The Old Days

Now that I am firmly into my 30’s, my stories of The Old Days When I Was a Kid have become morbidly facinating to my children. I love the looks of shock and wonder as they try to imagine how much life has changed over the last 20-30 years.

  • “When I was young, we didn’t have microwaves. My dad drank coffee constantly and we had to pour it into a saucepan and heat it on the stove every time he wanted a refill. Leftovers had to be eaten cold or heated in the oven. And there was no such thing as microwave popcorn.”
  • “There were no DVD players or even VCRs (remember those?) when I was a kid. You could only watch was being played by the TV companies, and you couldn’t pause the show or rewind it if you missed something. And if you wanted to see a certain movie, you had to hurry and go to the theatre while the movie was new.” (This one is really bizarre to them, because our TV has always been used for videos.)
  • “There were no remotes; if you wanted to hear better, somebody had to walk over to the TV and turn it up. Every time.”
  • “When I was a kid,” I tell them, “Hardly anybody knew about homeschooling. For 5 years, I had to go to government schools. Every morning, through rain, snow or ice (mostly rain, because I lived in Portland, Oregon), I had to leave the house and walk 7 blocks to school. I had to stay all day, then walk home again when it was almost dinner time.”

This is where one of the girls breaks in with a question: “Mom, did they have cars when you were a little girl?” My reply varies slightly, depending on whether the questioner is over the age of 8.

  • “Hey! Of course, you little smart aleck!” If the questioner was under 8 I might say, “Yes, honey. You’re thinking of Laura Ingall’s childhood…”)
  • “But there were no carseats for babies or toddlers when I was a kid. They just rode on big people’s laps, or crawled around on the seat.”
  • “Regular people didn’t have computers when I was a kid. Only big businesses and really, really rich people – and their computers were more like our calculators. They made science fiction movies about big fancy computers that still couldn’t do what our computers do now.”
  • “And phones always had cords. Not only did you have to keep the phone in your house, you had to stay right by the phone base when you talked! Can you imagine?”

Ahhh, the old days. We’ve come a long ways. Sometimes it’s fun to feel old. 🙂


  1. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    I’m only 32 and we had both a microwave and a computer growing up. (My dad used his “notebook” Kaypro for his work, then got us a TRS-80 so my mom could keep her teacher records on it. Originally, it used cassette tapes for data. But we quickly got a disk drive (the floppy kind)

    I was 12 or 13 when I got a used Commodore 64 for my birthday. I was SO happy to have my own computer, I spent all of my money for several years on software for that thing!)

    I remember my dad buying my mom a microwave — but it was when I was pretty young. Now that I am older I realize a LOT of it was probably because we lived in Houston and using the microwave meant not heating up the house!

  2. Too funny! I remember doing the same thing to my parents. “Mom, can I look at the ‘old-fashioned’ books?” (My parent’s college yearbooks, which incidentally, were only a few years before I was born! LOL)

  3. Michelle Billingsley says:

    I am only to be 31 this year but I too hear these things from my kids. I remember when my parents finally got a cassette player/radio for the car instead of an 8 track. My parents had an old reel to reel for playing music that I thought was sooo ancient. We also had the pong game. An Atari was what I always wanted. My boys don’t understand why I like Pac-mam, Frogger and the like. They thing that those games are so boring. There is nothing fun about eatting dots and avoiding ghost. My mother still has a black and white tv and they ask me “what happened to Meme’s tv it’s broken theres no color” and why are there tv shows in black in white? We too had a microvwave (only 2). My parents had one stolen when I was in the 4th grade and they bought one to replace it. I guarentee it cost way more than $100, which is how much my hubby bought ours for almost 12 years ago. She still has that microwave and it has always been big but I didn’t realize how big until she moved into an apartment and the microwave takes up the entire side of the counter next to the sink. I love all the toys that are coming back, Strawberry Shortcake, care bears, Cabbage Patch Kids (always wanted never had). Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  4. Oh my gosh…we had pong too!! My parents still have it set up in the basement in case anyone wants to play. And my parents still have their first microwave, and they still have a beta vcr,lol. Though they don’t use the vcr..we updated them to dvd’s for Christmas one year. And the microwave still works just fine..amazes me since I have been thru a few of them.

    Ahhh..Baby Alive..I had one of those and oh how I loved her.

    And let’s not forget Shaun Cassidy ::swoon::..rofl.

  5. Ah, the joys of memory lane. Since I am comfortably in my 30’s, I’m getting the same comments as well.
    Does anyone remember the Beta machines, before VHS? That’s what we had! Also, the microwaves were the size of Mac Trucks. How about Rub-A-Dub Dolly and Baby Alive? Life was much simpler then, huh?

    p.s. my favorite was Space Invaders!

  6. norwester says:

    I’m cracking up. Isn’t that all the truth. Remember Pong where you just had the two lines on either side of the screen and you hit that ‘ball’ back and forth? an afternoon of ecxitement, indeed.

  7. Just wanted to add, that awhile back I was in a thrift shop and found an original atari system complete with 25 games..I bought the system, dh and I hooked it up and were absolutely loving it…our children however thought the graphics were lame and couldn’t understand why dh and I were shrieking while playing pac-man,lol. Ohhh how I love that atari!

  8. LOL…I think I was 16 when my parents finally got a microwave and a VCR! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. 🙂

  9. My husband and I laugh that we made it through high school AND college without the internet or cell phones. DARK AGES!

  10. Mrs. Happy Housewife says:

    I knew I was getting old when my daughter remarked upon my large CDs (ya’ll know what I mean). Sad. I remember having to sit next to the TV and change the channels for the family.

  11. Boule' Boule' says:

    My nephew (14) is into nostalgia. He asked Grandpa for a record player. He got one and some albums. On Christmas day he fiddled in his room for hours before finally coming out and asked my hubby if he could show him how to operate it.

    Boy am I old!

  12. I love these stories! Their world is a totally different place than the world I grew up in!

    Kim, my email address is [email protected]. Email me your address and I will get your prize in the mail. Congrats and thanks for continuing to visit me occasionally!

  13. a suburban housewife says:

    Don’t know if my comment posted…

    We were in Goodwill once and my oldest son (10)found a stack of albums and shouted, “DAD!! You have got to see these huge CDs!”

    ‘Nuff said.

  14. Hilarious…my kids love those AMAZING stories, too!

  15. When I was a teenager, we were one of the first houses to get a VCR. And it had a remote. On a CORD.


  16. My sister has a great story of her kids asking her what a record player was for.

  17. Ahhh too funny Kim! lol

    My children sound alot like yours!

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