THE WAY I SEE IT: Living through a lifetime of dramatic change
In Apr. 19 issue, Russell County News By Barbara Sharp Zimmerman, Columnist
Recently, I received an email from David Davenport, who was out of town on vacation with his laptop in tow. He mentioned how our fathers would have been amazed to know that you could carry on your business nowadays no matter where on earth you may be – via the Internet.
My Dad was born in 1905, and the changes he witnessed during his lifetime must have been mind-boggling. Back his early days, electricity was a rarity in Jamestown. Telephones didn’t exist. Heck, Dad remembered the first automobile he ever saw when he was a great big boy. He only flew one time in his life – as a passenger in a small airplane over Russell County.
As a young man he experienced radio, then, later, fuzzy black and white television. Then color television via cable. Air-conditioning took the place of cooling drives on hot summer nights. Space exploration began. Men landed on the moon.
When Dad was about 60 years old, he learned how to use a complicated reflex camera and how to process film in a darkroom. He went from an old box camera directly to one that required focusing and setting F-stops and it didn’t seem to bother him at all.
During his lifetime, computers went from being big as a room to the size of a notebook. And not only could you compute massive amounts of information on them, you could even draw on them!
I brought Dad a computer in the mid 1990s, but he never really “got it”, and he didn’t like typing on it – preferring, rather, an old electric typewriter (or was that a manual?). He never got on the Internet. Never sent or received an email. Never had a Facebook page. But he didn’t worry about not being computer savvy; he left that for others and continued on with what was most comfortable for him. He learned how to operate a mimeograph machine and produced the church bulletin and newsletter when he was in his late 80s.
Dad seemed to have an uncanny ability to accept change as it happened, even if he didn’t always embrace it personally. He seemed to be able to assimilate the most astounding developments in the world without batting an eye. I remember being amazed at the brand new, automatic Heidelberg press he bought around 1960. Why, the thing almost ran itself! But Dad set it to work just as if he had always operated such a machine.
Perhaps it was all those science fiction novels he read that made him so adaptable. Perhaps it was his easygoing, accepting manner. Perhaps he had seen so much in his lifetime that nothing had much of an effect on him. Perhaps he was a real renaissance man.
Whatever it was, he was content. He didn’t fight change. He knew it was inevitable.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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Jamestown KY 42629