Another year has almost come and gone. Back many years ago, I thought the saying “the older you get the faster time goes by” sounded crazy, but I really do feel that way these days. It seems like I only just started writing the year as 2017 and now it’s already time to start writing 2018. I don’t know how you feel about it, but it does seem as though the year has flown by like a bird in the wind. It certainly couldn’t be because I’m getting old, right?
I think what we consider to be “old age” must be affected by our age at the time because my grandparents always seemed old to me. However, it seemed to be different with my parents because they really didn’t seem old to me until a few years before they died. I suppose age is a mind thing anyway because I’ve known people who never acted like they ever got old. I had a client many years ago who I only saw once a year and she never seemed to age from year to year. The last time I remember seeing her she was in her 90s and had just walked a marathon. She seemed spry like a young chicken and had the mindset that she could still do anything she wanted to do. Like I’ve heard before “you’re only as old as you feel.”
Webster’s describes age as “the time that a person or a thing has existed since birth” and then another definition is “the condition of being old; old age/wearied with age.” I don’t know about you but that second one makes me tired just to read it!
Spending time on Christmas Day with my grandchildren makes me realize how I’ve aged since those days of simple toys like we had back when I was a child. I believe I was around 9 years old when my brothers and I got a record player together at Christmas. Do you remember those days of 45s and 78s that you put on a little portable record player with the needle on it that dropped down to play those records? Well, just to show you how times have changed, this year my 9- and 10-year-old granddaughters had their own YouTube video of them opening their presents for Christmas.
One of my early childhood Christmas memories is about getting an Annie Oakley cowgirl skirt, vest and hat, along with a holster and two cap pistols. I went around for days wearing that outfit. I’d draw out those cap pistols and say: “I’m the fastest gun in the west” or “Bang, bang! You’re dead, I quit.” Nowadays, with all the violence that has happened which involved guns, people hesitate to even mention a gun — even if we’re only talking about a cap pistol. I don’t really know what happened to those innocent days that were depicted in the old westerns on TV like “The Lone Ranger” and Roy Rogers. My husband and I recently discovered the Cowboy Network and I’ll bet they pretended to shoot their guns hundreds of times in their chase scenes but nobody ever seemed to die. It was all just done in the name of entertainment and I for one was entertained and still am.
When I was 6 years old, or thereabouts, my family got our first TV We were the first ones on our block to get a TV and it was fascinating for us and our extended family to watch that black and white screen. Years later, when those black and white screens changed to color, I thought that was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I remember the first program I saw in color was “Bonanza” and all that wonderful western scenery was a sight to behold. Then when I saw Michael Landon sitting astride that paint horse, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
It’s a lot different for our grandchildren today because they don’t even watch TV unless they’re at our house. What they normally use the TV for is to play games.
Another thing that has really changed over the years is telephones. Most of us senior citizens remember those black phones where you had to dial the number. And I’ll never forget party lines where everybody had they own special ring — such as two longs or two shorts. The worst thing about party lines was the ability for others to listen in on your conversations. I really didn’t like having to wait for someone else who was on your line to finish up their conversation before you could use your phone. Some of those other people might talk for hours and while they had the line tied up, your own phone was practically useless to you.
These days everybody has a cellphone and they can use them anytime, anywhere, just so long as they’re able to pay their bill. I know it’s awfully convenient to have a phone handy at all times, but sometimes it can really be annoying when you’re trying to carry on a conversation with someone who keeps answering their phone every time it rings. Since I’ve gotten older, whenever I’m talking I seem to easily lose my chain of thought — and if I get interrupted by someone answering their phone, I’ll never be able to remember what I was talking about before that phone rang.
I have lots of memories of years gone by as well as good memories of events in this past year. As we sing “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight on Dec. 31, I pray that the year 2018 will be a good year for you and yours as well as a good year for The United States of America!
Azalea R. Bolton is a resident of Richmond County, member of the Richmond and Anson County Historical Societies and co-author of the book “Just Passing Time Together.”