Friday, May 9, 2014

We Live In The Future

When I was very young  the girls were allowed to wear jeans to school. There were a lot of students who lived on farms and rode their horses to school. Dresses are not ideal for riding a horse.

Then came capri pants. They were considered too tight too be decent. In order to stop the older girls from wearing the capris they made a rule disallowing all pants for girls. If they wanted to wear them beneath a skirt and change before school began they could do that.

I also remember a few changes at the beginning of school. We used to say prayers before school. I am not saying that it was a good or a bad thing. I am simply saying that we did.

I remember that when we pledged allegiance to the flag (which most schools no longer do) we said "one nation under God". Actually I remember when the "under God" part was added. It was so hard to include it at first because we were used to saying the original way. Then in later years they took it out and it was hard not to say it because we were used to it.

I did not live in the times when "showing a limb" was indecent but I certainly remember some things that were once considered indecent. Only "bad girls" wore two-piece bathing suits. Only women wore earrings and those were clip-ons. Pierced ears were reserved for the non-pure.

Too-short skirts, too-tight clothing, and showing of any cleavage was just wrong. Even sack dresses were wrong because they left too much to the imagination. What is a girl to do?

When I was in high school I had a dress that I wore often because it was comfortable. It was made of cotton with a bandanna print and it had a straight skirt. One afternoon one of the seams gave way from overuse and split part of the way up my leg. I borrowed some safety pins to hold it together but there were not enough to close it all the way past my knee. I was called to the dean's office and told that I could not wear indecent clothing to school any more. I was to wait in the dean's office until the school bus came at the end of the day. Hussy! That was me.

There have been a lot of fads that have come and gone. Tie-dyed anything but particularly Tshirts.
Mood rings. Mood lipstick. Paisley prints (which I like, by the way). Long straight hair. Short elfin hair. Unisex hair cuts. "Natural" hair-dos. Big hair. Hip-hugger jeans. Love-ins. Sit-ins. Drive-in movies. Whatever happened to them?

The slop, the frug, the dirty dog, the Watusi, the jerk, the swim, the hitch-hiker, the hustle, the stroll, the pony, the twist, the fly, the Batman, the jitterbug, the electric slide, walking the dog, the mashed potato both with and without gravy, and the clam are just a few of the dances that were fads.

Probably the biggest change in my life is the computer. I remember demonstrations of UniVac on television. The control board of UniVac was as big as a 52 inch TV screen. It did computations of numbers mostly. It was even used to correctly predict the outcome of the 1952 presidential race.

UniVac was going to be a useful tool for the military but no one thought it was good for much else. As a matter of fact at one time someone said that there were two of the machines operating in the world and that was all that would ever be needed.

Somewhere down the line someone designed video games. The first ones were like the ones you still find in gaming facilities and bars. They were large and you would pay to play them like you played pinball machines.

Companies began to built machines to hook up to your television so you could play video games at home. They were made so that all you would have to do is buy the games you liked and insert one into the machine. There have been so many incarnations of these systems. And hundreds of games have been made.

Someone realized that computers could be valuable to big businesses. With a large mainframe computer that linked to desktop extensions a lot of information could be acurately recorded and stored in a fraction of the time it took to do it by hand.

Soon they began to think that home computers could be the next money maker. In order to make their use attractive they would need a way to connect to other computers. The internet was born. Anyone with a computer could hook up the to internet by subscribing to a program that connected using the telephone.

It took a few years to catch on. In the beginning there really was not much to see on the internet. But as time passed the internet matured.

Soon there were websites to visit. Information was now at one's fingertips. Virtual tours through many of the world's museums and historical sites were available for free. You could even do a pub crawl from the convenience of your living room.

Email makes it easy to stay in touch with people. A quick bit of typing and your message can be sent instantly to someone else. You can even send the same message to many people all at the same time.

Weblogs or blogs are easy to establish. You can use it to inform, entertain, or simply to record your day.

The amount of information available is endless. All you have to do is type in what information you need and the computer looks it up and presents it to you.

Now you can watch movies and videos whenever you wish. Music is just waiting for you to request it. And Skype allows you to see a person as you speak directly to them.

Computers bring to life so many of the science fiction imaginings of my youth. Wow!

I know there are a lot of things I have left out. There is so much to remember but I tried to show how things have advanced over the last 60 or so years.

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