We got rid of our land line a few months ago. It was a decision we delayed for too long, but it just seemed too weird not to have a phone. We rarely got personal calls. More likely, they were from political pollsters, or someone trying to sell us something or get us to donate to something.

Now we are (almost) ready to cancel our daily paper delivery. This is another tradition that will be hard to leave behind. For as long as I can remember, my family has been getting the daily paper – twice a day when there was still an afternoon paper. I remember both my Uncle and my Dad reading the paper each afternoon before dinner, and my Aunt working all the puzzles after the dishes were washed and put away. Fond memories, for sure, but time move on. The daily newspaper ritual will soon end.

When I was growing up, my Aunt and Uncle owned a small motel, frequented primarily by traveling salesmen. There was an ice box from which the guests got their ice. Every few days, the iceman delivered a huge block of ice, placing it in the box. One had to use an ice pick to chip away at the block of ice. I cannot imagine having such a dangerous implement as an ice pick for all to share today. As a child, there was nothing better than chipping off a big piece of ice on a hot summer day. Then one day, the icebox was replaced by an ice maker. My Uncle must have experienced a bit of sadness as the icebox was carted away.

But I sure was fascinated by that new ice maker!

That feeling is not unlike how I felt when we got our first cell phone. My husband and I shared it for the first couple of years, with the person who was traveling the greatest distance, or having the most compelling need, getting possession of the phone for the day. Now I cannot imagine going anywhere without my phone, or sending any of my family members out in the world without theirs.

I cannot help but get a little sad and nostalgic as these rituals and traditions go by the wayside. I imagine that our ancestors had the same feelings as the milk man lost out to the supermarket or the streetcar gave way to the automobile. (Less nostalgia is presumed from electrification or the advent of indoor plumbing from early in the 20th century.)

I love technology and all that means for our society, but my heart goes out for that old icebox.

What do you miss from times gone by?

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