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Following things to the letter?

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After my disaster of an attempt to educate myself in my 40's came to an end last year I threw myself back into writing. The therapy it gave is uncountable. I took nothing from that course, except one horrible realisation: modern technology is wonderful, but it also responsible for the demise of many arts that most of the generations before the nineties took joy in participating.

One of them is letter-writing. A project given to us during class was to write a letter. Handwritten on a sheet of nicely-decorate notepaper. It was merely an exercise to re-iterate the fact that not everything needs to be completed through the use of modern technology, like using a computer mouse or keyboard. It took me about ten minutes to write a fictional letter to my Grandmother who had recently broken her ankle and become a great grandmother in the same week! It wasn't hard to write and I finished with time to spare. So I sat back and observed:most of my classmates couldn't finish the exercise.

"How many of you have handwritten a letter?" the tutor asked. I noticed a miniscule of classmates raise their hands.
Anyway, my character has found a secret hoard of personal letters and can't possibly comprehend that only thirty years ago this was the only way many could maintain contact long distance.

So, I guess my question is: what "skills" of the generations pre-00's have been lost in the new Millennium?
Sorry for the longwinded post. It's a trait of mine, as most of you know! :ha
#1 - July 11, 2017, 08:19 AM
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 08:24 AM by thunderingelephants »

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Thundering, it's so true, this loss of the art of the letter. I taught my kids cursive writing because it was "optional" in their public schools. They had a hard time reading Grandma's letters and that's when it became a non-negotiable.

I'm not sure about skills lost specifically to millennials but I lament the loss of the home arts -- gardening, cooking, canning, other types of food preservation, sewing, making music for entertainment. I've managed to teach my children the basics and I'm happy to see them exploring these things on their own now that they are older, and they are discovering that perhaps these old-fashioned things are really useful to know.
#2 - July 11, 2017, 09:13 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
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Ahh...Vijaya: I'm reminiscing already.
This is a thread that will either annoy people or get them thinking.
A few things for me: taping. That was always an experience for me. My father religiously bought vinyl records and recorded them onto cassette. The records were barely ever played again.
Thinking about it, is really only twenty five years ago when people didn't have mobile phones, few had cd players and a flat screen TV was inconceivable.
I still have a TV in my room with only one speaker and a headphone jack!
#3 - July 11, 2017, 09:43 AM

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Oh yes! And 8-tracks for recording music.  This reminds me, I need to digitize some of the recordings. I have a tape of my mother laughing in the background and it's like silver.

#4 - July 11, 2017, 01:31 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
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Signatures! Cursive writing being "optional", how do kids sign for things now? (Digitally, I suppose).
Sewing on buttons, fixing things in general, perhaps gardening in some cases (eg growing food), maybe ironing (I don't iron)
#5 - July 11, 2017, 03:55 PM
My Australia - National Library of Australia (April 2018)
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink (August 2018)

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Julie, I don't iron either :)
#6 - July 11, 2017, 06:03 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
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I'm 48, but I never learned to sew really. I can do a seam or a button, but I didn't get sewing in school. My kids get it in seventh grade. I do have friends who can sew for real. I also never canned anything in my life. My neighbor does though (in suburban New York). I do cook. (Food Network, enough said.) And even my kids play music for entertainment. They sing constantly.

My kids also write thank you notes by hand. My daughter has also written formal job application letters. They do both have trouble reading script. I do believe that's a lost art. The signature on an electronic pad never looks like the real thing anyway (and can be reused if the system gets hacked, so they have your card and your signature.) Even I sign e-mailed contracts digitally.

I think my point is that some of these "lost arts" are alive and well in specific spots in specific families. Others are being made obsolete by technology, but they may come back like vinyl records.

Don't count them out yet.
#7 - July 11, 2017, 09:33 PM

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Thanks for this, guys.
The Grandparent is about sixty, just two years younger than my mother, so I had better watch myself.
We had sewing classes in school and some of the girls (I attended all-girls) actually took an exam in needlecraft. I imagine that's gone bythe wayside with the invention of "magic hem tape" and haberdashers.

Anyway, this is a pet project because my mc in wip is driving me crackers.
It's good to be refamiliarising myself with many lost skills.
#8 - July 12, 2017, 12:25 AM

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Magic hem tape? *scurries off to investigate* 
#9 - July 12, 2017, 06:29 AM

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Magic hem tape? *scurries off to investigate* 

Are you refamiliarising yourself or have you never heard of it? Here's a link anyway, to feed your curiosity.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/1b3/Iron-SEWING-HEMMING-TAPE-wonder-Household-Heaven/B01H2SRQ5E
#10 - July 12, 2017, 08:12 AM

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Magic hem tape? *scurries off to investigate* 

Haha! A necessity for every Catholic school girl. My daughter obtained some, from a friend, I'm sure, because I don't use it.
#11 - July 12, 2017, 10:31 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
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Haha! A necessity for every Catholic school girl. My daughter obtained some, from a friend, I'm sure, because I don't use it.

Aaah. All catholic girls' school in the 1990's, Vijaya. The skirts were allowed above your calves. But the girls tried!
#12 - July 12, 2017, 11:25 AM

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I majored in photography in college but I rarely ever take photos anymore.  I loved working in the darkroom but these days I've gotten rid of most of my cameras.  I still take photos on my smart phone, but I rarely do "photoshoots" anymore, where I go out with the express purpose of taking photographs.  I know photography isn't outdated, but it just doesn't feel the same anymore to me. 

I have some friends in Japan that I try to write physical letters to when I can.  Otherwise I forget how to write the Japanese script.  (These days the computer automatically converts English letters to Japanese characters.)  On the other hand, technology has definitely enhanced my language study (Duolingo is great!)
#13 - July 12, 2017, 02:43 PM

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Julie, I don't iron either :)

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Vijaya!
I love magic hem tape, as well as those iron on patches for holes in the knees of pants (although they're trendy now, aren't they?).
Two other things I thought of are knitting and crocheting. As Debbie said, these arts will be retained in some families, but are on the whole being lost, I think.
#14 - July 12, 2017, 04:28 PM
My Australia - National Library of Australia (April 2018)
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink (August 2018)

www.juliemurphybooks.com

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Good one, Sophie! It wasn't that long ago that Grandma told the grandkids they owed her a quarter for every silly face when she wanted a good family picture.

I spent hours in the darkroom too, not as a photographer, but as a scientist tracking radioactive molecules. Film is still used after separation of molecules to *see* them.
#15 - July 12, 2017, 06:31 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
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I think photography is a great example of a much changed art. Everyone can take a thousand pictures to get that one spectacular one. And lighting etc. can be adjusted digitally. No need to have the perfect moment.
#16 - July 12, 2017, 08:35 PM

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Myself and John moved in together in 1996 and I remember the first place we went to see. It was a stunning house we would be sharing with two other men and two huge bedrooms for us. There was one clause: no house phone. I have epilepsy and back then it was bad. I needed access to a phone, but the boys wouldn't budge.
I was shocked when I learned that they both had mobile phones and we both had only one thought: how much money are these men earning to own a mobile phone?
I agree about photos also.
Does anyone remember polaroids? Mum & I were clearing out some stuff and she gave me a photo, probably taken 1993, judging by the ages of my cousins. It's cringe-worthy-perms were all the fashion in the eighties and nineties and I had a shocking one!
#17 - July 13, 2017, 12:37 AM

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I just threw out my old Polaroid One Step camera. My first camera was a Polaroid.
#18 - July 13, 2017, 07:50 AM

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A cringe-worthy polaroid!
#19 - July 13, 2017, 08:09 AM

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I don't sew and I'm semi-retired from cooking.  ;D  But I still write thank-you letters! 

I think parents are the ones who get the kids started on that road. I remember "writing" a thank you to my grandmother before I could even write. Just a bunch of what looked like a series of waves or unbridled W's. But I was very proud of that note! And of course my grandmother loved it. I now have the scrapbook in which she kept that letter, along with many others.
#20 - July 13, 2017, 08:15 AM

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A cringe-worthy polaroid!


I love it!  I remember having shoeboxes full of polaroids all throughout my teen years.   

I still remember my family's first digital camera.  It was about the size and weight of a brick and it used floppy discs.  That camera was what really got me interested in photography.
#21 - July 13, 2017, 09:27 AM

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There are a lot of skills that have gone by the wayside.

Actually, one thing myself and John were discussing is the lost of physical media, like printed photos, CDs and floppy disks. He said a lengthy conversation in college they discussed the issue of the demise of printed formulae like newspaper, music, magazines, books, comics and so on is really bothering historians. And then we're back to the craft of letter-writing. It's almost a novelty these days.
#22 - July 13, 2017, 09:41 AM

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Oh yes. Historians won't have much to go by because nothing is archived as it was. Digital archives are dependent on power. (Older archives just had to be kept out of fire and flood, although space can be an issue.) We still print our photos and put them in albums, but very few people do. I also still have records, tapes, CDs and something to play them on. I even have a working VCR, but for how long?
#23 - July 14, 2017, 07:09 AM

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Oh yes. Historians won't have much to go by because nothing is archived as it was. Digital archives are dependent on power. (Older archives just had to be kept out of fire and flood, although space can be an issue.) We still print our photos and put them in albums, but very few people do. I also still have records, tapes, CDs and something to play them on. I even have a working VCR, but for how long?

I can relate to a lot of that, Debbie.
In our house is a video machine with video cassettes but since the machine is broken, we can't watch them. The videos aren't films, they are soccer matches that John recorded between the late eighties and early noughties. There must be four or five hundred tapes, neatly stacked in his room, just inside the door. It's quite a feat trying to get in there without sending them crashing. I know videos are still around but with digital media the way it is, how long before kids will be asking what a video is?

Download and streaming is wonderful, but there's nothing better than the vinyl record cover. I'm only 44, but my Dad is a hoarder of both books and vinyl records. He must have around 3000 books in his apartment and an equal number of records.
He refuses a Kindle offer! :uhuh
#24 - July 14, 2017, 11:44 AM

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I have a kindle and the problem with that is when you misplace it you end up losing all 200 books. We still have piles of books and I think they're here to stay.
#25 - July 14, 2017, 12:23 PM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
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I have a kindle and the problem with that is when you misplace it you end up losing all 200 books. We still have piles of books and I think they're here to stay.

I actually found a copy of the SCBWI Manual from 2008 during a clearout the other day. It's musty but it's nicer to browse through than scroll down the screen.
#26 - July 14, 2017, 01:45 PM

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