Older Than Dirt: Diary Queen Adopts to the Modern Era

Remember when a diary was a special place that girls could write down their innermost thoughts? When we got old enough for a diary, we knew we were growing up, for sure.

Some diaries even came with a key to lock them up, thus keeping all other family members from snooping. This was a place we could go and write about boys, school and sometimes what we dreamed about at night. It was a very special place and a very special time in a young girl's life.

I remember when Sister got a diary one Christmas. She was so excited! Now she had a place to write down all the secrets she was keeping. Of course, this did not mean that I would not be snooping! That is what you do when you are the baby sister. A really huge secret might be a boy she had a crush on, or maybe a small fib she had told our parents.

Something as simple as writing in your diary every night was such fun. Fun was a lot less complicated then. It did not include checking your Facebook, texting, listening to an Ipod, reading e-mails and so on. Who would have thought we would live long enough to see the world of communication change so drastically.

When one of our family members got color TV, we thought they must be very wealthy. Who else could afford one of those? Our Dad was still attaching a plastic gadget over our black and white, that was supposed to simulate color television! It was strange, but did seem to be more fun to watch. Sometimes we would stay up late until television was over. Yes, indeed, it would have no programming after about eleven o'clock at night.

I often wonder how my parents would react to the new age of communication. When I try to imagine them seeing a tiny phone that they could take pictures with and send non-verbal messages with, it makes me smile. My Mom lived long enough to see me use a home computer, but back then it was just for word processing. She thought THAT was amazing.

I wonder what they would have said if someone had predicted we would someday have a black president? I remember their shock the first time they saw a black family in a television commercial. They stared at the screen with their mouths wide open.

On those rare occasions that we could afford a long distance call, we would ask the operator to let us know when the three minutes was up! Who could afford to pay to talk longer than that? Especially when you could just write them a letter and spend three cents on a stamp. Writing a letter? You remember, when you used a pen and paper to send news to family members or friends who lived far away. That almost sounds medieval now.

My oldest brother was hard core about the new communication. He refused to learn how to use a computer. He said. "I want to hear the voice of the person I am talking to. If I didn't want to talk, I could just write them a letter!"

I have to admit that even at my age I do appreciate some of the changes that have come along. I so enjoy keeping in touch with people on Facebook. I get to see pictures right after they are taken. I get to learn of the latest news within the family, without waiting for a letter or phone call. If I don't want to share something with the world, I can private message them anytime night or day, and not worry about disturbing anyone with a ringing phone.

There is, of course, a down side to all this progress. Hurtful people can spread vicious gossip to millions with just a few strokes on the keyboard. Pictures can be circulated that were intended to be for one specific person. There are those who keep a journal (kinda like a diary) and end up having it viewed on the six o' clock news. There is way more information floating around than any of us should know about.

I guess I am lucky to have grown up in a world that was so uncomplicated. But on the other hand I feel privileged to have lived long enough to see a lot of wonderful changes as well. When I play with my great-granddaughter I often wonder what kind of world she will grow up in, and what incredible things will happen in her lifetime.