As I approach yet another birthday, I remember when I was back in college and I called my grandmother on her birthday just to wish her a happy birthday. Now grandma was pretty quick-witted and always could fit in a one-liner. She told me that when she was a kid she only had birthdays every 4 or 5 years but that now she was having two or three a year. I laughed and still do when I think of her saying that. HOWEVER now I chuckle simply because I know exactly what she meant! Last month I had my 50th birthday and the month before that was my 45th!
I have always enjoyed reading history and learning what it was like "way back then". I thought it was so cool when we got cable and I had a history channel to watch. But now when I watch the history channel, it's more like a stroll down memory lane .... I have experienced a lot of it!
A couple years ago, I was substitute teaching a history class made up of seniors. I don't remember exactly what point I was trying to make, but I was trying to tie the point with a US conflict. Knowing they wouldn't remember the Viet-Nam war I used the statement "you remember how it was during the Gulf War, Desert Storm" and finished making my point. One young man in the back of the room raised his hand and said, "sir, our Dad's fought in the Gulf War. We were only 3 or 4 years old." Goodness! All of a sudden a rush came over me of just how OLD I was getting!
My paternal grand-dad died at the age of 94. He had been born before the 20th century even started. I marvel at the changes he seen. He started with horses and yet see automobile travel became common place. He could remember Oklahoma becoming a state. Can you for a minute imagine that? From his farm to Oklahoma would take 20 to 30 minutes today, yet as a teenager it would have been a "days ride" for my grand-dad to get there.
Think about it. Airplanes before there were "airports". Telephones with cranks and you needed a lot of money just to call someone in the next state. Radio and TV becoming common. He worried about his kids and polio. What did he think when he seen an X-ray for the first time. Electricity and "indoor plumbing". Men on the moon. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the atom bomb. The list goes on and on.
I do wonder (assuming I make it till I am 94) what my descendants will marvel most at about my historical existence. Heart or liver transplants? Cell phones? Internal combustion engine? Cancer treatments? The internet? Satellite communications? Space travel?
The ONE thing I do worry about in this changing world is the family unit. Will that be remembered 40 years from now?
Well, there is one thing great about growing older........it beats the alternative!