The Lost Art Of Many Things

Benjamin Haas |

The older I get I find myself missing things from my younger days.  I guess it is natural to remember and want for those simpler times in life. I know for many of you reading this, the world has evolved over your lifetime much more than me, but there are still those experiences that I miss simply because we no longer need to do them anymore due to technology. 

Here are a few of things that I consider lost art:

  1. Photo albums. Unfortunately, last summer a close family friend passed away.  She was in her 90’s and had a large extended family.  At her funeral, they displayed many, many photo albums that were made together throughout the years.  Almost every picture had a caption, a date, and a memory that was hand-written next to the picture.  Not every picture was the “perfect” picture in today’s standards, but it felt more special to me in a sense.  The pictures captured the realness of emotions, reactions, spontaneity, and raw togetherness.  You only got that one chance to take the picture.  No thousand re-do’s, different angles, filters, or crops.  Getting the picture developed was a process too. You had to go to the store, wait a few weeks, and anxiously open the package to see how they turned out.  Most times you’d get together with friends and family to organize the pictures, display them, and many times laugh at how a few turned out.
  2. Handwriting.  By no means was my handwriting ever “perfect”, but I could write in print or cursive with ease.  My creative mind just flowed on the paper.  My friends and I passed around our journal, capturing monumental happenings.  We drew doodles, cut out magazines, and wrote notes to each other.  We recently paged through this at a get together and had a bunch of good laughs.  I doubt we’ll be going back 20 years from now looking through texts with friends and family.  Now every time I try to write it feels like a chore and I most definitely shouldn’t write with a pen because there’s no erasing capability.
  3. Mix tapes.  I’m not even going to get into the debate of when was the last good era of music was. Instead, my argument is more over the ease of accessibility.  Now we get in the car and my kids have their playlist on Spotify.  There is no need to change stations or seek for one that will come in.  You can skip songs or replay with a simple push of a button.  I recently witnessed this at our high school basketball game. The sound quality was impeccable with smooth transitions between songs.  Back in my day a bunch of us gathered around in my bedroom to listen to the radio, a tape, or a CD to try and time the exact moment when to stop recording it.  That wasn’t the only hurdle.  Static and sound quality varied so you could have one song that needed to be played on 10-volume, while the next song needed to be turned up to 20 or you may need to tape over a song entirely.  It was a legitimate competition on who could make the “perfect” mix tape.  We often remind our kids that they will never know the struggles of collecting our playlists.
  4. A phone was just that.  A thing that you used to call your friends.  It hung on the wall in the kitchen and if you were lucky, you had a cordless phone that you could take to your bedroom for privacy.  You used to have to call and ask if your friend was there and if you could talk to them.  This meant that you needed to be polite to their parents and actually have a conversation with them sometimes.  It also made it really awkward once you started dating
  5. TV.  I remember going through the TV Guide and circling the shows I wanted to watch. You planned your week around that. There was also a crossword puzzle in the back that was challenging and fun too.  TV had commercials. My kids didn’t even know what commercials were until recently.  It was just before Christmas so that was fun to see them discuss what they liked and wanted to add to their list.  I miss waiting for the next episode to come out.  There was so much good discussion and reflection on the previous episode – what did we think was going to happen next? And again, the quality wasn’t great.  I love watching old sporting events and wondering how I ever used to know who a player was.

I mentioned the word perfect in most of these.  The best part was that they were perfectly imperfect.  My hope is that I can relive a few of these moments in my life and introduce them to my children so they don’t truly become lost.  My daughter and I have plans to keep a handwritten journal of our upcoming vacation.  We will design a cover for it and cut out pictures once we get back.  I’ll continue keeping photo albums of many of my photos so they can physically be passed down for generations to come.  We will listen to the radio when I drive. 

I’d love to hear about those things that you miss or try to keep alive in your lives.


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