Imagine not having your cell phone to text anyone. No Facebook to check a profile, and no Instagram to peek at a friend’s story (or a stranger’s!). How about not being able to keep track of your preteen or teenager via GPS? In the mid-90s, before everyone and their brother owned a computer or cell phone, how did we connect with people? How did we get together with other mom groups?
We didn’t text, face time or instant message. We communicated by an actual telephone (that may or may not have been connected to the wall by a cord). We talked during nap time, in hushed tones, as not to wake our children. There was no texting on our home phones. We couldn’t. If we needed to get a hold of one another while we were out and about, we found a pay phone. Yes, there were still pay phones around during this time. Or better yet, we dropped by unannounced and spent the afternoon chatting and watching the kids play.
Social media has changed the way we communicate with one another. How did we build our mom groups before these luxuries were introduced to us? How did we do it without joining a group on Facebook or texting each other? Easy! We went out into the community with our children. We frequented libraries, toddler swim classes, and sporting events. We went to malls, parks, and play groups that were pre-planned and pre-organized. Yes, I know, moms do that–and more–now. The only difference was how we communicated about it. How we actually got out and did it.
During the first part of our marriage, when the kids were small, hubby and I got a flier in the mail one day. Yep, in the actual mailbox. It was through the local school district and announced their upcoming Early Childhood Family Education class for Moms and Dads. I remember walking into that classroom with my son in an infant carrier, my daughter in pigtails, and me searching for other young moms who looked to be somewhat introverted like me. I found one. Her name was Chris. Her children looked to be around the same age as mine and she looked like someone I wanted to get to know. She looked like she had everything under control. To this day, she is still my person. I wasn’t able to check out her Facebook profile or Instagram feed, so that morning, we just talked… and talked, and talked!
Since then, our families have camped together and shared holiday meals. We’ve raised our children together. When really small, the kids all bathed together after a sweaty summer day playing outside in the mud. They have celebrated each other’s birthdays, had graduation pictures taken together and treated each other like siblings. They still do!
Without using Twitter, Snap Chat, Facebook, and Instagram, what were other ways we communicated? Computers weren’t really that big of a thing in the mid-90s. Not everyone had one in their home. There were cell phones but the first ones were in a portable bag, cost quite a pretty penny, and air time was a buck a minute. There was no texting until the aughts, and no call waiting. We were “unplugged” before it was a thing. When we went to sporting events, weddings, and parties, we spent as much time chit-chatting as we could. We spoke in detail about things! During a recent text from my son, all I could get was an OK, yeah, and nice. (Granted, at the age of 21, the fact that he still texts me is pretty awesome!)
What does this old-school girl miss? I miss walking into a room full of strangers and seeing people smiling and talking to one another. People looking one another in the eye and conversing. Often, we all seem to find that little screen on our phone way more interesting than anything else, when given the choice.
I’m not dissing anyone who uses a cellphone or the internet. Au contraire! The internet has certainly provided us with many positive things. We now have the world at our fingertips. We search for answers to our questions, see photos of friends and families that make us smile, and we have the gift of learning unlimited amounts of information. What is the best thing I’ve been able to take away from our new ways of communicating? In 2001, I bought a pair of jeans on eBay. Not only did I get a cute pair of jeans, but the woman who sold them to me became my best friend. Our families have vacationed together, our husbands are as close as brothers, we travel to each others state to see each other every year, and we plan on retiring together in a few years. In Oregon. So yes, there are wonderful things that have come from the new way we communicate.
And seriously, Amazon Prime, people. Most of us have it and, I mean, 1-click buying. What could be better?