Thursday, June 30, 2016

Technology of the 1980s vs. Today

One thing I recalled in my memoir manuscript I have been working on is the technology of the 1980s, and keeping up with the cassette craze of that decade.  If you grew up then, you will remember devices such as the Walkman (below):

Or the boombox

From my manuscript:  
Unlike the smartphones, tablet computers and MP3 players of today, we were not allowed to have these devices at school.  
If we did, they would be confiscated. These things were only luxury items, not a very important part of our lives--the way the smartphones and computers of today have become.  A sign of how times have changed.

Another line from my story:
Passing notes in class on folded paper was our generation's version of "texting."
Another thing most kids of the 1980s will recall. When bored in class, kids would either doodle in their notebooks or write a note to their friends or to their secret crushes. When doing the latter, they would try hard to pass the notes without getting caught by the teacher.  A typical note-passing act would be something like this:

Notes would often be folded in styles like those below:

If and when teachers caught students passing notes, the teacher would confiscate the notes. Sometimes the teachers would read the notes outloud to the entire class (or make the students read them), before the teachers either threw the notes in the garbage can or kept them in their desk drawers. 

Another thing we faced before cell phones was having to wait until we got home to blab about stuff to others on the phone, or wait 'til school resumed on Monday to do so.   Also, in the '80s, kids might have gotten grounded from using the phone. If this was the case when you called them, or if they weren't home, you had to wait until you saw them at school to give them the hot gossip.  Now everyone of all ages has a cell phone and can instantly blab stuff in a matter of seconds. Also, many kids in the 1980s would ask to have their own private phone line, something that has now been largely replaced by each person in the same family getting their own cell phones. 

Remember all this? Do you think kids today have everything easy?


  1. One thing about having a note confiscated, you weren't out much. But a cellphone, oh my. Things have changed.

  2. It's so fascinating for me to look back at things like this and see how much has changed. I grew up in the late 80's/early 90's, and I passed notes in class all the time. I had a walkman, then a discman, and kids were just starting to use beepers/pagers when I was in HS.

    When I went back to school in my mid-20's I felt like I had been in a time machine - everyone had their cell phones & laptops out in the classrooms and the teachers didn't even blink. They just went ahead dictating to a sea of screens and lowered heads. I tried writing a first draft of a paper with pen and paper and I was the weird one. Sigh...I miss the 80's :/

    The Pedestrian Writer