I remember talking to a lady long ago who had seen a lot during her long live. When she was born, a little invention called the automobile was starting to appear on the pitted and grooved dirt roads. Communication was all done through the United States Post Office Department. Well, that and yelling out the back door that supper was ready. Relationships between the sexes were more formal and outwardly innocent. Entertainment was in the nickelodeon, then the theaters, then radio, then television.

Music was performed live or eventually from a record on a Victrola. News was only available in the newspaper. Then over the years, things changed in mostly every facet of life. When she was born, cars were in their infancy. When she died, man had walked on the moon. It was a great change in the span of a lifetime.

But let’s look at the changes we’ve seen recently. Over the past half a century or so, think of the changes we’ve seen. I remember watching thick, black billows of smoke roll from the smokestacks of factories. Now, the government would have a factory like that closed down in a heartbeat.

When I was a kid, a cigarette vending machine was commonplace. So were pay phones at ten cents a call. Tattoos were only seen on the arms of retired servicemen. Eating out at a restaurant was a special treat, not a drive through the line to pay and get food shoved out the window to you.

Radio had gone from network entertainment to musical entertainment. Music even played on AM radio, after all, there wasn’t much of anything on FM radio. Today, they talk all the time on AM and music is on FM, except for those who listen to radio from a satellite that covers the whole country and doesn’t fade out under bridges or get full of static during a summer thunderstorm.

Speaking of weather, have you noticed that forecasts are more accurate these days? Sure, they’re not perfect, but they are predicting the future with a much higher accuracy rate thanks to all the progress in technology and the additional knowledge from studying years of data have paid off. It’s really rare that the meteorologist will call for an 85-degree day and you will swear you see snow flurries. Don’t laugh, it happened to me when I was a kid.

But let’s face it, the changes are coming even more fast and furious now. Remember popping popcorn over a burner on the stove? The Jiffy Pop foil stretched into an aluminum foil chef’s hat and then it was time to eat. When I was in college, everyone had a hot air popper that blew popped kernels through some melted butter and into a bowl. These days, you throw a bag into the microwave oven and add salt. That microwave is used for nearly everything from baking potatoes to heating that cup of coffee for breakfast.

Then there’s the computer. I shouldn’t have to talk to convince you that’s the biggest change of all. What, don’t believe me? What time is it? Now, did you look at your wristwatch or a clock on the wall? No, you looked at that little pocket computer that has a telephone jammed inside it.

You think your grandparents would have understood that a phone can tell time? For that matter, do you really think your grandparents would have believed you if you had told them that without a major drought, real life people would pay a buck and a half for a bottle of water? They would have smacked you up side the head with a stick! Crazy kid, anyway…

I believe during my half century-plus on this planet I’ve seen more change than any other generation. What truly convinced me of that is moving my sons into a house about a mile from their college campus. One of the perks for me moving off campus was getting cable television instead of using aluminum foil wrapped around the set’s rabbit ears.

My boys called what I thought was the cable company, but they didn’t want cable TV. They simply wanted an Internet connection. Anything we might want to see on TV, they watch on the Internet. Time marches on.

Today, a phone book was delivered to my office. While years back I would have been grateful for an updated version of the telephone directory, today, I told them to take it on down the hall or just throw it away. If I need a business’ phone number, I’ll look them up on the Internet. Besides, so many private citizens, like myself, have disconnected the land line anyway and the cell numbers aren’t in a phone book.

See how much change we’ve lived through? And often times we don’t even realize what groundbreakers we are. We are at the dawn of many life changes — some good, some bad. We have seen advances that our grandparents never dreamed of. But we still don’t all drive jetpacks. Why not? This is the future! They told us we’d all have jet packs, not cars you have to plug in at night. Living at the vanguard of history isn’t always what it was supposed to be cracked up to be.