Yesterday I celebrated my grandparent’s 50th Anniversary with family and friends at a bowling themed party. The once roaring bowling alley in Northern New Jersey, stood half empty as we bowled the night away. It made me really think of the generational switch from bowling alleys and drive ins to Wii Bowling and Blue-ray discs. Strange enough, I wasn’t the only one thinking about it, as my grandparents and their friends were looking at old photos and recounting the days when things were just so different. I couldn’t even begin to jot down all the changes my grandparents have seen in their 50 years of marriage.

First of all, many of our grandparents were first generation Americans, whose parents came over from Europe in the early 1900s looking for a better life. The sacrifices our ancestors made (leaving their families, traveling far distances by boat almost a hundred years ago) may have paid off by 2008, as most have moved on to better jobs and moved in to bigger homes. Still, I can’t help but take notice of my grandmothers’ stories of being poor, hungry “depression kids” whose male friends and brothers later set our for war, while they were left working in factories makings shoes and bombs and waited weeks and months for hand written letters from loved ones abroad. This life is unfathomable by most American Millennials today who are constantly sending sound bites of information across thousands of miles and oceans to friends, acquaintances  and even strangers around the world. My generation has spent their childhoods on the internet, leisurely playing video games, splashing in pools on summer days, DVRing their favorites shows (so they can concentrate solely on Halo without missing any TV), and maybe getting a summer job like babysitting, lifeguarding, or working in a nearby ice-cream shop.

My grandparents’ marriage has seen the inventions of color TV, TVs without antennas, Satellite TV with 800 channels, HDTV; eight-tracks, cassette tapes, CDs, MP3s, walkmen, CD players, iPods; VHS, DVD, Blu-ray; central heat, central air; computers (My gma was a HUGE Mac buff from the get go), laptops, INTERNET; touch-dial phones, multiple lines, wireless phones, voice mail, call waiting, car phones, cell phones, iPhones, Blackberrys, Palms; Automatic cars, SUVs, GPS navigation systems, seatbelt requirements; computer games, Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, Gameboy, N64, XBox, Gamecube, etc;

They’ve seen historical and cultural events like the addition of Hawaii as the 50th state; a walk on the moon; Fidel Castro’s entire reign, Cuban Missel Crisis, Kennedy’s presidency, first ever televised Presidential debate (Kennedy & Nixon); Rise of communism; Elvis Pressley and Marilyn Monroe’s fame and death; The Beatles; hippies, disco; The Coldwar; Vietnam; AIDs; the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the USSR; Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, LA riots, equal rights; and obviously more current events like Swiss Air Flight 800 and September 11th.

In our world today, I couldn’t imagine living like my grandparents did for most of their marriage: without internet, cell phones, laptops, etc. But the more I think of it, the more I realize that truly we are all spoiled brats. Our grandparents actually had to read and research at the library for their knowledge. We can turn to Sparknotes to catch up on school reading; or Wikipedia for the answer to any and every question we may have. Our grandparents had to write letters or call land lines to contact someone. But we can e-mail, text, BBM, IM, and leave voice mails.

Obviously technology has advanced so quickly even in my 21 years, which I realized when I mentioned something that my 13 year old brother has never heard of, but I just can’t imagine all the changes we will see in the next 50 years. I mean official dictionaries have already added the word “Google!” and VH1 is already doing I Love the new Millennium! Yet, it’s mind boggling that despite all these technological advances, we’re no where near the projections made by Disney’s Carousel of Progress, which predicted still unthinkable standards of living for the year 2000.

And as my cousin asked, “Pop, you get a lot of hoes when you were my age? You know, you get mad bitches? PIMP!” I thought maybe not everything has changed for the better…

Reflect back on any major changes you’ve seen, old or new!



One Response to “1958-2008”

  1. Worked right out of the box. Hard to tell that it is refurbished. It came with 6 voices and had the option to download more. Keep in mind that the maps are not the most current – the cost to download the current maps was more than the cost for the unit – but the maps that came with it worked fine for us. We gave this to our daughter – who is now an expert at getting off the jamed highway and finding her way on the back roads. This unit allows you to change the information that is displayed, although we just picked one display type and that is what we use all the time. This unit has a battery, so you can use it out of the car, and it came with an AC adapter so you could charge it at home – I guess a hiker could use it. We bought it for the low price, and it seems to work great – we recommend this GPS.

%d bloggers like this: