I Was Alexa, Too

Honeysuckle leaves in the rain.

About four years ago, I wrote a post called “I Was the Remote” about how I and every kid my age changed the TV channels, bought snacks and ran errands for our parents. This was back before the streets became so dangerous that the thought of a child riding his bike to the corner convenience store is unfathomable and the act, if attempted, can land a parent in court. In that previous post, I mentioned how I wasn’t just the remote, I was an intelligent remote. I knew what channel the ball game was on. I could even intelligently switch between the baseball game and a golf match, at each commercial, and I could factor the relative importance of each event into my decision to switch back or linger a bit while Arnold Palmer chipped out of the sand trap.

When I hear people talk about how cool it is to ask Alexa to check the weather, play a song, tell them the score or order them five pounds of dog food, I shake my head. I could do all of that, and more, outfitted with nothing more than the senses God gave me and my bike. I responded to my name and a host of other names. I was trusted with money and, as far as I know, my security was never breached.

Go get me a pack of cigarettes and some Pepsi. My wallet’s on the dresser.”

We need a quart of milk, honey. My purse is on the chair in the dining room.”

Sometimes, I was given a piece of the action:

Get yourself some candy, if you want.”

That meant ten cents worth of candy.

I was capable of conducting research and making judgments, something Greta (my GPS), Alexa and Siri are still struggling with, if the comedic results being shared on Facebook are true. While my errands were normally focused on one or two items, if there was a cake in the oven or if my mother was otherwise occupied, I could be given a small grocery order:

Go to B&I (brothers, Bernie and Izzy) ask Bernie if he has nice pork chops. If he does, get four. If not, get a pound of ground meat. Get a pound of chipped ham, a little over is OK, and get a jar of the pickles your father likes. If they have the Rice-a-Roni we like, get that. If not, get a bag of noodles. Get two cans of corn and a loaf of bread.”

By the way, those would be Pennsylvania Dutch brand noodles, Green Giant corn (not Del Monte) and that wasn’t going to be Wonder Bread. Benvenuti’s or Celone’s – fresh-baked in town. Yes, I remembered my parent’s preferences. No need to fill out, or periodically update a profile. When my father was diagnosed with Diabetes, he switched from Pepsi to Tab – no need to tell me twice.

I was also tasked with trips to the garden, but I wasn’t quite as reliable, I had a tendency to confuse parsley with carrots. Still, let’s see Amazon’s drone swoop down and pull a yellow onion out of the ground, rinse it off and bring it to my grandmother’s kitchen. And, once again, my judgment was relied upon.

Go pick two tomatoes. If the ground is dry by the new plants, give them some water.”

I could handle that.

Once I started driving, things became more interesting.

“I need you to take my car to Bobby’s for an oil change tomorrow.”

“Go get a dozen ears of corn.”

“I have to work Friday night, so you need to take Gram shopping.”

I knew where Bobby’s Esso station was. I knew what farm stand to get that corn from and I could pick 12 good ears out of the pile. I knew that my mother’s mother shopped at A&P and she liked to leave at 6:00 pm.

What do today’s kids do? What do they know?

Maybe that’s not a fair question. Today’s kids know how to interact with the world they have been born into. They are preparing or being prepared for their future. Their present doesn’t include a corner market or parents who have cash in their wallets. Alexa and Google know more about their parents than the guy at the 7-11, and that guy can’t sell cigarettes to a nine-year-old anyway. They know how to entertain themselves, albeit that probably involves more technology and less dirt than it did in the 50s and 60s.

My service as the voice-activated personal assistant for my parents, prepared me for living on my own. I guess that’s still true today, but I wonder. I wonder if anything can prepare children for the future, given how fast things are changing. I also wonder if some of the skills I learned wouldn’t still be useful to have.

98 thoughts on “I Was Alexa, Too

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  1. As Roland of Gilead (Stephen King’s Dark Tower hero) was fond of saying, “The world has moved on.” Intry not to let it get to me, to enjoy a few of the ‘perks’; but mostly I feel it is fast becoming a technoligical ‘eat or be eaten’ atmosphere. I guess I will become extinct with the other permian creatures. 😕
    Maddie always adds beauty to any photo. Chippy is adorable, as always. I so love dogwood season! Nature’s dressing up for Spring! Watch that squirrel. He’d be happy to go i side and get his own peanuts, I’m sure. Yesterday we watched a standoff between Zippy and a huge squirrel. It was so comical. A contest to see who was the better statue. 😂Have a great week, Dan, with or without the help of AI.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cheryl. Chippy is hanging with the squirrels and the birds. He’s a little faster than the squirrels, and he’ll run in and grab a peanut that was tossed for them. He’s like the class clown.

      I’m pretty sure my early training has prepared me for life without Alexa, at least for a while. I don’t think we’ll ever be extinct.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This was a really cool post. I often share my childhood stories with Sarah and I tell her how I was the go-to person for my mother. Sharukh, go get this, get that. Back then, I was the youngest in my family and in my locality. I had no idea what a baby looks like in reality. We had these movies where the camera focuses on baby steps and after a few steps the baby would grow up and I would wonder WTF. Okay, back to the topic. However, I was very good at other things. I knew what stores to go to for what. I knew the roads, the alleys because if a guest turns up, I need to get a bottle of chilled Coke before it warms up. Basically, I was 24-Hour The Flash Cum Fedex.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha Ha Ha. Yeah, thanks to my mom. She turned me into this freaking navigator, or should I say Alley-gator (nice spin of words here).

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  3. There are perfect Monday morning posts to start the week off with a good cup of coffee, and this is one of them. Thank you for the smile I enjoyed from the beginning to end. :-) In discussing the era of this post, there is also another aspect. No one had to get in a car and drive to a gym for which they pay a monthly fee in order get get exercise. Here’s the next question – could my grandkids’ generation get along for 24 hours without remotes of any kind without thinking the work had come to an end? No, I don’t think so. Love this post, and thanks for the smiles and the memories. Happy Monday, Dan. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this, Judy. You make a good point about the gym membership. I wasn’t sitting around watching a robot cut the grass, I was behind that mower doing the pushing.

      I’ve heard people say how their young child is well-behaved in an adult setting, as long as he/she has their device. We were well-behaved in those settings because not behaving well was not an option.

      Children born within the last five years will probably not even remember a time without “smart” devices being readily accessible. I’m not sure what that does to expectations.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Esso gas station…that’s a name I’ve not heard of in a very long time. Kids cannot even begin to imagine how we did it when we were younger. I find that they don’t ask how we did it or why, they just shrug and go back to their phones. And that is so annoying. Your close up shots look great, Dan. I love the raindrops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lois. I remember some changes being accepted faster by kids than their parents when we were growing up, but nothing close to the scale we see today. Things have changed so much, so fast that it’s hard to keep up. I remember Sunday rides in the country as being an exciting way to spend part of the day. I can’t imagine most kids today enjoying that.

      Thanks for the comments on the close-ups. I finally broke down and “studied” the manual. I had read it before, but apparently I made some assumptions. I’m looking forward to the next rainy day :)

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  5. Nice images, Dan. Keep practicing with the close-ups, you’ll figure it out eventually.
    Your mention of the A&P brought a little smile as my dad was the manager of one while I was growing up.
    The content of your post reminds me of a quick visit yesterday to a local Arby’s. I’m always shocked when the register goes down and the employee can’t count change. The young man who waited on me had a working register that told him what the change should be and he still had a difficult time pulling the correct coinage out of the drawer. Maybe he has a greater aversion to mathing than I???
    I remember many of the name brands I grew up with – Velveeta cheese, Heinz ketchup, OM bologna, etc. They bring back fond memories and the realization that I ate some really unhealthy food back then.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Mary. At least I didn’t detail that 10 cents worth of candy and rattle off healthy snacks like Pixi-Stix! I have a draft post somewhere about the day last year that most Starbucks closed because the corporate computer crashed. It was amazing that they couldn’t make and sell coffee or pastries that were going to go bad overnight – great fallback plan, close the doors and go home.

      Stores like A&P were much more essential to people in the 50s and 60s – if you didn’t buy it when they were open, you weren’t going to have it.

      There’s no evidence in this post, but I think I finally figured out what I have been doing wrong with my camera on close-ups. Maybe next week, I’ll have some pictures that resemble what I was trying to get.

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  6. For those of us of a ‘certain’ age, this is like reading This Is Your Life!! Great post.. Instant memories. I knew our local A&P inside out. Also the butcher shop, the two ‘corner stores’ (not called ‘convenience’ stores then) , the shoemaker, and the smelly farm where we got our milk. Except for the A&P, I walked or rode my bike everywhere.

    We have many more conveniences today, but we’ve given up a simpler way of life. I think we overpaid for today’s technology. However, I believe the skills we learned all those years ago will keep us true and steady.

    Interesting photo gallery today. How cute and clever is Chippy finding refuge under the drainpipe. And beautiful Maddie, especially under the sand cherry bush! Good luck with the honeysuckle!!

    But that building. That’s a new definition of ‘renovation’!! Lol.

    Hope today is the start of a great week.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. Not only have we paid a lot (in many ways) for the technology, we literally pay a lot for technology. Between the Internet and our cell phones, I don’t want to think about the monthly cost.

      Those two corner stores could easily cover a meal, from start to finish, and the meat was generally better than the supermarket variety. I had a basket on my bike, and I could fetch and deliver the goods!

      Maddie doesn’t always like it when I stop for pictures. I remind her that “we’re out here for a reason and you don’t seem to be interested…” I know you guys like the ones where she photobombs me, so I just include them now.

      Chippy seems to live under the porch, or at least has an access hole under there. That’s his place. He can dive to safety pretty quick,or snag a peanut off the porch – he’s fast!

      I agree that the skills we learned still help us today. This week looks like it’s going to be beautiful – I wish it had started on Saturday, but I’ll take it today (even though I’m at work).

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  7. Those Beauty of Moscow lilacs are gorgeous!

    I enjoyed your post today, Dan, but must confess that it stirred up all sorts of negative emotions. It bothers me how the world is today, and it bothers me even more that I can see how much farther it’s going to go in this direction. I think today’s children have been done a great disservice, and for the first time in my life, I’m starting to sympathize with the people who say, “Why would I ever bring a child into this miserable world?”

    There was still a lot of what you described here when I was growing up, though admittedly, it had already started to change. Times do change, but I’ll be honest, I don’t always agree with the sentiment that we have to change with them.

    I refuse to bank online, and I don’t own a debit card. I carry cash and I pay cash. I continue to reject direct deposit in favour of paper cheques that I can see, and will never sign up for pre-authorized payments. I invest my money, and I shop smart.

    I allow myself to enjoy the technology that I have, but not to the point that I’m dependent on it. I can change the oil in the car myself, and I can sharpen a chainsaw chain before I go out and cut down a tree.

    All of the things you mentioned doing in this post, Dan — it wasn’t just about WHAT you were doing. It was why you were doing it. A lot of people today, especially the younger generation, are being molded to only do things when they can get something back in return. “If it’s not a benefit to you, why should you do it?” Your doing those things for your parents also helped to build and shape your character, and I think that’s what we’re going to see lacking in the years to come: People with good character.

    I appreciate all the conveniences we have today, but damn, it wish that people weren’t so quick to REPLACE the old with something new. Why can’t we take the best of the old and the best of the new, and then have the best of everything?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry if I touched a nerve, Wendy. I agree with a lot of what you say, and I do think we learned to be better, more involved people. We didn’t just do these things for our parents. My mom and dad would send us to the store for my grandmother, my aunt, the neighbor. We still had a lot of people who only had one car, so going to the store during the day meant walking. If I could take my bike, I could help the lady next door, and we were told not to take money, although most people gave us some small amount.

      The big thing, and I’m glad we still let our daughter experience this, is that we truly knew how to entertain ourselves. We didn’t have to be entertained every waking hour. “Go outside and play” meant: go outside and use your imagination, explore nature, experience the world around you. It wasn’t always pretty, sometimes, it ended with us needing a bath or a bandage, but we survived, and I think we are better off as a result.

      I have no option to refuse direct deposit, it’s the only way I can be paid. I resist any automatic payments. My wife (who will love reading this comment) still pays bills with checks that she mails via the Post Office. I can fix things around the house, and that ultimately saves us money. People often say “but you missed out on doing something fun” and I counter with “I like doing things with my hands” and I get blank stares – this change started a long time ago. Our daughter still likes to do for herself, the things she can do and she still likes to learn how to do new things.

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m sure my wife totally enjoyed reading this.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We’re likely the last truly multi-functional generation. The one before us struggles with technology, and the ones following us have ‘specialized’ 😏 I am saying this tongue-in-cheek, but when my thoughts start drifting in this direction, it makes me feel very old!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get the old feeling too, Joanne, but I’m glad I had the experiences I had and I’m glad I learned the things I learned. I don’t know what will be required going forward, maybe I’m not prepared, but I think I can handle it.

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      1. I agree, Dan. I appreciate the childhood I had. We had freedoms, and life experiences that kids SHOULD have.
        I don’t know what the future will bring, but if nothing else, we’ve learned resilience and adaptability. I think we’ll be ok 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, were were loaned out and expected to help others in the neighborhood. May father did that too. I remember going with him as he went to help people make repairs that they couldn’t afford or that he could easily do. I helped him, and I learned how to do what he was doing. I’m thankful for those lessons.

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  9. Your photos are AMAZING! If they were any better, I don’t know if I could look at them without my heart exploding. Blammo! And this line: “the voice-activated personal assistant” is a hoot. Yes, I was that for my Mom as long as she could speak. And even after that, I did pretty well on pre-programming. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marian! The photos aren’t what I was hoping for. Afterwards, I studied the manual (again) and I think I figured out what I was doing wrong. I hope to have some better close-up photos to share soon (although the rain is gone and I love water drops).

      I think the fact that we learned these skills and we were taught to help others was a good thing for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Good points well made, we live in the countryside and the nearest shop is 2 1/2 miles away, I’d let my kids cycle there but there seems to be more cars on the road driving faster and throwing rubbish out of the windows. We still try to give the kids errands to do, in the supermarkets I ask my youngest to find certain stuff, it’s more of a game for him.
    The one upside is if I need my laptop fixing or any IT issues crop up, they could probably help me out!

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    1. Thanks! I have actually almost stopped riding my bike on the road, for the reasons you mention. These days, I’m much more likely to cart the bike to a trail. I work in the technology field, but I still sometimes ask our daughter for help. That’s OK, I’m still teaching her woodworking, so it evens out.

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  11. I was right there with ya…I think sometimes Alexa is a little bit foolish. “Alexa, turn off the living room light.” Get off your dead a$$ and turn it off yourself – seriously, it will take four steps and the flick of a wrist. I was with you until……Del Monte! My dad retired from Del Monte after 38 years. I’m a Del Monte girl, born and bread. Heavy sigh….~ Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry about the Del Monte reference. You never know who your going to insult with a brand preference. No offense intended, Lynn.

      Yes, if I was the one programming Alexa, I think there would be more “Feedback” in the routine. Seriously, I worry about turning into the blob-people on the ship in Wall-E.

      I worry that my GPS is going to start saying “I thought I told you to turn left at the traffic light.” My current model gives me a little alert sound when the traffic ahead of me is moving. My dad would have said “are you waiting for an invitation?”

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  12. I remember the post about you being the remote and changing channels. You just mentioned it and I remembered, and I wondered if it really was 4 years ago. Time flies.
    Anyway, you are very wise to observe that the present children know how to interact with the world they have been born into. Where I live almost all of them demand video games and smart phones. No skipping ropes, no hopscotch, no swings, no slings, no homemade toys, no bikes, no books, no drawing/sketching . . . hell, no reading, either. They are kids you can’t even send to the shop!! One day we were in church and the children’s teacher was telling them a story about Jesus crucifixion. He had a 6-inch nail with him and he asked the kids if they knew what it was. One of them, a boy, raised his hand and said it was a spear! I laughed but later on I realized how sad it was. The kids in that church go to very expensive schools.
    There seems to be no correlation between what’s taught on school and what’s outside. The practical aspects, I mean. Nobody to ape, mimick, emulate. People who work with their hands to create things are considered lowly. So some skills are disappearing. Like how long ago you could make your own sling, or chair, or even a mockery of a chair, sew your own shirt, etc. I used to make a broom for sweeping the compound, make a swing for my sister, teach her how to draw a hopscotch and jump it, play cat’s cradle, etc.
    Those skills were important. For communal interactions, instilling a sense of responsibility, feeling awesome among your peers (ha, ha!), pleasing your folk ( it is awesomeand totally head-swelling to be thanked by your parent for something you made by your own hands), etc.Technology changes all the time. I have observed that it can create a load of disposable skills. I passed a kid in the supermarket once. He was alone and shooting people in a game, shrieking violently every time he got one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I checked, Peter – September 2014 – time does fly. I didn’t think it was that long ago either. Also, I didn’t imagine we’d get to this point with technology this fast when I wrote that post.

      I still do a lot of the work/repairs around the house, but that’s a dying skill set. We can’t even get enough kids interested in the trades as a career choice to supply the industry with skilled labor. As it stands, Alexa can’t change a faucet or build a house.

      You may have given me a thought for a Father’s Day post – the times my dad was proud of me, and how good that felt.

      I guess there is little need to send kids to the shop, when they will likely be able to have everything delivered to their door (or directly to their kitchen if they give the digital key to Amazon). However, you’re going to get the tomato at the top of the pile, not the best on in the pile.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Found you through Almost Iowa. I’m with you on the merits of kids being the ‘Alexa’ for the home but that would freak out parents today. I saw where Utah enacted a ‘free-range parenting law’ so parents wouldn’t be reported to the state if their kids walked to/from the park without supervision. I would have been placed in foster care if I relived my childhood today! -Molly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping over, Molly. I read Greg’s post a few minutes ago and it was hilarious (and kinda true). I would be in foster care, and I would probably be on a wide variety of drugs to stop me from daydreaming. I like the idea of a ‘free-range parenting law’ – I think parents should be allowed to decide what is safe and how far they trust their kids.

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  14. Very true, Dan. It’s a different world now in many respects. Your post reminds me of being asked to walk or bike to the store with a list and money — an experience few kids have today. I’m sure there are kids that still do this, but primarily in small towns, I’m betting, and you know the number is dwindling. And that’s a shame. You don’t need to be a sci-fi aficionado to be wary of an over-reliance on tech, but I guess we just have to figure out a way to live with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul – yeah, “go online and order some chips” just doesn’t seem to offer the life lessons that were grew up with. I don’t have a crystal ball, maybe today’s kids are learning what they will need to know, but I think we learned some broader lessons that are being overlooked today.

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  15. Fabulous post. Dan. I too have all those memories. For some reason, I always felt good about running to the store. Maybe because I felt useful or accomplished I’m not sure. The get yourself something was always music to the ears.

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    1. Thanks John – that bonus permission to buy candy was always the best. I remember feeling more like an adult when asked to run those errands – it was fun, and I did feel useful. Contributing to the household mission was an important thing.

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  16. Before I get sidetracked about technology, I want to say that I love your photos today.

    We’re getting deluged with rain, so after running my errands, I’m using a mix of technology and human-ology to get on with my day. For instance, I went to the library, where I reserve zillions of books from the comfort of my home, but where I also walk in to get them (after driving there in my van) and then read them in book form at home, not online (although I have done so on trips.) Laundry gets done in the washing machine (basic one, as we’re in rental, but no beating on the rocks and drying on bushes), but I take most of the items out after a short whirl in the dryer and hang them on drying racks in the dining room.

    I use online banking all the time to pay bills, but never automatic payments. Since we now have a Discover Bank account, saving for our next house, I’ve discovered the ease of mobile deposit, but still like to go into the bank to keep human contacts alive and also employed. However, ATM’s are a special blessing for moms with kids or if the weather is terrible.

    We have a remote control for the TV and my husband’s PlayStation and I’m not sure you can even change channels any other way these days. But I’m not interested in Alexa or any such critter and really don’t use Siri much except to say, “Call —.”

    I have a gym membership and use it, but I also walk in the park whenever possible, work outside, and walk to nearby places such as the post office. I use a laptop, iPad, and iPhone, but still really like to writing with a nice pen and notebook. I also don’t spend the entire day on my phone and never will.

    I do get concerned about the lack of activity by people, not just young people, that technology fosters and then encourages. I’d never give a small child a phone to play with, the way I too often see. Limit their technology use, give them toys such as Duplos, puzzles, etc. One thing that is encouraging to me is that so many things in life are cyclical and hopefully that will happen with technology, too. It’s going to be a constant struggle to balance technology and the other aspects of our life, that’s for sure.

    janet

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    1. Thanks Janet. I’m glad you liked the pictures today. I struggled with they way I thought my camera is designed to work. Then I studied the manual again and noticed one key element I didn’t appreciate. I hope to have some better (i.e. closer to what I envisioned) in the near future. I did read the manual, too. I didn’t watch a million videos although sometimes, YouTube is quite helpful. I think a mix of modern and old-school is healthy. I think it keeps us involved in life, and I think that’s a good thing.

      I hope you’re right about the cycles. I do see some people who control how much access to technology their kids have, and I think that’s a good approach. Kids need to play and use their imaginations – not simply be entertained.

      At least Maddie is keeping me active on weekends. I see the ads for Apps where you order up a dog-walker to come and take your dog, and I wonder what the point is. Just what I need for my self-esteem is to have my dog happier to see a stranger than me :-(

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      1. When I was a personal trainer, several of my female clients had someone come clean their house, do yard work, etc. Then they paid me to work them out to get in better shape. I always found that ironic. I did all those things myself although I still worked out. The more automated life becomes, the more trainers and the like will be needed, I think, as well as, on the other side of the health spectrum, workers in the health care industries.

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        1. One of the “21 Jobs of the Future” is ” fitness commitment counselors” another is “AI-Assisted Healthcare Technician” – I think you’re on the right track with your view of the future, Janet.

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  17. Hi Dan – yes you describe life back then well … and today – people are amazed when I turn up without having used sat nav … and I can read a map – another virtue from long ago … and appreciate the earth, and get up and help in the house and garden … Probably today Maddie has the life!! Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hilary. My GPS has been a life-saver for me and those who ride with me. My wife is Mrs. Map, but I always struggled just a bit.

      I can help around the house and garden, so I think she’ll keep me.

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  18. Dan, definitely can relate being a kid back in the 40 & 50s. My young adult grandgirls laugh at my weird, three-room schoolhouse, and 5 cent weekly allowance kid hood stories. My great grand babies think I live in a FaceTime iPhone. Alexa lives in my son’s homes. They talk to robot voices, and text me with a smiley face, Good Morning, Mom. One son says we’ll be future texting in all emojis. I keep up the best I can. (shaking head) Mattie & Chippy pics make me smile. Those spring has sprung shots so beautiful. Your post gave me a chuckle & memories! Thanks! 📚 Christine

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    1. Thanks Christine. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I’m sure most of this would sound weird to people under a certain age. I’m sure it sounds like fiction to anyone under 20. I might be able to handle an all emoji world. Kinda like the new cave drawings 😏

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  19. Like you I was the TV remote control [and garage door opener– and automatic dishwasher] as a child. So it’s probably no surprise that as an adult we don’t have Alexa here. I’m still able to find information on my own, and can even solve problems without the assurances of a disembodied voice that knows all. Imagine!

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    1. Thanks Audrey. I think you’re doing the right thing. We made sure Faith had chances to learn useful skills. Now, she’s trying to learn even more. Playing vs. being entertained is also important (in my opinion). Your kids likely have a creative gene kicking around 😏

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  20. Oh gosh, I remember Rice-a-Roni! It’s probably got some proper Italian name now. Great collection of photos, Dan. Particularly loved that flowering dogwood. Spectacular!

    Thank you for those last couple of paragraphs. I get a bit annoyed at the “kids these days don’t….”, “in our day…” type comments. It’s not our day, it’s theirs and it’s a vastly different one. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be growing up in this era – it looks mighty hard. As you said, it’s changing so rapidly, even if kids try and study something cutting edge, by the time they get into the workforce it may not even exist anymore. I think young people today are the most resilient, adaptive and flexible generation we’ve had yet and we’re going to need them to solve problems we haven’t even thought of yet.

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    1. Thanks Heather. I agree, I wouldn’t want to be growing up now. I spent most of my career working in a field that didn’t exist when I was in college. But, it took 10 years to evolve. These days, those changes are occurring in s matter of months. To their advantage, they are used to a rapid pace of change – one that would drive us crazy.

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  21. I worked with the engineers who developed both image character and voice recognition software and they are all living in the mountains of New Mexico with limited access to the internet. Scary stuff, not well regulated.

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  22. It’s really quite amazing what a human kid could do ! I was sometimes sent for a carton of Marlboro cigarettes . No problem . They’s sell it to a kid and it only cost a few bucks .

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  23. Your skills would most *definitely* still be valuable for kids today. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if all power sources crashed for a month. Talk about survival skills!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I agree, the world has changed a lot, and is continuing to do so at an alarming rate! I can only hope that our kids are prepared for the future, but I can’t help but think that by the time they are middle-aged and above, they might be just as lost as we are. Who knows? Personally, I’m not a fan of our increasing dependence on technology. Knowing how to do things for ourselves is still important to me. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I think our kids are used to a faster pace of change, and I think they will do well, at least for a while. You’re right though, sooner or later, people naturally want the comfort of things that are familiar and unchanging. I work with technology. The industry has been good to me, but I don’t need more of it in my life – not just yet, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Oh my gosh the memories you retrieved from my memory bank! I remember having to adjust the Rabbit Ears, and when Dad was in prankster mood when you got it just right he’s say, “Don’t move!”, and and see how long you’d stay.
    He always got me to fall for it.

    Milt and Judy’s was my favorite around the corner down the block, just across the street from school little corner market. Most weeks I would run over there right after my Mom or Dad gave me my allowance and more times than not I’d blow the whole thing right then and there. $0.50 on the best, thickest, creamiest, chocolatiest milk shake I’d ever tasted.
    When it was bread truck season I’d hold some back to buy a fresh donut. I can almost smell the breads and pastry as I recall the bread man opening the truck’s back doors and exposing all those wonderful drawers filled with goodies!

    Being the oldest I was tasked with running to market for this or that. I always had bring back the exact change. Once I didn’t I bought a sucker, and got in a whole lot of trouble. I was a bit of a wise ass then, I said they could do their own shopping or ask someone else to it if I couldn’t have a $0.10 candy for doing them a favor. I didn’t get asked to go to the market for quick errands anymore, but my Mom gave me a raise for giving up my summer to watch my sisters and brother, and I could buy, and pick out my new school year’s clothes out of the money. With the money I had leftover I saved some, and bought my first turntable, and an LP. It was the Partridge Family’s first album. I was and still am a huge Shirley Jones fan. :)

    Alright enough of that. Closing the file and sending those memories back to the archive, but before I do I think I’ll spool up Youtube and have a little listen to Partridge Family. :)

    The Dogwoods are gorgeous! So heavy with blossoms! I’ve never seen them that full here.

    That squirrel looked like it might have been having a bad tail day. LOL! It must have been raining. 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am glad to have been your travel agent on that trip, Deborah. We didn’t think about the fact that we were actually responsible little people back then, but the truth is, we were. The simple rewards were great, and that feeling of buying something with your own money was amazing!

      The dogwoods seem fuller this year, as if they had too much winter, too. It was raining on that squirrel. Most of them stay in their nests on rainy days. I guess sitting on our porch works just as well.

      Thanks for the comment, I enjoyed reading this :-)

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Boy, did you hit a nerve, Dan. I grew up like you did with responsibilities. Today’s children may have the world at their iPad fingertips, but in order to function in that world, they will need the skills that you learned growing up. I don’t care how wonderful technology is, a child’s learning is like scaffolding. Each part builds to the next. We are creating a great disconnect when we skip all the stuff you learned. Great post, Dan. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennie – I do think a lot of parents understand this need, and are trying to deal with it. It’s going to be hard. These kis will have to learn basics, and what technology that we couldn’t imagine at their age.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Dan this post is a winner. Perfect for the unofficial kickoff of summer. It has the glow of nostalgia but it’s balanced with a slightly poignant dose of the present. You clearly struck a chord, based on the comments — which were also fun to read. Happy Memorial Day weekend to you and yours. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I think your close-ups are good, especially the one with the water droplet in focus near the center. Love those lilacs! It’s interesting to see how your blooms come a bit later than ours.
    The smell of honeysuckle has replaced the smell of lilacs here.
    I was also Alexa. My father ran a tab for me at the corner store. I walked mostly, but sure, we rode bikes there, too. I knew he’d review the tab, so yeah, I could get candy, but I had to do so responsibly, moderately, not often. Most times I’d buy milk, eggs, flour, cereal, and cans o’ bean n’ bacon soup. I was benignly neglected, or as my mother says, “fiercely independent.” I cooked and baked by age 9. Probably before that, since I won a bread ribbon for 4-H in 4th grade. No one thought a thing of soda when I was 9. Soda was permitted always. I drank soda like a human should drink water, as did my entire family, who also smoked, and their cigarettes were $1.05 a pack.
    In the morning, the radio told me what the weather would be like.
    I changed the channel manually until 1986.
    My mother thought a microwave would change her life, but it didn’t. Womp-Womp.
    I don’t know how well I’m raising my kids because everything is so different. Are they street smart enough? Are they resourceful enough? I suppose it varies. I’ll say this much, I wouldn’t want to start a family now. (and other signs i’m gettin old) The change in basic life skills is tremendous. Moo just built this cyber world thingy, like coded a digital biome, with birds that fly and crocs that crawl and I’m just like, “Is this normal?” I have no idea how smart or clever a kid has to be to do that. I have no yardstick. I was not coding at 14. I played Tetris and could stare at the pipe screensaver like a fishtank. LOL I recently saw a 3-yr old make a playlist. He can’t read, but he knows what his songs look like.
    When they go on trips, I have to remember I went on many more trips with fewer chaperones, or on my own, even younger, but somehow I seemed older. I don’t know if my parents even worried about me, or if they had cause to.
    They’re entitled in ways I can’t even undo. I hate that.
    I also feel like they’re missing out. But they don’t. I dunno, it’s hard.
    I do have cash in my wallet, but The Mister bout never does.
    Anyway, thank you for taking me on this trip to a simpler time. It was a fantastic post, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment. I guess we all adapt to the times we’re living in. I was coding at 14, but I was a geek, for certain. Faith probably never carries cash, but she manages fine.

      I guess kids today need a different kind of street smarts, but some of the old-school lessons are still useful. We still try to pass on some things to Faith, even if she’s unlikely to need them.

      A 3-yr-old building a playlist seems a bit over the top, but who am I to judge?

      Liked by 1 person

  29. These trip on memory lanes are very cool, especially for me since I lived on the other side of the Atlantic back then. Your garden looks lovely in the spring! Winter can be harsh but the rewards are splendid. Maddie seems to enjoy too:)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I imagine. France in the 70s was starting to embrace all things America. Only much later, for music and all things fashionable, for example. Now there are less differences as high tech innovations have reached pretty much every corner of the planet. Remains these little cultural things that keep every country distinct. More on the topic tomorrow:)

        Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m just glad I got to experience some of that. Who knew I’d be missing the times when mom sent me to the shop and when I returned sent me again because she forgot something (the shop was close and I had my bicycle), or when I had to switch between channels manually so that we could watch two things at the same time (say, world cup skiing and a series).

    I have not yet experienced Alexa or a relative in person, but then I remember what fun I was having with our first PC the first night after we got it and Windows had yet to be installed. I kept writing stuff into DOS such as Write, Exit, Die, Compute, Show etc etc, just to see what would happen, and after nothing much happened, I declared computers useless. :D

    Liked by 1 person

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