Herald-Journal
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Jan. 10, 2000

What will the 21st century bring?

By OPAL "GRANDMA" HABISCH

Oh, what a wonderful year 2000 is. We don't know what the new year will be like, but I'm sure there are wonderful things that are going to happen.

In my 82 years, I have seen many things change. I remember the first radio. My dad had one. It came from Chicago, Ill, in two pieces: a speaker and a tuner box. It ran on a car battery that sat next to it.

Not many people had cars or car batteries in those days. My dad had a job selling cars, so we were able to have one.

My mother didn't want any of her children to ride in a car because she said it wasn't safe. One day, my dad gave us a ride, and I remember the car made a lot of noise. Now, everyone has a car and we think nothing of it.

When I was young, I never dreamed that one day I would stay home and see a story or play on a television.

Another great invention was the telephone. My grandma always said it was the best thing. She would ring the bells by winding the handle the number of times needed for the neighbor she was trying to call. Grandma's number was three long rings.

When the phone rang, it rang in everybody's home. So if they were very careful, the neighbors could lift up the receiver and listen to everyone's phone conversations. Of course it was not a nice thing to do, but everybody did it anyway.

If the phone conversation was something the listener was interested in, they would speak right up and put their "two cents" in. Sometimes, there were five or six neighbor ladies talking together on the same phone call. The men used to say that their wives would talk on the phone all day and never get any work done.

For emergencies, it was one long, long ring. Everybody would run to their phone and find out what was wrong, then they would rush over to the neighbor needing help and offer a helping hand. In those days, the neighbors helped and needed each other, and they were real good friends. Now, people call their doctor or the drug store, not their neighbor.

Maybe someday, you will see people fly with their own little air pack, similar to the book bag you carry on your shoulders now.

And when you make a phone call, maybe you will be able to see the person that you are talking to on a screen.

The young people of today will be the ones that will make these dreams come true. It is certainly exciting to be living in the 21st century.


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