A few weeks ago my son sought me out brimming with mirth. He had just seen something while watching an 'old' movie on TV that he thought was wonderfully funny, He could not wait to describe the object of his amusement - it was as if he had just discovered some ancient and marvellous artefact brought up from the ocean floor and wanted to share this fascinating find with me.
What was it that he found so incredibly humorous? .... a Walkman!
'You put those old fashioned cassette tapes into it!' he chortled, both amazed and impressed by the ingenuity of a primitive age.
Every generation likes to think it is at the forefront of technological sophistication. I loved being a part of the 60's (after all it was the decade that put man on the moon.) We believed we were very modern. One of the most popular features in children's books were pages like the ones below that compared the contemporary world with the quaint old-fashioned curiosities of a bygone age.
(Both sets of illustrations are from the Playhour Annual of 1968.)
Fast forward to the 1980's - hard to believe I was already an adult when homes looked like this! Who remembers Space Invaders?! - I used to play it for hours on a Spectrum Sinclair - the first home 'computer' I owned.
I love the detail in this living room. Look at the TV, the big bulky video machine and of course the stereo with a record player on top.
Something my son did react to with great reverence was the discovery of my LP record collection. We have not owned a record player since before he was born, but my records are all packed away very carefully in a crate. My son came across them when we were unpacking after our recent move. He thought they were fascinating - he exclaimed over their size and the covers, especially those that opened up or had a booklet with the words to the songs inside. My whole life up to my 30's in music is documented there - from the records I had as a child to my first tweeny LP (the soundtrack to the film 'Melody' by the Bee Gees) and the first 'adult' record I bought (the Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter Live Concert). He was amazed at some of the albums I owned - 'I never knew you liked that!!' Suddenly he realised Mom was young once!
(These illustrations were taken from a book called 'My House' published by 'My First Library' in 1984.)
Children's publications also liked to look back at the past and how life has changed. I've always enjoyed the next illustration that charts the lifestyle of boys and girls across the ages:
A collection of toys from long ago:
Contrasted with toys from the years of my childhood. So familiar to us at the time, now they belong to a distant past. (Illustrations taken from Once Upon a Time Magazine)
Before we know it the next generation will react to the iPad in the same way my son responded to the Walkman.
It will happen sooner than you think!
When I listed My Favourite Things last week I was going to include flowers as well but decided I had to call a halt somewhere.
Whenever I see them for sale I always buy Proteas. They are South Africa's national flower so it is my little bit of nostalgia. They come in different forms - when I'm feeling particularly extravagant I splash out on the big King Proteas, otherwise like this time I settle for the smaller ones. A bunch of Cape flora will keep for ages. When I buy something like this I know I have an arrangement that will last for at least a month! (Apologies that the photos are not all that great or in focus!)