I’m Glad I’m Old Enough To Remember…

It’s that time of year, where the annual Beloit College Mindset List is released.  I originally became interested in the Mindset List because, working at a post-secondary institution, it is useful for me to try and understand the new students who arrive every year.  Now, it has become so much more — it has become my own road map through life, highlighting for me how things my generation once considered amazing have already become obsolete.

To mark the twenty years since I first stepped onto campus, I decided to compile my own personal list — a list of things I can say I am happy I am old enough that I can say I have experienced.  Maybe the new generation needs an insight into the mind of us old buggers?

  1. I can remember having to get up to turn the dial on the televsion because we didn’t have a remote control.
  2. Not every television in our house was colour.  Actually, I can remember when we only had one TV in the house.
  3. I can remember the day we had cable TV installed and we didn’t need to have the antenna on the roof or, GASP, rabbit ears!
  4. I’m glad I had to experience the agony of knowing if you wanted to phone a girl it meant you were going to have to ask her parents if she was available to talk.
  5. I’m also glad I got to experience the relief that came when she answered the phone herself!
  6. I can remember being happy our phone had a cord long enough that I could take the handset into the closet to have my conversation in “private”.
  7. I am pleased to say I am a member of a generation that knew the absolute joy of riding in the open bed of a pickup truck.
  8. I actually used to know how to find a library book using a card catalogue.
  9. The first thing my parents did after buying a car was stuff the seatbelts under the seat so they wouldn’t be in the way.
  10. I can remember my dad taking the foil from inside a package of cigarettes, wrapping it around a blown fuse in the car.
  11. I can remember my mother shoving a piece of cardboard underneath the eight track so it wouldn’t drag as the belt wore out.
  12. Does anyone else remember having to figure out which side a video store was Beta and which was VHS when renting a movie?
  13. My generation could tell what someone ordered at McDonald’s by the color of the Styrofoam container his burger came in.
  14. Remember when you had to figure out how many times to let a phone ring before you decided no one was home and hung up?
  15. I remember going to the bank to cash a paycheque and deciding how much cash you were going to need to get you through to the next pay day.
  16. When I was a student we thought we were advanced because we could use a phone system to drop a class or change our schedule.
  17. Yes, I actually had to balance a penny on the stylus of a record player to keep the needle from skipping.
  18. Our parents would let us run free outside without supervision as long as we agreed to come home when the streetlights came on.
  19. I can remember when hearing you had a computer in your house meant you must be “really rich”.
  20. Yes, even for my generation, getting a physical letter from a friend was a special occasion.

Please feel free to add your own points.  Let’s all revel in our middle-aged-ness.


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