Things my children will never experience


couple weeks ago in this column I mentioned that I used to put my 1972 Nova in neutral, shut the engine off and coast for two miles down a mountain when I spent the summer in Virginia. This was possible because the car didn’t have power steering or power brakes, a feat impossible to replicate with today’s modern cars.

This got me thinking about all the experiences my children have not, nor will ever encounter.

Three in the tree

Keeping with the car theme they will never have to put their car in gear with the shifter on the column, let alone a 3-speed manual transmission located on the steering wheel. In the ‘70s the newspaper had a van to deliver papers with that configuration, known as a “Three in the tree.”

I specifically remember driving that van on a hunting excursion one weekend north of Rosebud with the roads snow packed. On one particular hill it took me three attempts before I made it over the top.

Push button radio

Another thing they will never have to contend with is a push button AM radio in their car, or listening to static noise when using the dial to search for a station during a road trip.

Oil change

Next on the list is changing their own oil. This is something that they COULD do, but I doubt they will ever attempt. I resorted to this during my college years when money was scarce. On one occasion, finding myself without an oil filter wrench, I simply used a hammer and screwdriver. 

It was a bit messy but it got the job done. Laying under the car with a pan to catch the oil, I used the hammer to force the screwdriver through the filter. Then I could easily screw the filter off using the handle of the screwdriver.

Dinner bell

As a kid, my sister and I played outside a lot. After all there were only four channels on the TV and cell phones had not even been conceived of. So, when it was time for dinner mom would ring the dinner bell on our carport to call us home.


Let’s get this out in the open — I’m not a fast, or accurate typist. (Thank God for computers and spell check.) One of my worst experiences ever with the “office piano” was typing my resumé as a senior in college. During that decade there was such as thing as correction ribbon on typewriters, and even white out, but it didn’t look good on your resumé.

So your resumé had to be typed WITHOUT any mistakes. Let just say that I needed a good supply of paper and a lot of patience.

Waiting until after 11 p.m. to make a 

long distance phone call

In a simpler life when you could not text, tweet,  e-mail, facetime or Snapchat someone, the only way to communicate with your girlfriend who lived in Columbia when you were in Hannibal was by a thing called long distance. I know this may be hard for my children to understand but you were charged extra for this.

As if by magic the rates were lower after 11 p.m., so that’s when Connie and I would talk. The rates were also lower on Sunday’s but most weekends we were together.

Waiting to see your photographs

It’s hard to remember but there was a time when a photographer did not actually know if the photo he/she took would look good. A film roll consisted of either 24 or 36 pictures. Because of the expense, most people would take a months before their film was used up. It then had to be placed in a special envelope (for us in rural communities) filled out and mailed to a processor in the big city. Ten days later we received the photos in the mail.

Then we could relive those precious moments. If you wanted to share your photos you checked the box called doubles for just a little more.

More experiences lost to technology

Wind up alarm clocks

Rotary dials on TVs, sans remote control 

TV programs starting at 5 a.m.

Dial phones

Using a pay phone 

Drive-in movies

Going to a video store to rent a movie 

Rewinding a VHS tape

Using a folded up road map

Looking up information in an encyclopedia

Using a dictionary

Waiting for your favorite song on the radio so you could record it on a cassette tape

Prizes in your cereal box 

Shopping 8 to 5, Monday through Saturday 

Playing video games at the arcade in the mall

What else can you think of that our children will never have the joy of experiencing?

I wonder what else will be obsolete for the next generation.


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