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back in my day we had to hold a tape recorder up to the radio to record our music… and we liked it

back in my day we had to hold a tape recorder up to the radio to record our music… and we liked it

September 22, 2006

Most of the time I don’t think about my age. I feel like the same person I was twenty years ago. I don’t really feel the aging most of the time, or at least I have convinced myself of this. Yeah I take vitamins, think about my fiber intake, and my bones crack when I get out of bed in the morning. But getting old, nah, my hair is prematurely grey.

Sure I don’t jump out of our backdoor that that is 3ft off the ground with no stairs yet, but I like to attribute that to not being as energetic, not due to a deep seated fear of breaking my geriatric hips.

The same when I see a woman my age wearing clothing that is meant for teenagers. No one wants to see a muffin top on an 18 year old, but no one really wants to see it on a 40 year old. I chalk this one up to dressing sensibly, not as a sign that I am headed for polyester elastic waist pants and perfectly coiffed helmet hair.

A few days ago Mom-101 write a post retelling how someone she works with called Blondie “the Tiffany of your generation ” which, while being just so wrong on so many levels and makes me question the intelligence of young people today (see, I am doing it already! imagine me banging my cane on the ground for emphasis here ), it made her, and in turn me, feel old. I mean wasn’t that just a few years ago?

In the comment section I wrote how last week I was at the store and a young man was waiting on me. I thought he was flirting with me until he called me ma’am. MA’AM!! I thought ma’am? I’m not old enough to be a ma’am and simultaneously figured out that I could be old enough to be his mother. And then I threw up a little in my mouth.

Yesterday I rented my children the movie Ghostbusters. When it was over my oldest son turned to me and we had the following conversation:

Him: I really don’t like old movies very much.

Me: Old, like what? the black and white silent flicks?

Him: No like movies from the 80’s.

Me: Those aren’t old.

Him: Yes they are. The computer animation or whatever it was way back then was just so low tech. It looks so fake. Really, I don’t know how you could stand watching movies way back then.

And before I could say anything I flashed back to my sassy preteen self saying to my mother, “Like, I don’t know how you could stand watching those old movies They were so unrealistic with, like, everyone facing towards the camera and then, like, suddenly breaking into song and dance.”

Oh it comes back around alright and hits you like a two by four across the back.

Last night I was reading one of my favorite blogs, and maliavale was writing a very interesting post about creativity, school, and homework. She related a story of her own childhood in passing which mentioned having a VCR when she was in kindergarten. What? I think we still had a black and white television back in my day (see doing it again! tap tap tap the cane).

I wish I could remember where I was going with this post, but it has slipped my mind. Perhaps I am becoming senile… prematurely of course.

Posted by Chris @ 9:03 am  

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  1. Personal Chef to 2 says:

    My boys get so mad if I happen to take a picture with a camera that takes film … God forbid! The horror of not being able to see the picture RIGHT NOW *rolls eyes*

    My husband jokes all the time that once our 4.5yr old shows interests in playing video games - he’s starting him out on Atari. And yes, we still have it! LOL

  2. me says:

    Cheers to being 40, and electric prods like finding out an acquaintance’s child just graduated from college and the last conversation you can recall is your friend’s story of the child in PRESCHOOL. Or telling your new 27 yr old neighbor that you are 40 and watching her spasm not knowing if it’s from disbelief because your eye cream works so well or that she’s freaked to be talking to someone from ‘that’ generation, which is also what you did when you were her age and were talking to someone in their 40’s. Ah, yes, it all comes back.

  3. Steph. says:

    HA! I can totally related to this. AND, I did record songs from the radio on my tape recorder! The MAAM thing killed me, and I started getting it a few years ago even.

    Most days, I try to walk that fine line between pretending I’m not old in my head, but not acting/dressing like I’m 16 on the outside (as half of the women in my neighborhood do!) Yeah…getting old sucks.

  4. AB says:

    Black and white tvs in the classroom? How advanced! Doesn’t anyone remember the film strips…with the “boooop” when you had to advance to the next frame? Boooop.

  5. Sara says:

    I still get a little freaked out when I walk past a mirror and see my 38 y.o. self staring back instead of the 20 y.o.inside my head. My 20 year high school reunion is coming up in October and I find myself reminiscing about “way back when” with my 10y.o. daughter who vascillates between being completely freaked out that her mother had a life including boyfriends and such and appalled at our lack of technology. “What’s a ‘boom box’?” Ahhh…the 80’s! John Hughes film, anyone?

  6. Caroline says:

    I’ve had this conversation with my nephew and it is only a matter of time for my young boys,

    I remember the Christmas all the 30 something adults realized the Charlie Brown Christmas was on. We grabbed all the kids and sat them down to watch. They thought we were CRAZY!!! They so do not understand a world without videos or DVDs. They didn’t believe us when we said that you had to wait an entire year to see this one show. Several of the youngsters in room could not even grasp the concept. No video, no cable and you have to watch the commericals becauce nobody had Tivo back then?

    DH’s family made the youngest kid hold the bunny ears to the TV because they didnt have cable growing up. When my 12 year-old nephew heard the words no cable he was horrified . You’d think his dad had said I grew up with no water.


  7. Cheryl says:

    Heck, I’m old enough to remember my mom encouraging us kids to watch Nixon/Watergate stuff on TV because it was “history-in-the-making” and most of my neighbors are several years younger than my hubster and I….and sometimes I would love to have a tape recorder in order to show my 16 year old just how fresh is mouth sounds…..:)

  8. mommyHAM says:

    Hey, I object to me’s statement!

    I am 27 and remember all but the watergate scandal in my childhood as well. But, I’m an old soul, b/c it’s shocking to me when a new friend tells me they are below 35, lol. Most of my irl friends are pussing 40 and 50.

  9. Kaci says:

    I would record entire television shows on my tape recorder (the audio part, of course) because nobody had heard of a VCR at that point. I’d listen to the shows over & over in bed after lights out. My husband is much younger than I, so I enjoy “GAH! I’M OLD” conversations/head slaps daily!

  10. Nicki says:

    I’m 31 and I still remember recording music on the tape player, an 8 track player, our first vcr, playing music from lps on a record player, and when atari was new. The worst is seeing the new batch of young hollywood hotties and thinking “If I was 5/10 years younger I would totally be in to him”. Does this make me old?

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Well, my husband is 42 and doesn’t remember anything before the year 2000. It’s a constant source of humor that he is all about pop culture (and Gilligan’s Island, but that’s the exception).

    The first time I noticed it happening to me, Hansen was popular (MMM-Bop) and I told my daughters they would be cute if they just cut their hair. AAARRRRGH

    I also don’t like that even a year ago when I turned 40 people were politely shocked to hear that, but now that I’m going to be 41 nobody has really seemed surprised to hear that number at all.

  12. Jen says:

    I said to a friend at the mall “I WANT MY $2!” and she gave me such a blank stare. And I do remember the flim strips. What a treat those were!

  13. Darren McLikeshimself says:

    First, the Blondie thing. Wha?!

    See, this is why I’m afraid of having children. I couldn’t take the idea of little McLikeshimself, Jr. looking up at me and telling me that “Raiders of the Lost Ark looks fake.”

  14. Woman with Kids says:

    When Boy 1 was about 5, he wanted to know what games I played as a kid, since there wasn’t ‘tricity back then… I chased him around with my walker and so I could beat him with my cane. ;-)

  15. Mama T. says:

    I know Blondie and I know Tiffany. Tiffany is no Blondie. Thankyouverymuch!

    I’ve tried getting my step-daughter to watch some “old” 80’s movies and she’s so bored. If it’s not Japanese animation or Pixar, it’s crap apparently. Oh and we tried to get her to watch A Christmas Story last year and she HATED every minute of it. And here I thought E.T. and Ghostbusters would be a hoot for her watch. Hoot. I should be tapping with my cane when I say that word, shouldn’t I?

  16. Angela says:

    I heard the click, click, click of a hand tally counter at work a few days ago and instead of the logical “someone is counting cells” I though “who is using a typewriter?!” A click, click, clack typewriter popped into my head, not even a nice modern electric one. I felt incredibly dated. I wonder if my daughter would get a kick out of my Cabbage Patch kids record player (circa 1984), or if we would just damage several CD’s when she tries to play them on it.

  17. Lessa says:

    Oh man. I can relate. My youngest, whenever she wants to get through to me that something is REALLY REALLY REALLY old - she says “Yeah, mom, you know, WAY BACk in the 80s!”

    And I’m always left standing, gaping, and trying to come up with an apropriate comeback. Senility here I come!

  18. Kim in MI says:

    (in my old lady voice)
    Oh my my my
    I remember getting our first VCR. It was so exciting. I think it was bigger than the TV. A long time later we got one with a remote-on-a-wire. You could only go 8 feet from the VCR with it. And that was cool.

  19. MetroDad says:

    I wonder what the kids will think about “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” or “16 Candles.” Will they get the same feeling that people our age get when watching classic Jimmy Stewart films and laugh about a more innocent time?

    A friend of mine were just reminiscing about things from our youth that kids today could never understand. On the list: the cable box remote with the long wire attached to the TV, 8-track cartridges, Pong, pre-microwave frozen dinners that took an hour to make, claymation, and TV sets made out of wood.

  20. Fold My Laundry Please says:

    I remember those film strips!

    We got a VCR when I was in third grade and it was the coolest thing! It had a remote with a cord that you had to plug into the VCR (not much of a “remote” now is it?) and all that was available to rent (for astronomical amounts of money including a $150 deposit, makes you reconsider just how “expensive” rental costs today are, doesn’t it?) were the so-called old movies of our day. You know, stuff like Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor and Hello Dolly with Barbara Streisand. But I loved those movies because it was just so much fun actually using that new-fangled contraption! I guess they weren’t all old movies, we got to rent Star Wars before we went to the theaters to see Empire Strikes Back.

  21. Fold My Laundry Please says:

    A funny story…
    One Christmas we were at my Aunt and Uncle’s house and my Uncle handed my cousin an album and asked her to put it on for us. Ten minutes later we noticed that we still weren’t hearing Christmas carols and looked over to see her standing in front of the record player holding the album loosely between two fingers and staring blankly at the turntable trying to figure out where to slide in the disc!

  22. Mom101 says:

    I bet he was flirting with you…and also being respectful. Maybe it was like a Mrs. Robinson thing? Maybe? I mean, I’ve seen you in person and I would flirt with you. And I would most definitely not call you ma’am while doing so.

    Meanwhile, I tried to explain to this coworker (who was THIRTY by the way) that Blondie was at the forefront of the US Punk/New Wave Movement. CBGBs. Mudd Club. Velvet Underground and NY Dolls. He just looked at me blankly and said “Oh. Well I guess I thought she was just some cute one-hit wonder chick.”


  23. Karen Rani says:

    Ha ha! I bought Garbage Pail Kids on DVD for Dylan and he thought it was stupid. So did I, but back when it came out, I LOVED it.

    Unfortunately it wasn’t the movie I thought it was. The one I was looking for had a scene where two little girls kept pulling faces at people and someone told them their faces would stay that way if someone slapped them on the back. Later in the movie, someone indeed slaps them on the backs and their faces stay that way. Do you think I can remember the title of it? Nope. NOTHING. I wish I knew because I could hunt down yet another classic for my unsuspecting 7 year old.

  24. Joy H says:

    8-track tapes, PONG, the ORIGINAL Star Wars (none of that episode one crap), American’s Top 40 on weekends with Casey Cassem, the 1st VIDEO on Mtv (yes my dear child - it was all about the videos once upon a time), GREASE!!!!, The Breakfast Club, DuranDuran,…..I could go on for hours.

    Pardon me while I go look for my Dones’ pills.

  25. maria says:

    I’m 41 and didn’t learn to use a computer until grad school. I typed all my papers in undergrad and often got marked down b/c of typos. One professor returned a paper w/a comment - never apply for a job as a clerk/typist (thanks to computers that’s how I paid for grad school…)

    Between raising my kids in the city and I grew up outside a small town in Iowa and the technology differences - it’s a whole different world;)

  26. InterstellarLass says:

    My son is 11 and we bought him The Black Hole. He’s watched it three times. He also loves the original three (IV-VI) Star Wars films, and Flash Gordon. It does look cheesy and fake, but it’s part of the charm!

  27. Audrey says:

    A VCR in kindergarten?? I am twenty-five and due to something I don’t quite understand (nothing to do with money, though) we didn’t have a color TV or VCR in my house until I was at least halfway through elementary school. Even then, we weren’t allowed more than an hour of TV during the week and weekends were limited, too. Of course, I am actually thankful for this, as I love to read and can’t sit still (thank god for knitting!) when my husband watches copious amounts of television…

  28. Gretchen says:

    Oh yes, I remember ALL the things everyone here has mentioned, including THE day MTV came on the air. For that whole summer they had about 12 music videos because before that bands just had no use for making them. I remember getting cable for the first time, and our “remote” was a box on a cord (it was longer than 8 ft, though, LOL) that didn’t have numbers to punch, it was like a keyboard with numbers and letters on it and you slid the selector up and down the row to the channel you wanted. I remember tv dinners you had to cook in the oven; and I remember watching School House Rock every Saturday morning, enduring awful shows just so I could see them, lol. We actually didn’t have a microwave until we moved to a new house in ‘85. I remember my first record player, I got albums of The Monkees and Peter Paul and Mary LOL. And the year I got my first “stereo” with a tape player in it. I didn’t have to tape from the speakers, I could record the radio straight onto the tape without background noise. I remember standing on line ( a HUGE line) to watch Star Wars in the theater when it first came out. I remember the first VCR we had (actually it was a Beta) and my Dad taped a really stupid space movie on it, which we then had to watch a gazillion times. I think Jan Michael Vincent was in it LOL. I had a Pong game, and was sooo jealous when my best friend got a new Atari and could play Space Invaders and Centipede. In fact, I remember playing Space Invaders on an arcade machine in Bradlees, LOL. Back then that stuff was soooo cool! Whew, there are so many more! Imagine how old our parents feel….

  29. Beth says:

    Heh. My son thinks I’m cool because I’m really good at “that old videogame, Centipede,” and because I still know an arcade that has the game. The old is new to him! ;^)

  30. Novaks8 says:

    I remember getting cable in 1980.


    What a life changing event!

    Show a kid an old rotary phone….they wouldn’t have a clue how to work it.

    I remember our first microwave MAN that thing was huge!

    Today is my 38th birthday and I feel very old sometimes.

  31. Maliavale says:

    See, but there’s a flip side. Do you remember people thinking you were naive and had no concept of anything that happened outside of the years you were alive? Because it happens to me a fair amount. It used to just piss me off and I’d get defensive, but now I have a new strategy. I tell them, “No, I have NO IDEA what Air Supply is, because I’m 2. Yep! Turned 2 today. Cool, huh?” and I go on and on. Or I point out that they’re old, as opposed to me being young, which usually shuts them out.

    Now, that was clearly not intended to be pointed at you, as I would never do that. But 1. I don’t think you’re old, or seem old, or anything remotely related; and 2. Being young and working hard for credibility and having it constantly undermined can kind of suck, too.

    Then again, and I say this every birthday and I realize maybe it’s because I’m still in my mid-20s, but I don’t think getting older is a bad thing at all. I look forward to it, because who knows what’s in store.

    OK, I think I’m done now. ;-)

  32. Jen says:

    I lent a friend so cash at the mall one day. As I handed her a few bucks, I said, “I WANT MY $2!” She had NO idea what I was talking about.

    And how ’bout Dr. McDreamy? Uh, hello, he IS Ronald Miller!!

  33. Michelle says:

    That’s a trip back thirty years–my very first cassette tape was made by holding a recorder up to the speaker in our living room. Of the Bee Gees song “Tragedy.”

  34. peepnroosmom says:

    How funny. I definitely remember the film strips. Boooop. And what a treat if the teacher let us watch them backwards.
    The other day Peep asked how we checked our email back when we were in school if there were no computers. I just looked at him and rolled my eyes. Thanks everybody, I feel really old now. Really.

  35. Kristie says:

    I turned 40 last week and can’t decide if my mind or my body is going downhill most quickly. Probably my body thanks to my aching joints and stiff knees and …. I’m sorry, what was I talking about?

    You know what *my* kids don’t get? That back in the day, we only got to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings. There was no NickToons or ToonDisney playing 24/7. I tried to explain to them that if you missed Saturday morning cartoons you were out of luck for the whole week and their reply? “Wow, Grandma wouldn’t TiVo them for you??”


  36. amo says:

    i’m nearly 34, and we didn’t have a vcr until i was 16. we didn’t have a shower in our tub, either, but that’s another story. anyway, for my 13th birthday, we rented a vcr from the local, non-blockbuster video store and rented “teen wolf.”

    in related news, my boyfriend was three that year. lol.

  37. KTP says:

    A few years ago I gave a Psychedelic Furs CD to my sister for Christmas. She’s 9 years younger than me. She guffawed and said “this is OLD music!”


  38. Ruth H says:

    Okay, you young whippersnappers!! Are you trying to hurt my feelings? I’m going to be 70 next month and I’m really, really wondering where everybody went. I mean, like Betty Grable, Lana Turner, you know, those people. I don’t even know who the new stars are, I quit caring about that years ago and started reading mainly non-fiction books and watching mainly c-span and now I read blogs, too. I love reading you young sprouts and seeing the same thoughts are still around for many of us stay at home moms!. Life goes on but it only changes superficially when it comes to the electronics of it. Children, spouses, life’s problems and especially life’s joys remain the same, they just wear different clothing.

  39. Y says:

    My son refers to my high school years as “Back in the olden days…”

  40. debby says:

    I’m 37 and I bought an ‘older’ house a few years ago. One of the worst things about it is the ‘old, ugly’ front door.

    For a hoot, I sat the kidlies down to watch Better Off Dead (relax, they are 15 and 19). At one point, they wondered why mom was gasping for air. My ‘old’ front door is the same door as John Cusack’s house (when the paperboy asked for $2). The door didn’t look particularly old when I fell in love with the movie — how did this happen?

    And when we’d tell the kids about ‘Electro Woman and Dyna Girl’, ‘Spiderman’, and other favorite shows, my kids used to routinely ask why we didn’t have video tapes of them. Aarrrggggh.

  41. Brigitte says:

    Karen Rani, the movie where the kids’ faces freeze is “One Crazy Summer”.

    Back in my day, we got two channels . . . and we liked it!

    If we were calling in-town, we only had to dial 5 numbers on our rotary phone (I DID like that).

    When the groceries were bagged, they got put on a conveyer belt that went outside, and you pulled up and had young men load them into your car for you.

    When visiting my grandma, our baths were in a round steel tub in the middle of the kitchen, with water she heated on the stove!

    Almost 43, eh? I was sure I was still 14 or 15 . . .

    My poor kid will have such ancient parents (I was just about 41 when I had her)!

  42. rachel says:

    yep, I’m feeling old too. Between “how did you LIVE without a computer?!” and “you had NO CABLE?!” from my kids, and then taking them to a local college and seeing real-live college kids looking like 15yr olds, I’m definately getting old.

  43. Maddy says:

    My boys find video’s old,
    “they are out mum”
    “it’s DVD’s now”
    “don’t you hate those old video’s, they are all scratchy”
    “they aren’t stereo” …. and I find myself remembering my first LP, oh and a single too by Pussyfoot. One of the first Albums I got when I was working was Madonna’s Like a Virgin, so racy! I wonder what they would make of Boy George too.

  44. ben says:

    My son says he doesn’t like “grey” movies. Of course, he’s referring to black and white.

    Thanks for the flashback. I wonder what happened to all those ol’ 8-track tapes? My Sharona, Van Halen I and II? Boston’s first album?

    I remember my sister screaming at us when we danced so much it made the record player skip (Barry Manilow or her favorite: the Best of Bread, sigh)

    I love telling my kids that I remembered seeing the Rolling Stones the FIRST time they quit doing concerts, twenty five or so years ago (when they were just pups)

  45. creative-type dad (tony) says:

    Wow- I am feeling extremely old right now.

    I teach a H.S. AP art class, once a week, and I totally laugh at the kid’s conversations. This one girl once said “you know that movie done a long, long time ago before my parents were born , with Molly Ringwald”.

    I laughed on the outside, and cried on the inside.

  46. Sarcastic Journalist says:

    So my Mom, who is in her fifties, is probably going to laugh when my kids use those same “you went to school with dinosaurs” jokes that I use on her?

    Also…I was born in late 1979. The first presidency I really remember was Bush the First.

  47. Fold My Laundry Please says:

    I was going to tell Karen Rani that the movie she was thinking of was “One Crazy Summer” with John Cusack, but Brigitte beat me to it!

  48. liz says:

    Laughing uproariously.

  49. nabbalicious says:

    Ha! I totally remember taping music from the radio.

    I don’t feel old until I meet someone who was born in the ’80s. It never fails to trip me out.

  50. Shelly says:

    Talking about ‘old Movies’… my DH brought Karate Kid. It is a movie we both loved from the beloved 80’s. My teen is going around grunting what a stupid 80’s movie where no one knew how to do anything!

  51. Suebob says:

    Kids these days just don’t understand!

    My 23-year-old coworker was saying her dad was having his 45th birthday in a tone that implied that was unbelievably ancient. I cracked up and said “Uh, I’m 45.”

    She got all chagrined and said “Oh, I’m sorry!” thus compounding it by about 1000 percent.

  52. Lisa says:

    Could be worse. Rambo just turned 60. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

  53. Mom101 says:

    Karen - One Crazy Summer, only the BEST old John Cusack movie EVER. Demi Moore, Bobcat Goldthwait…how could you go wrong?

  54. T in HD says:

    Oh yes, holding the tape recorder up to the radio and trying to keep it veeerrrrry still so as not to get too much extra noise on that music-in-a-tin-can recording.

    As to a VCR, we didn’t get one of those until I was almost in my teens. Kindergarten? We had a black and white television. My father didn’t want to spend the money on one of those expensive new colour sets!

  55. Susan says:

    I am 38 and feeling older by the minute.

    This past weekend, I was at Wal-mart with my best friend who happens to be 30 but looks 18.

    The clerk & I got to talking (we happen to have a mutual friend), and she said to me, “So, is this your daughter?”

  56. Susan says:

    Where did the rest of my post go?

    Anyway, the clerk points to my 30yo friend and asks me that. There are no words.

    Also, sometime last year, my 10yo son was calling a friend and got a perplexed look on his face after dialing.

    I said, “What, did it go to voicemail?” “No,” he replies. “It’s making some weird buzzing sound.”

    I take the phone from him to listen to this mysterious noise.

    It was a busy signal.

  57. mike says:

    said my wife: “This new digital cable is messing up our ability to record shows”

    said me: “We could get the DVR and do it all electronically!”

    said my wife: “Umm, no. I’m NOT shelling out $300 or whatever it costs for one of those things. Why don’t they think of these things when they come out with new technology? surely people are out there who still have VCRs”

    said me: “Fiiiiine. Let’s go to yard sales and pick up a second VCR so we can tape Sunday Night Football AND The Amazing Race.”

    (note: I’m a little reluctant to give up the digital cable)

  58. Lisa says:

    Bleck! Blondie? I hated her. To be honest, I hated almost all of the music in the 80’s. That decade was just horrible for me. I did, however, become one of those girls with the big hairsprayed ‘do and loving heavy metal. *shudder*