Our ten-year-old grandson’s current history topic: 1948-2011 – how did technology change during this period?
1948! That’s my lifetime!
All right, I was only four at the start of the period, but I do just about remember that far back. If I didn’t feel old before, I do now. You tend to forget that your own memories are not necessarily shared memories, especially where younger people are concerned. You see how the world’s changed, again and again, and can often see why it’s changed. You have the long view. But it’s getting to the stage where not a great many other people have that view. Didn’t someone once say something about those with no knowledge of history being condemned to repeat its mistakes? That’s a very disturbing thought, which sometimes seems to be alarmingly true. However, that’s another matter…
Our grandson was urged to try and interview someone on his topic, and I was handy. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘We didn’t have mobile phones when I was young.’
His eyes widened in utter disbelief. This was unimaginable! ‘How did you communicate?’
Yet mobile phones have not really been in general use for that long – a decade or two, that’s all. A much shorter time than, say, automatic washing machines, dishwashers, televisions (and, yes, the first time I watched television was for the coronation of the current queen, like so very many others) and fridges. Even the National Health Service only had its birth within my lifetime. I hope and pray it doesn’t end within that lifetime as well!