Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Future

I remember ordering things from Sears and Roebuck. From the catalog. Three times a year we'd get a new Sears catalog and pore through it. If we wanted to order something, we'd get out the pencil and write all the information concerning our purchase and whereabouts and drop it in the mail. Several weeks later we'd be surprised when the mail man (it was always the US Postal Service and there were no women delivering mail) would bring a package to our door.

Today I click on a couple of blue links and make an order from a computer that's not connected by wire to anything. Later that day I get an electronic message from the shipping company, telling me that they've started moving the package from across the country and tell me when it'll be delivered to my house.

One day last summer I was waiting for a package and clicked on the tracking link. I saw a notation that the delivery guy had given my package to the lady standing by the mail box. I called Milady on the phone she carries in her pocket and she told me that she had placed the package on my work bench before she left home to run some errands.

Thirty years ago, this would all have been fodder for science fiction. I'm awaiting a package this morning, and I know that it left Jackson, MS, at midnight this morning. It's on-time for delivery tomorrow.

We don't have flying cars yet, but we live in the future. I am continually amazed.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, my family bought the lion's share of shoes and clothes from either Sears or Monky Ward's. I still remember the excitement when the Christmas wish books came in the mail. Us kids nearly wore 'em out. Real toys that really did things, too not the passive pap that passes for toys now. I remember the little steam engine I got one year. It ran on esbit pellets and made real steam. HOT steam. And the Marble's Axe and Knife set. Dozens of cords of campfire wood and hundreds of rabbits and grouse and more than a few deer know how good Marble's axes and knives are.

I also remember the tin can telephone strung from my bedroom window to the fort in Ronnie Fry's back yard behind us. Communication today is absolutely amazing. In high school a friend who was "Into" Ham Radio had a goal to conduct a conversation with someone in Byelorus by means of a totally homemade Short Wave radio powered by a lemon. He finally did it and got the DX card to prove it. It earned him an A in Science, too. Now all he'd need is the guy's phone number.

Gerry N.

Old NFO said...

Times, they are a changin... we have no choice but to change with them... I know one thing, when you had to rely on the catalogs, there was no such thing as 'impulse' buying...

J said...

When I was a lad my great aunt was postmistress in this little burg. I don't remember visiting her when there wasn't a big cardboard box of baby chickens behind the counter. In those days, early 1950s, everybody had their own chickens, including us.

Flintlock Tom said...

Hah! I was born the same year as you, Pawpaw, and I remember the catalogs very well. At Christmas time I and my siblings would write out a Christmas wish list for "Santa". The list consisted only of the page number and the item letter on the page of the item we were wishing for.