By Ralph Hood

I have no trouble accepting yet another new year. What bothers me is that we are now 17 years into this new millennium. That horrifies me! I can remember when it seemed we would never get into this millennium!

I still haven’t accepted the idea of 1984 being in the past, rather than the far distant future as it was when I first read the book.

When I was born in 1941:

Push-button phones were nonexistent. Most of the world had dial phones, but not where I grew up. We had—and did have for years thereafter—the old system wherein you picked up the phone and told the operator (“Central,” we called her) what number you wanted.

Pocket calculators were not on the scene and wouldn’t be for another 30 years or so. I saw my first one some 30 years later.

Television didn’t exist, even in black and white.

Polio did exist and was serious.

Model A Fords still existed in great numbers, not as antiques, but as transportation.

Women’s hose—hose, not nylons—still had seams.

There were—believe it or not—no fast food restaurants. No motels, either, but there were a lot of “tourist homes.” Some were nice, some were not, and the smart traveler looked at the room before paying.

There were no “800” numbers.

The train station was as important then as the airport is now. Prosperity was one car per family, rather than one per family member.

Smoking cigarettes was “cool.” All the movie stars did it. Nobody told kids not to smoke; they just said, “Don’t smoke ‘til you’re 21; it’ll stunt your growth.”

It was still considered proper to pray in school, before football games, and at meals. (On the other hand, racial segregation was considered proper, too.) Oddly enough, in spite of the dominance of religion in everyday life, the words “under God” were not yet included in the Pledge of Allegiance and wouldn’t be for another decade or so.

There were no cassette tapes and no CDs. Music was recorded on huge black records made of glass. Drop one, and it shattered. “Hi fidelity” (much less stereo) wouldn’t be around for years.

There were no tubeless tires, instant replays, cake mixes, microwaves, junk bonds, or frozen foods.

We believed stability was normal. Now we know that change—ever-quickening change—is normal.

When I consider the awesomeness of it all, and my insignificant role, I realize the world doesn’t need a set of New Year’s Resolutions on my part. So I didn’t make any.