Saturday, November 04, 2006

If You Are 90 Or So...

My favorite incident is the head of the Patent Office resigning in, I think, the late 1890's. He felt that everything which could be invented had been and there was little reason to stick around.

My favorite quote is: "These are modern times! This is 1912!"

We usually think we live in fast-changing times, but most of what we have was invented quite some time back; there haven't been many new things recently. Yet, if you are 90 or so years old, you've lived through, and adapted to, an awful lot of changes.

Cars, rare then, became common; the same with airplanes. Many roads were just one or two lanes and quite a few of those were not paved; who realized the Interstate road system was not that far away? Small, sleepy towns grew into large towns or cities; crossroads became prime business locations. Radio was yet to be invented; at its peak, television came along and its three or four channels became sixty to seventy cable channels. Big adding machines changed to small hand-held calculators. Computers became common even among the elderly; instead of writing occasional letters, e-mail or the faster Instant Messenger were common.

Possibly the time period from 1910 to 2000 might be the greatest adaptation era we have ever known. Those who experienced it may have grown as the times changed, or they may have felt overwhelmed and gradually fell into themselves. Or, we may be in the midst of another adaptation, perhaps not of things, and the next generation will marvel at how well we did.

3 Comments:

Anonymous mad drummer said...

Nana & Pop-Pop lived well into their 90's: from horse and buggies thru big-fin Cadillacs, from stereoscopes thru watching the moon landing in color on the TV, from covered up women to "dancers" on TV, from working as a breaker-boy (Molly Maguires and all) to owning a grocery store and being on the bank's board of directors. They missed the computer revolution. I miss them.

November 04, 2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

I was going to do a story entitled something like, ''Ah the Dirt Roads, When Life was Good'' I've got the essence but have not got it put together in my mind. Dirt roads are so special to me since the mid-1940's where I discovered where they led to in a small town in southern Vermont. There was Lighthouse Road of my youth, which we kids always called ''The Bumpy Road''.

Amidst the ingredients of the daily rat race, I believe that dirt roads should be canonized and sanctified as they are our link to times when our grandparents trod them and time did not matter.

November 05, 2006 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Mad drummer said...

Great idea amongst good company...This is Brooks & Dunn's take on it:

I was raised off of Route Three,
Out where the blacktop ends.
We'd walk to Church on Sunday mornings,
Race barefoot back to Johnson's fence.
That's where I first saw Mary,
On that roadside pickin' blackberries.
That summer I turned a corner in my soul,
Down that red dirt road.

It's where I drank my first beer.
It's where I found Jesus.
Where I wrecked my first car:
I tore it all to pieces.
I learned the path to Heaven,
Is full of sinners an' believers.
Learned that happiness on earth,
Ain't just for high achievers.
I've learned; I come to know,
There's life at both ends,
Of that red dirt road.

Her Daddy didn't like me much,
In my shackled up GTO.
Oh, I'd sneak out in the middle of the night,
Throw rocks at her bedroom window.
We'd turn out the headlights,
Drive by the moonlight.
Talk about what the future might hold,
Down that red dirt road.

It's where I drank my first beer.
It's where I found Jesus.
Where I wrecked my first car:
I tore it all to pieces.
I learned the path to Heaven,
Is full of sinners an' believers.
Learned that happiness on earth,
Ain't just for high achievers.
I've learned; I come to know,
There's life at both ends,
Of that red dirt road.

I went out into the world,
An' I came back in.
I lost Mary:
Oh, I got her back again.
An' drivin' home tonight,
Feels like I've found a long-lost friend.

It's where I drank my first beer.
It's where I found Jesus.
Where I wrecked my first car:
I tore it all to pieces.
I learned the path to Heaven,
Is full of sinners an' believers.
Learned that happiness on earth,
Ain't just for high achievers.
I've learned; I come to know,
There's life at both ends,
Of that red dirt road.

November 05, 2006 9:05 PM  

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