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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Things I Remember

As we near the end of another year, I have been remembering past years and how much has changed in my lifetime. It has been said that in the past 70 years, technology has propelled mankind forward faster than the previous 5,000 years combined.

I remember having one telephone, which was mounted on the wall. We thought we had reached the bigtime when we got a long cord for it. The concept of taking a phone with you and talking in the car or elsewhere was the stuff of science fiction and comic strips.

I remember having one television set and how exciting it was to watch some shows in color. We got three channels and sometimes we had to adjust the rabbit ears to get them. We rushed home on Sunday evenings to catch The Wonderful World of Disney.

I remember writing my first full-length novel on a manual typewriter. I had to draw light lines an inch from the bottom so I knew when I was nearing the end of the page. A mistake often meant I had to retype that page. It was later rewritten and published as Exit 22.

All shopping was done locally. On very rare occasions I ordered by mail and it took 8 to 10 weeks to arrive if I was lucky.

I wore a watch that had to be wound every day. I asked other people what time they had to make sure mine was correct. The concept of wearing a wristwatch with a computer in it was something only Dick Tracy owned.

The first computer system I was trained to use required several hundred people to maintain. It took up an area the size of a football field. The delay others experienced in waiting for data was me running through the data center, locating the right tape and mounting it on the tape deck.

My first microcomputer was the Apple II. I could use one program at a time and I had to insert the program disk first, load it, and then insert a data disk. I thought I was high tech.

I remember prior to a long distance trip, I would send off for Mobil Oil’s trip package, which included step by step directions and a map. Giving voice commands to a car was something only the Jetsons did.

I remember watching the first men land on the moon. The idea of watching television broadcast live from the moon was so monumental that even the broadcaster had tears in his eyes.

I remember trusting Walter Cronkite. News was about what happened, not about what might happen. When he gave his opinion, it was called Commentary so viewers would understand the difference.

I remember having milk delivered to our back door several times a week. And I remember the milkman crying when my mother cancelled the delivery because she could buy it at the supermarket.

I remember my first record player. It was portable and I had to tape a penny to the arm so it wouldn’t skip and scratch the record.

I remember owning two pair of shoes. One was for play and the other for church and school. And I felt wealthy.

I remember our first artificial tree. It was white and was supposed to look like snow. Our tabletop artificial tree was made of silver aluminum.

What do you remember?

p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 20 books in several genres. Her first book was published in 1984 and she became a full-time writer in 2002. She has mentored authors for more than 15 years and is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation and the founder of the Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair. For more information, visit