knew it was a rejection.

  • catslady says:

    roflmao – if you feel old being in your 30’s add another almost 30 to that . The only thing I have going for me is that my mother is almost 30 years older than me so I feel younger than someone. The big joke is when her mom and now my mom say “I have old children” lol. Technology is moving faster than ever!!!

    • Oh, I’m more than 30. I’ll be 44 next month. But it seems like I was turning 30 yesterday. Another “feeling old” thing is that I see my aunts and uncles looking like my grandparents. Oh, and a friend from high school was listening to some hard rock some from back then and her son said, “Turn off the old people music!” Sigh.

  • I won’t mention my exact age here, Trish, but if I call you a young whippersnapper, you’ll get the idea. πŸ™‚

    But I still feel your pain. I guess getting older and having to deal with the gentle mockery of the younger generation is one of life’s great equalizers. We all go through it and it really can be painful. Or humorous. With luck, we can laugh our way through it all.

    A few of my “remember where you were” moments: When I heard the Beatles on the radio for the first time; when President Kennedy was shot; when the Dodgers announced their move to LA; when we upgraded to Selectric typrewriters. LOL

    • LOL on the typewriters. When I was high school, we still had typing class on those horrible old manual ones with the keys that would stick. How I hated those.

  • I’m right there with Kate. You still are a whippersnapper to me, Trish πŸ™‚

    I will say that back in the day the innovations seemed to come slower. You had a chance to learn one technology before another came along. Now life has sped up and every day seems to have brought another new technology to learn.

    I can relate to Kate’s list of signature moments and add that I remember when the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianopolis, when color tv’s were introduced, and when everything was closed on Sunday. You had to plan around it.

  • LOL, I’m in the Kate and Donna generation.

    I’ll add on, I remember when they were building Disney World in Orlando.

    The Beatles were on The Ed Sullivan Show.

    Race riots on TV.

    Spending an entire summer watching The Watergate Hearings because it was hot outside and nothing else was on TV!

  • pjpuppymom says:

    I’m in the Kate/Donna/Suz generation too – probably older than all three of them. πŸ˜‰

    I remember exactly where I was when JFK was assassinated.

    I remember when they were building the Space Needle and the monorail in Seattle (for the 1962 World’s Fair). It was all very “space age” and had a Jetson’s feel. (for the young ones among us, The Jetson’s was a futuristic animated TV show in the 60’s)

    I remember stopping to listen to an unknown quartet with an adorable little boy singing in a gazebo at Disneyland one night. They would later become known to the world as The Osmond Brothers. And that sweet little boy? Donny Osmond.

    I remember mimeograph machines which is what we used to make copies before the invention of the Xerox copier.

    I also remember telephone party lines as well as a time when our phone number was an alpha-based exchange (mine was Ingersoll) followed by four numbers.

    I remember the invention of the Microwave and the VCR. Our first Microwave cost $1,000 (bought at a discount through a builder friend) and was so heavy it took two men to carry it.

  • Shannon says:

    This brought back lots of memories. The party line where our neighbor listened in on our calls and told my parents what we were up to. Dad would yell at us if a call went over five minutes, saying that three other families needed the phone.

    My dad was a land surveyor. He had a slide rule that did his logarithms. Something called a babbage machine came out; it was a mechanical computer that you entered numbers and rotated a wheel and the number came out. About a year later, HP came out with the first electronic calculator.

    I made money in college by typing key cards for bills as a temp. The do-not-fold-spindle cards.

    Before the internet, I worked at the government where we had an internal computer system called Wang. Yes, it had something like email.

    I was in Dubai on 9/11. There was a internet cafe where I could send emails even though the phone lines were jammed. I couldn’t get a call through for like three days, but I could email. My husband replied but I didn’t get anything from my mom or my MIL for several days. My husband had to explain to them that replies would really reach me in Dubai. For some reason they thought the internet only worked in the US. Later, they were stunned that I booked a hotel in London on the internet from Dubai.

    • I don’t think my parents every really grasped how the Internet or e-mail worked. My mom was amazed when she’d sit and watch me instant message with my sister in Washington.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Okay, I totally missed the party line since we lived in the Nashville city limits. It sounds like fun, though! πŸ™‚

    I so readily recall all the times I (or a friend) ran out of gas or had a flat tire or a car break down on the side of the road and having to calculate where the nearest phone might be. Then hoping we had a quarter to make a phone call! I actually remember when pay phones were a dime, but I was very young then. *sigh*

    I do recall having the first Atari game system (which had sucky controllers) and even one BEFORE that – the Magnvox Odyssey. We thought it was so cool! You’ll have to Google that one, kids. πŸ˜€

  • Laney4 says:

    Have you ever received the email cartoon where the blonde is going outside to her mailbox constantly because her computer says she has mail (but she can’t find any in the mailbox)? I had one of those moments today.

    I was discussing work on the phone. The company wanted me to type an interview that had been recorded on a digital recorder, but the wave file was too big to email me. The woman said she would look around her office to see if she had a USB drive and she could drop off the stick to my home office. Made sense to me. Then she asked if I had a dropbox. I said I have a mailbox beside my door. There was this pause and then she said she meant did I have “a cloud”. OMG. I had no idea that the cloud on IE 8 was also called a dropbox. Live and learn. (I’m still using the unsupported Windows XP Pro, which is dying little by little, but I can’t get a new computer until I finish my online income taxes, which take me 11.5 hours for my self-employed income, whereas each of my family members’ taxes take 10-15 minutes each, so I’ll be awhile yet….)