Saturday, February 26, 2011

Technology: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Geneabloggers is hosting 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.

What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood? What types of technology to you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid?

I think the two things that stand out in my mind from my childhood are the changes in phones and washing machines. 
We had only one phone in our house in Whitestone New York, a black rotary phone.  Our # was FL-23863.  The FL stood for Flushing.  When we moved to Florida we had a party line for awhile.  We never had more than one phone in our home.  So as a teenager I had to sit in the kitchen to talk on the phone there was no privacy for teenage chatter. 

Both my husband & I like a phone in easy reach.  We have one by our computers, by my sewing machine and by his TV chair.  It took me a long time to talk him into cordless.  His phone by his desk is wired as is the one in the kitchen.  He doesn't like how they are never where they should be.  I of course like the freedom to move around and I use a head set at home so I can be doing things with my hands. 

We both like our cell phone but I didn't have one until 2005 when I started driving into Phoenix to work and my transportation was not the most reliable.   Now we both have Droids which are really like hand held computers. 

Now the washing machine, I really love the
improvement on those.  Yes my mother did our laundry in Whitestone on one of these.  The poor woman worked hard to do our laundry.  First she had to carry it from the top two floors to the basement.  Then she had to wash it in this tub with the soap, wring it out, I am not sure if there was a motor for the wringer or a crank.  I am sure she had watch the time for this since it didn't have cycles. Than she had to manually drain the tub, full it with rinse water to rinse the cloths, wring the cloths out again and carry them damp and heavy up to the second floor to hang them out on the cloths line. 

When we moved to Florida in 1959 she did have an automatic washer, that must have been a big improvement but she did not have a drier until 1962 or so.  She only had to carry the cloths from the car port in front of the house to the back of the house until she had her drier. 

The other big changes I have seen are as a nurse.  When I was first a nursing student in 1965 there were still glass syringes.  The needles had to be sent to Central supply to be sharpened and sterilized to be used again.  I can remember the plastic syringes and disposable needles when they came out.  IV fluids were always in glass bottles.  You were very careful not to drop on of those. 

But for the patient I think the torture item to beat all was the cold metal bed pan or urinal.  Most of the ones I used were stainless steel but I remember a few of these.  We tried to warm they up with hot water but that didn't always work.  And oh what a clatter they made if they were dropped in the middle of the night.

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