Guest column | Mary Partington

Today's progress is tomorrow's nostalgia

Recently I received two invitations on the same day. One was for my granddaughter's high school graduation ceremony and the other was for the reunion gathering of my high school graduation class. When I looked at my granddaughter's graduation ceremony program I realized we share the last number in the year for our graduations. I am having a hard time admitting how many years it really has been since I sat in a cap and gown waiting for my name to be called.

I cannot recall the exact number of students in my class but I am sure it was not more than 40. I joined the class in the middle of the fifth grade and I was always the new girl.

When my granddaughter looks to the future and adds my years out of high school to 2009 she sees a long and unknown stretch of time.

I glimpse the many exciting and wonderful opportunities and challenges that will make up her life. I also know she will face many trials and frustrations. As her grandmother I wish her only sunshine and joys.

Looking back, I can recall so many heartbreaking events. I was rocking my granddaughter's mother when the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy broke our hearts. That devastating event was followed five years later by the deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I watched cities burning and listened to the antiwar protests. Veterans returning from a war that they had not made were shunned. We all cringed as we watched a president wave goodbye as he left office in shame.

Men landed on the moon. Vaccines have made some childhood diseases a thing of the past. Heart transplants and now face transplants make lives better.

Dishwashers and microwaves were special additions to your household. Today they are standard equipment in any kitchen. The princess push-button phone and a 20-foot cord made talking on the phone a pleasure.

Computers have gone from gigantic to minute. Does anyone remember DOS? My first cell phone was so big it would not fit in my purse. When we bought a new car the cell phone had to be installed and I had to decide where to put the antenna.

This is not the first time gasoline prices have made driving expensive. At one point the amount we paid monthly for gas for our family fleet of cars was more than our house payment.

When I graduated from high school my gift was a transistor radio about the size of paperback book. My granddaughter received a digital videocamera smaller than my radio. She will be able to make her own videos and download them to her Apple computer and then upload her videos to the Internet.

I can contact her by text message or poke her on Facebook. I don't e-mail her as it is passe. Twitter is a little beyond me but I am trying.

It is easy to recall the past and hard to imagine the future. I wonder what lies ahead for her and for our country. The perils to our world are great. In 2019 will we be leaner and greener? What kind of cars will we be driving in 2029? In 2039 will every household produce its own electrical power? Will Florida still be on the map in 2049 and beyond?

The reunions of the Class of 2009 are going to be remarkable.

Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey.

Today's progress is tomorrow's nostalgia 06/28/09 [Last modified: Sunday, June 28, 2009 5:30am]

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