Things kids of today will not recognize

As I watched a young mother put a record onto a small record player it reminded me that most of the children of today have no idea what a record is.

In my day records were very popular. My husband had a stereo and a lot of albums when we dated. I had a smaller player and some albums. While we talked we used the music for a background. We had our favorite songs. I really enjoyed Johnny Mathis at that point. He enjoyed Connie Francis.

I had a lot of albums featuring the soundtracks of the movies. I grew up with those songs and knew most of the words. When I was in the chorus we sang many of those songs as well. “Oklahoma” was one of them that I had. I loved the music. I also loved “West Side Story”.

The hits for the day were on the smaller 45 rpm format. If you wanted copies of the latest hits that is what you bought. If you had a large player you put a large spindle in the middle to play them. I remember a friend having a record player of her own that was just a small one. We listened to the hits on it. I took my records to her house so we could have a lot of them to listen to.

Albums were 33 1/3 rpm. They are not actually the first records that I remember. I had a little Victrola that took 78s. My cousins and I listened to those records in the playroom at Grandma’s house. I know there is a cute picture of my cousin Bob where you can tell that he is dancing. He was pretty little back then.

All of these have gone away and been replaced several times by various means. There were eight track tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, and Blue Ray. This business has moved so quickly that it was impossible to keep up.

My children do remember records because we had them. They had a small record player to listen to stories on. There was a bell that rang when it was time to turn the page. I think this device probably helped their reading skills.

Today young people buy their music and put it in their device to be listened to over and over. Usually the grandchildren are listening to something while we ride.

When I went back to look at the history of music I found some interesting things. Do you remember juke boxes? Well I found out they were first patented in the late 1800s. They were still big in my day. I remember at school that we borrowed a big juke box for some of our dances. The one we used was one of those old pretty ones.

In the restaurants, there were small machines by each table for a while. You could put your money in and make your selections right from your table. Pretty soon the song you chose was playing for all to listen to. Sometimes you had to wait a while to hear your song if others had made selections at their tables. No one minded though because you heard their music as well as you own.

I have records. I have cassette tapes. I have CDs. There are still devices that I own that are able to play them all. I am so glad I have them because that means that all of that music is not lost. Especially at Christmas I like to play the old records.

I do have CDs of the “Nutcracker Suite”. I listen to them in the car if the radio is not playing anything I like or if there is a show that I do not care for. I also have a collection of children’s songs on CD. I used those a lot when the grandchildren were young. Since there are three CDs they last for a while so there was always music. The grandchildren even learned some of them just from hearing them so often.

I have no music that I play on any of my devices. I use the one for reading books and the other is my telephone. I guess I am rather old-fashioned that way. My phone is on – most of the time, but the children know they cannot count on reaching me that way. I use it mostly to make calls out. The device I read on has a lot of books either on the cloud or on the device. I did not think I wanted one of those, but have found it to be quite useful. When I am reading on the device often I have a real book going as well since you have to charge the device. That way I have always have something to read.

Will books go by the wayside just like the records? Who knows? But I still like the feel of a good book in my hands just like I still like to listen to my records.

Do not forget about the telephone. No one is still tethered to their phone these days. It used to be that I had to answer the phone and be reasonably close to be able to talk. Now everything is wireless. Many people do not even have a land line. Everything is done with mobile service.

At the fair, we used to have an old phone in the office. Since we were all of a certain age no one thought anything about it. It was only when the young children and teens came in to use it that it was an issue. They would look at it and ask how to use it! That is when we all knew we were out of date.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at