2010-03-04 / News

That was then, this is now

My Turn
By Sunny Hocutt

In the 1960s, when we spent summers in the Green Lane house, we had a party line with an operator who would actually speak to us when we picked up the phone.

Being new to Jamestown, I could ask: “Do you know the name of an electrician?”

She replied, “Ted Kaiser.”

That was it – done!

Now, if I want to ask even one question, it often takes 20 minutes, sometimes more, with “Press 1, 2, 3 and 4, and have your account number, your name, address, social security number, mother’s maiden name, etc.”

To say I’m often frustrated is an understatement.

I remember a simpler time, like the man who, on the fourth of July, would push his grinder up and down each street and sharpen knives and scissors for five cents each. There was also penny candy at Pinto’s store. At the corner where East Ferry Deli is now, there used to be Hunt’s drug store, and Mary Evans’ dry goods store was to its left. I often walked there to examine the merchandise. When I asked Mary at McQuade’s if she knew about Mary Evans, she said, “No. That was before my time.”

But Peter, who was in the parking lot, said to his sister, Deborah, “I remember Mary Evans.”

Times certainly do change.

We always had a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table and anyone – kids, friends, family – would sit and work on a portion, then move on to do something else. It was always a challenge to see who could fill in the spaces and finish the puzzle.

My guess is that kids don’t do puzzles much now. Since we always ate meals in the huge kitchen, the dining room table was perfect for games, puzzles and writing. During the evenings, we could watch TV when we wanted – Jack Benny, Ed Sullivan, and Burns and Allen were there to entertain us.

That was then.

Now, the Internet has taken over. Yes, I like being able to e-mail friends and family. I like having a cell phone. But who needs all the other Internet offerings?

I admit I’m technology impaired. I asked people to tell me what they knew about blackberries when I noticed news articles about them a while back.

My husband, Lee, said, “I used to pick bushels of them when I was a kid.” Two tennis friends, Rita and Barbara, said, “I love blackberry pie or jam.” My grandson, Justin, explained it to me. I recently read that President Obama always has one with him.

There are lots of technological terms that are a mystery to me. Here are a few, along with my own definitions:

Web: A spider makes webs.

Blog: Something you spit out (you don’t want to swallow it).

Facebook: A book with a face on its cover.

Buzz: The sound a bee makes.

Google: A baby googles.

Smart phone: A phone that went to college.

Mouse: A small rodent found throughout the world.

Texting: Something about writing. Why would anyone write while driving?

Bing: Bing Crosby?

Twitter: Birds twitter. They also tweet

You get my drift. One senior I know said that the only thing he knows how to do is turn a computer on and off. Another said, “My wife has a computer, and I have no interest in it.”

I recently saw an Associated Press article in the newspaper. The headline said, “Google alters Buzz social hub following privacy complaints.”

Will somebody please translate that for me?

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