Thursday, September 3, 2015

Throwback Thursday - An Ordinary Day in 1986

 Sometimes, we don't realize how much things have changed over the years until we remember a day long ago.

Things have changed so much even since April of 2009, when I first started my blog.  I communicated primarily by email, rather than through social media, just as one example.

Now, think back to 1986 and this post from years ago.  It started as just another ordinary day, this day in January, 1986.  But something happened that evening that froze that day in memory.

And what a memory it is, of technology now obsolete, of actions I would never take today.  A world before the Internet.

For Day 3 of the September Blogging challenge on Everyday Gyaan, I present....

An Ordinary Day in 1986

Could I ever live a day like January 21, 1986 again?

I remember so many details of that day because my father died suddenly that evening.  When bad things happen, small details stick in your mind, never to vanish.

It was an unusually warm day.  The high temperature where I lived in Arkansas for the month of January, 1986 was 75.  It may not have been on January 21 but it may have been.  It was sunny, and wonderfully warm.

At lunch, I sat outside, near the office where I worked, and - wrote a letter.

Such an ordinary thing.  This was before the age of the Internet.  People wrote letters to each other  As I recall, the letter was to an aunt, an aunt who never did buy a computer, and who wrote letters to the last day of her life in 2003.

That evening, I got a phone call from my aunt back in Brooklyn that my Dad had been brought to a hospital, he had died in the emergency room and "no one knew why".

That's how you got hold of someone in a hurry in those days. No cell phones, no texting.  You picked up a landline, wired to your home, and called.  In those days, long distance wasn't cheap, either, but it was cheaper than when I was growing up in the 50's and 60's.

I called the airline I knew served our area - on a landline, of course-and booked the next flight to New York City.  I got the number from something called The Yellow Pages.

There was no other way to book a flight, short of turning up at the ticket counter at the airport.

In those days, there was little security on airlines.  You packed your bag, not worried about the contents, got a paper ticket, maybe went through a metal detector after emptying your pockets, and boarded.  I packed, numbly, after calling my boss.  The next day, I flew from Arkansas to New York.

It was such an ordinary day, January 21, 1986.

Today, it would be extraordinary.


  1. Oh Alana! Hugs! I still have relatives who rely on the landline. I can imagine how painful it must be to think back and go into this memory. ♥

  2. Some of us had cellular service for 5 years by then. But, the big difference is that those of us who traveled knew every airline number by heart, the numbers of all our relatives were in the recesses of our brain. Now? If it's not in the memory of our smartphones, we are lost. Because there are no longer even directories (correct ones) that list all the numbers...

  3. It is amazing to think how we all managed to survive without all this modern technology. I know what you mean. I can remember the details of the day my mom and my dad died vividly. Some memories stay with you forever. ♥

  4. You're so right about the small details that you associate with a sad or tragic event.
    I remember when my grandfather passed away in 1980, we couldn't connect with an uncle who was visiting an area where there were no phones! The uncle is a Catholic priest and sadly couldn't make it to preside over his father's last rights. That's the way it was and every one accepted it. These days, every small thing seems to be an emergency with our cell phones and all the connectivity.

  5. I am touched at the poignant account of your loss. It must have been a difficult time for you.
    Technology continues to amaze us even today. Looking back at the pre-internet times, it difficult to fathom as to how we managed to get by our lives for now we hardly take eyes off the cell phone and television.

  6. It really wasn't an ordinary day, was it? I'm sure you still miss him.

    The changes in technology over the last 30 years amaze me. In 1986 my secretary used a word processor, not a PC. And when our office got a fax machine, no one was allowed to touch it because the boss was afraid it would get broken.

  7. Death always hits hard, no matter the technology.

  8. Such a different time back then. People now a days could barely survive!

  9. Oh! Hugs to you. I keep thinking about the facilities or the technological improvements we have today. It's such a boon.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. No words can help you in taking away your loss and pain.

  10. It's amazing how fast things have changed in the world--especially communication. Thank you for giving me a peek into your life back then. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see someone's post from one hundred years ago and compare notes?
    My parents died in the early turn of the century and I remember the numb feeling. I didn't go to their funerals half a world away. I felt so glad I had visited a few years before to say my goodbyes.


Your comments sustain me, as long as they are civil, are on topic, and do not contain profanity, advertising of any kind, links or spam. Any messages not meeting these criteria will immediately be composted, and my flowers will enjoy their contents.