Sunday, following a dinner at church, one of my grandsons went over to the rotary dial phone that's in the church basement. Picking up the receiver, he asked, "How do you work this phone?"
His question took me by surprise and for a moment, I couldn't quite believe he didn't know how to use the phone. Then I realized that he'd never seen anyone use such a phone. For him, picking up a phone to make a call you simply push buttons. And that you even have a phone you can carry in your pocket or purse.
That led me to thinking about other changes that have taken place over the years.
Now to change a channel on your television, you push a button. In days past you had to get up from your chair, walk over to the television and turn a dial. And there were only a few channels – not 200.
When I first started driving, I had to know how to shift from low to second to high gear. Not so now. Now vehicles have automatic transmissions.
Then there's cell phone. A cell phone has quickly developed into a miniature computer. You can take pictures with cell phones, make motel, train and plane reservations, browse the Internet, play games -- the list goes on.
What still amazes me is how you can connect a machine to a phone line and transmit documents to companies or medical facilities and so on.
One of the things that seems to be slowly disappearing is writing a note or letter to another person. So much of the correspondence anymore is done by computer. And you can even pay your bills simply by using the computer. No need now to sit at a desk and write out checks, place them in an envelope, add a stamp, and drop it into the mailbox.
It's the same with purchasing items. Many things people buy now they do so by using their computer -- whether it's the computer that is on their desk or their cell phone.
When was the last time you went to a travel agency to purchase train or plane or bus tickets? All that can now be done through your own computer. You can make motel or hotel reservations, even dinner reservations, and rent a car without leaving your house or picking up your phone.
Time was you took pictures with cameras that used film, then had the film developed. Now there are cameras that use a tiny card, and once you've taken your pictures, you insert the card into your computer and print out only the pictures you want. Once you have the pictures in your computer you can share them with family and friends in the blink of an eye.
No waiting now for days to learn of damage from huge storms, or earthquakes, or anything that affects the entire world. It's reported on television as it all takes place.
Whenever I think of the changes in our lives and world, I remember a woman telling me about when she had her first ice cream cone. She said she asked for a spoon, ate the ice cream, and then returned the cone, thinking it was a new type of dish.
Admittedly, many of the changes I've seen have made life a little easier. There are also times the changes have caused and still do cause frustration. But sometimes I wonder if perhaps our lives weren't better without quite so many changes. No, you can't go back in time except through your memories, but many people feel that when life was a little slower it was better.
I also wonder what life will be like for our children and grandchildren another 30, 40 or 50 years down the road. Will they, too, talk about how they think life was a little better before all the changes they've witnessed took place?