10 Things Your Grandkids Won’t Believe You Actually Used

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Things have changed a lot since we were younger, that’s for sure. There are a lot more conveniences now with modern technology, but I still find myself longing for the days of the past.

It felt simpler and just less crazy.

Here are 10 things from our past that, if we tell our grandkids, they’ll think WE are the crazy ones! And that’s exactly why you should talk to them about all of these staples of the past.

See what they think!

1. Used rotary phones with a dial to make phone calls

Back in the day, making a phone call involved more than just tapping on a screen. You had to put in some real effort to dial those digits. Want to call your friend who lives two towns over? You better hope their number doesn’t have too many nines or zeros, or you might get a finger cramp before you even get through. And don’t even get me started on the frustration of misdialing and having to start all over again!

2. Watched TV shows and movies on a black and white television

If you wanted to catch your favorite TV show or movie back in the old days, you had to do it on a black and white television. No high-def, no 4K, no streaming services. And forget about binge-watching a whole season in one sitting. You had to wait until next week to see what happened to your favorite characters. On the plus side, at least the black and white TV made everyone look like they had an air of mystery and sophistication about them.

3. Listened to music on a vinyl record player or cassette tapes

Kids these days have it so easy when it comes to listening to music. They can just pull up any song they want on their phone and start jamming out. But back in the day, we had to work for our music. Want to listen to your favorite album? You had to put that vinyl record or cassette tape into the player, carefully adjust the needle, and pray that the tape wouldn’t get all tangled up. And if you wanted to skip a track, you had to physically get up and move the needle to the next groove. It was like a workout just to listen to music!

4. Typed on a typewriter to write letters or reports

If you wanted to write a letter or report back in the day, you had to do it on a typewriter. No backspace, no autocorrect, no undo button. Just you, the keys, and your fingers. And if you made a mistake, well, you better hope you had some whiteout handy. Typing up a document was like playing a high-stakes game of Whac-A-Mole, with your fingers as the mallets and the keys as the moles. It was exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time.

5. Used a film camera and had to wait to see the developed pictures

In the age of instant gratification, waiting for your photos to be developed seems like a cruel and unusual punishment. But back in the day, that’s just how it was. You’d take your roll of film to the drugstore or photo lab, drop it off, and then wait a week or more to see the finished product. And even then, you weren’t guaranteed that the pictures would turn out the way you wanted. It was like playing a game of Russian Roulette with your memories.

6. Writing a physical check at the store

In the old days, going shopping was a lot different than it is now. There were no fancy credit or debit cards or mobile payment apps to make things easy. If you wanted to buy something, you had to pay in cash or write a check. And if you didn’t have enough cash on you, tough luck! You couldn’t just pull out a credit card and buy whatever you wanted. It was like a never-ending game of “How much cash do I have left in my wallet?” And forget about trying to split a bill between multiple people – that was a whole other level of complicated.

7. Had to physically go to a library

These days, if you need to research something, all you have to do is Google it. But back in the day, we had to actually go to a library and look things up in books. Want to know who the 15th president of the United States was? Better hope you have a good memory, or you’ll be flipping through the card catalog for hours trying to find the right book. And if the book you needed was checked out, well, tough luck! You’d have to come back another day and try again. It was like playing a never-ending game of hide-and-seek with the knowledge you needed.

8. Wore clothing without elastic or stretchy fabric

Back in the day, fashion was a lot different than it is now. Women didn’t wear yoga pants or stretchy leggings – they wore corsets, girdles, and stockings with garter belts. Getting dressed in the morning was like putting on a suit of armor. And forget about being comfortable! It was all about looking good, no matter how much it pinched, squeezed, or cut off your circulation. It’s a good thing we’ve moved on to more comfortable and practical clothing styles, or we might all still be walking around in girdles.

9. Cooked meals from scratch

In the old days, if you wanted to eat, you had to cook. There was no such thing as Uber Eats or DoorDash to deliver food to your door, and microwaves were a luxury item. So if you wanted to eat something, you had to make it yourself. And that meant cooking everything from scratch, using fresh ingredients and your own two hands. It was like playing a never-ending game of “What’s in the fridge?” And forget about trying to make something healthy and delicious in under 30 minutes – that was just a pipe dream. But hey, at least we got good at cooking!

10. Used a map to navigate while driving

Nowadays, we have GPS systems that can guide us anywhere we want to go. But back in the day, we had to rely on good old-fashioned maps and compasses to get around. Want to go on a road trip? Better hope you have a map of every state you’ll be passing through, or you might end up in Canada instead of California. And if you were hiking in the woods, you had to make sure you had a compass handy to avoid getting lost. It was like playing a game of Marco Polo, but with trees instead of people.


Whether it’s any of these 10 items or something I left out, talk about them with your grandkids. You might be surprised in a lot of ways. At the very least, they’ll understand grandma a little better and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two as well.

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