Thursday, March 15, 2012

The 1940's and Losing My Cool Factor

There comes a point  in middle-age when you suddenly realize that you have lost "it".  Very gradually, while you weren't looking, popular culture moved on without you.  Suddenly there are musicians you know nothing about, movies you have never seen and buzz words that you don't get.  You are no longer cool.  Okay, okay...I was never cool....geeky bookworm that I was (and still am!).  But you get the idea.

But that's not the worst part.  It occurred to me recently that I now have more in common with my parent's generation than with my children's.  When did that happen?  Think about it.  If you picture my parent's childhoods in the 1930's and 40's, substitute a family television set for the radio, throw in a better economy and air conditioning and have MY childhood in the 1960's.  Both generations played outside and read books for entertainment.  Telephones were attached to houses, not people. They had actual busy signals.  We had a milkman. Term papers were written on a typewriter.  We wrote letters because long distance calls were expensive.  Our cameras used film and flash bulbs. Granted there was that whole walking-on-the-moon thing in 1969 but basically our daily lives weren't that much different.

Contrast that with the world of my children.  I don't think any of them have ever written a personal letter.  Certainly not to me. Why would they when they have email?  They never hear a busy signal or fight with their sisters to use the phone.  Milk comes from the store not the front porch.  They have remotes. There is not only a television in the house but probably one in their bedroom.  Usually next to their computer.
Anyway, you get my point.
So I'm thinking, as I'm looking forward to the release of the 1940 census in 18 days, that the lives of the people that I will be indexing in that census were not so much different than mine.  Technology marches ever on. It just marches much faster now!

P.S.  If you haven't signed up to volunteer to help index the 1940 census, click on over.  They have some simulated pages to practice with.  There are even some nifty videos to help you get started:

Disclosure: As part of ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for Amazon gift card.


  1. Oh so true for me too!!! Great 'Era' goodness, now that I look back the 40's weren't that different from the 60's, but from the 40's til now...WOW...what a difference. Enjoyed your post. Well done and best of luck.

    I hope you'll have time to stop by CollectInTexas Gal and read my on Transportation and the other on the 1947 Mobile Phone....Sue

  2. Thanks Sue! Heading over there now......

  3. What a great comparison. My parents grew up in the 40's and I was born in 1960. It was a simpler time.

  4. Nancy, I love how you described your realization that life moves on--suddenly! And that sense of disconnect from popular culture...when did that happen? I wonder that, too, at times.

    In some ways, Nancy, I can relate to what you are saying...but in other ways, I think I relate more to the next generation. Perhaps it is because my family was always on the leading edge of technology adaptation...I dunno. Perhaps it was because, well, when the milk was no longer delivered to our front porch, we just up and got it from the store.

    On the other hand, I absolutely LOVE that I can do so many things via internet on something as small as my iPad. Genealogy has come such a long way from those dusty archives I scrambled around in during the 1970s, delighting myself with the stuff I'd find in musty newspapers or microfilms--or not. Come to think of it, there was a lot of "or not" in those days.

    Perhaps it's because we are still growing, along with our kids, and as long as we can keep up, we become part of the newer decades. My parents? They are frozen in time, now long gone, now only preserved in my memories and on static documents like the 1940 census. They don't change with the time because they can't, anymore.

    It will be fascinating to see what treasures we all uncover in the 1940 census, once it is up and indexed. But for me, it will be a vastly different world than the one I'm in now.

    And that's even considering that, like you, I'm one of those geeky bookworm types. :)

  5. Thanks Jacqi, us bookworm/geeks have to stick together! And I'm with you on researching via internet. Much more fun than microfilm.


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