Friday, 3 June 2011

''The Good Old Days; Times they are A'changing.'

I've only just mastered the light switch so I've no chance with anything remotely technical. (Talking of 'remotes', I can work one, just, but can't find things like teletext. And that's on the few occasions I can physically find the darn thing. It's all my wife's fault; it always is! Strange really, because the remote is mine after all. All remotes belong to the men, ladies, didn't you know!)



But I digress. I got to thinking how technical the world has become, particularly concerning toys since I was a child. I spent a weekend in the Yorkshire Dales with a camping group from Leeds. Lovely scenery; fantastic people. But the children's antics fascinated me. One young lad in particular had his eyes glued to his Nintendo, not the scenery for the entire weekend. Amazing but not over surprising. My grandson, extremely bright, has to be prised away from his on occasion. Even my wife has one. They claim they keep the mind in good shape and who am I to argue. (I don't even have a mobile phone. Thirty pounds for the phone, that's good you say. Ah, but how much is the cable. You don't tell me that, I bet it's expensive!) But I do wonder sometimes if our mental development was held back because we lived in much simpler times.

Do you remember 'Pocket Simon'. An early 'computer' game dating back to around 1980. My, doesn't it look dated now but how 'with it' it was when it came out.
A favourite saying of many children today is 'I'm bored.' Hundreds of TV channels, Wii's, computer programmes on offer but ''I'm bored.' I look at the 'Jack in the Box' on my shelf and I wonder. I wonder if the modern offerings give as much pleasure and excitement as old 'Tom and Jerry'. Modern children would probably find it repetitive, limited in appeal. They would probably be 'bored' within minutes, if not seconds. I'm not often one for nostalgia but at times I do wonder. Perhaps they were 'the good old days' after all. What was your favourite toy and what fascinated you when you were young, perhaps all those years ago.

24 comments:

CWMartin said...

I made superheroes out of anything from self-drawn paper figures to plastic soldiers to vacuum cleaner attachments...

Pauline said...

Toys? I don't remember any toys. I remember climbing, running, swimming. Oh, perhaps a cricket bat or football could be termed a toy? I was reminded when reading your post of a chat with my son during the week, "Mum do you think there would be an uproar if I let the team play Bull Rush at rugby training. Not one of them knows how to side step and shimmy and I learnt that play Bull Rush." He coaches an Under 16 team. Bull Rush has been banned in schools because it is too rough for our modern children. I think it is a game unique to NZ. A person stands in the middle of the field and calls out a name. The person named has to try to run to the other side of the field without getting tackled. If they get tackled they are in and another person's name is called. If they get to the other side they yell "Bullrush", and everyone runs. I only objection I had to the game when my kids were at school was the number of buttons that were torn off their school shirts. Sorry, I'm rambling.

quilterliz said...

G'day Ken. I can't remember any toys other than a skipping rope and a hula hoop. We lived in the country and it was always too much fun being outside with friends, tearing through the bush, climbing trees, generally making our own fun. Maybe I had the odd doll or two, but my memories are more of being outside. Very different to what a lot of kids do these day I guess, too many others things to keep them amused like the Nintendo or computer etc.Take care. Liz...

martine said...

Spent yesterday afternoon at a birthday party in the park ... for an 18 year old, and the gang of teenagers spent several hours in a totally ordinary playground queueing up to go on a rather brilliant roundabout, the tyre swings and the aerial runway thing (and playing nicely with the littler people too). There is hope:-)
thanks for sharing
martine

slommler said...

I had two favorite toys...a jumping rope and my roller skates!! Ahhh! Those were the days!!
Kids nowadays have no idea! They hardly ever go outside anymore.
A bunch of cave dwellers!!!
Ha!
Hugs
SueAnn

Valerie said...

Goodness, I was never bored. Weather permitting I would be out playing games with the gang, simple ones like hopscotch but moving on to truth, dare or promise. Indoors, after doing my chores, I read, listened to radio plays, played records. It was a good life, but I did quite like technology when it arrived very many years later.

Phil said...

Never fails to make me chuckle and laugh when I roam around in the public domain these days and witness the newly fast emerging ‘look down’ society fumbling around with their mobile’s, tablets, nintendo’s and laptops, blissfully detached and unaware of all and everything that prevails around them in the real world. Eye contact is fast becoming an ancient social culture and a steadily growing in popularity ‘lookup’ phrase on Google. I’m going to ‘tweet-launch’ my book ‘Gazing for Dummies’ by instalments on Twitter.

Adapt, improvise and gaze out more.

K. M. Wert said...

I know that I'm not old, I'm only 24 but this still hits home with me. I am the oldest of 9 children in two seperate homes so no matter whether I'm at my mothers or my fathers, (Or even my house with my 4 year old for that matter) I see the things that kids have now that I was only ever able to dream of. My oldest sibling is 6 years younger than me and the youngest 18 years. My dads oldest boy, 12, simply astounds me with the things he could rattle off. He could have a political conversation with the best of them. He "owns" 4 websites and is solely responsible for the upkeep of them all. However, the kid is a string bean. He's 5'7" (approx.) and maybe 90lbs. Soaking wet. He has hardly any physical exercise cuz he's too busy exercising his brain. Don't get me wrong that's a good thing too but, come on, go outside once in a while. I remember things like Skip-Its and OUTSIDE games like tag, hide-n-seek, and jail-break. I kills me that these kids think they're having so much fun but they don't even know what they're missing.

MattJW said...

You are so right Ken and a great post as ever! As a father of a 4 year old boy I can empathise so much... I recall having a Speak & Spell. I so wish I had kept it as my son is just starting to learn simple words. I wonder if you can still get them?

rhymeswithplague said...

I remember two "favorite" toys, and one of them wasn't really a toy. Well, three, now that I think about it. I had a Slinky that fascinated me, but as we lived in a one-level home we had no stairs for it to descend. I had to construct play stairs: from the desk to the chair to the stool to the ground. The "non-toy" toy (but educational) was a Viewmaster Stereoscope through which I could look at the natural wonders and cities of the earth in 3-D for hours! Lastly, my aunt gave me a "record-player-in-a-valise" that gave me many hours of listening to wonderful music.

Can you tell I was an only child?

And I do remember Simon, Ken! My children has a full-size one, about as big as a Frisbee.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Hi Ken, sorry I have been in cognito for so long - I have been cut off from cyberspace. Phone and Internet not working for 12 days and before that OI have been busy at my daughter's house doing various renovation work. Not bad for an old timer LOL.
Yes, I agree with all you said on your post. The kids today are utterly fantastic with computers, hi tech and games . . . . BUT . . . . they are missing out on the real good things in life. Out door activities with their friends and getting plenty of exercise. And we were satisfied with simple toys as kids. I remember my dad made me a spring driven model steam roller made from syrup tins. It kept me 'good' for ages and I was not bored. Hope you are well Ken and missed coming over ~ Eddie

the fly in the web said...

I can remember being astonished that I could 'phone home from a 'phone box in the wilds of France in the 1970s..and also being astonished that my god daughter was not allowed to play outside her own garden.
I ran wild as a child, on my own or with friends...toys did not figure.

Mark said...

I don't think we were held back by lack of technologic toys, Gameboys and the like.

But I do think he availability of information today is astounding and a wonderful thing. I've watched my boys grow up through the technology revolution, and their discerning use of computers, games, information, databases etc. is (if I say so myself) a model for intelligent young people who want the best from technology but who also appreciate other things in life.

Debbie said...

I was also always outside. As long as we came back for meals nobody worried about us.
I do remember playing with a light bright as a kid and loved it.
I was considered to be a mean mom cause I would only let my kids to watch 1 hr of tv a day and I wouldn't allow any gameboy type toys in the house.
My kids forgave me after they grew up.

Connie in Japan said...

Hello Ken, I'm back! I have missed your posts! We finally got internet and phone here in Japan and now I'm back online! My favorite toy was a sheet tied around my neck- instantly I became batman...or superman...even though I was a girl.

Galen Pearl said...

It does seem like we had more imagination in those good old days. And creativity. However, I was visiting a friend last weekend and had my first Wii experience. I have to say it was lots of fun.

Phil said...

Re: your newest unfinished micro post “May, Marvellous, Maybe. Grumpy's Alternative News. (Which reads:-) Almost everyone knows if you have problems reading words, you might be dyslexic. But did you know having problems with numbers is referred to as suffering from 'dyscalculia.' (According to Brian Butterwort...”

Well Okay Ken…I give up…you’ve got me…I just can’t take it anymore…I’m really on my knees in my cell here begging you now…please please please can you tell us what happened next according to Brian Butterwort??!!! It’s been 19 hours now, my finger nails are all chewed out, and I just can’t hang on any longer…

J. G. K. said...

I was big on silly putty and playdough. I also loved paint, crayons and pretty much anything I could draw with. Video games were outlawed at our house- my mom thought we'd get hooked on them and would neglect other things like schoolwork and going outside...

You can call me Princess said...

Could today's child survive our day? I loved pocket Simon!

An English Shepherd said...

Out and about living a life is best :-)

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Phil
The problem is my lack of tecno skills! I put the post on accidentally for a second. You were quick! See Fridays post and hopefully it will be there!

Phil said...

Dear Mr Grumpy Old Ken. Sir - I am replying on behalf of one of my patients ‘Mr Phil’ who it appears has been in correspondence with you on your blog here recently. In my capacity as a Doctor of Psychiatry and also the ‘Principle’ of the sanatorium where ‘Mr Phil’ has existed as a patient for a great many years, It is my duty to inform you that he has ‘escaped’ our custody yet again, and thus he may well attempt to make contact with you by other means in the coming days. It is vital that we run him to ground as quickly as possible, so, if anyone knocks at your door asking you to donate some fruit for his camel, don’t be taken in by him because in truth we confiscated his camel from him some years ago. He’s quite harmless by the way, but he’s just a bit short on the old jelly bean quota by compared to most everyone else. The video link here shows you what he looked like as of yesterday mornings exercise session with him here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMpXmpGpEF0&feature=related

Star said...

Hello! There seems to be a problem with the link to the May post. I'll check back, later. Thanks for your great blog!

susan said...

If you are still trying to get Teletext don't try anymore. It has been closed down. Only Ceefax remains. My Mother in law used to use it all the time and tell herself it was Ok as it wasn't watching television and was educational...