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typewriter sound
Published By Beth Lueders on June 28, 2016

Time rolls on and takes with it certain sounds of each generation. For those in America’s pioneer days, common sounds included covered wagons rolling over the terrain. Fast forward a few decades and Model A cars projected familiar tones. For today’s baby boomers and older seniors, time has faded a number of everyday noises and tones.

Right at Home invites you down an auditory lane to the commonplace sounds of growing up in America before the 1980s. Here are a few nostalgic intonations from yesteryear that may be music to the ears:

  • Typewriters — Long before mobile devices and wireless keyboards, many a newspaper journalist, secretary, war correspondent and office worker clacked away at typewriter keys. Don’t forget the zip of the carriage or the rip of the paper from the roller.
  • Rotary-dial telephones — With today’s touchscreen phones and Siri and Cortana dialing for you, may you not forget the whirl and spin of the desktop rotary phone and the twisting of those curled-tight cords.
  • Cash registers — Buying penny candy at the drug store or malts at the drive-in restaurant always elicited a cha-ching and slide-close drawer unlike today’s self-check lanes with blip-beep barcode scanners.
  • Hand-crank pencil sharpeners — Electronic pencil sharpeners speed things up but cannot replace the exercise of turning the handle on an old-school No. 2 pencil sharpener (a great stall tactic by students who insisted their pencil was too dull to take a test).
  • Diamond needles on vinyl records — Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, the Supremes and Ella Fitzgerald thank you for the countless hours listening to them via 33 LP (long play), 45 (single) and 78 rpm vinyl records before iTunes® was only a twinkle in Steve Jobs’s eye.

Considering all of the modern, take-anywhere conveniences of smartphones, computer tablets, digital surfing and earbuds, perhaps the greatest sound of days gone by is simply this: silence.

What sounds do you miss from your growing-up days?

An award-winning journalist who has documented stories in nearly 20 countries, Beth Lueders is an author, writer and speaker who frequently reports on diverse topics, including aging and health issues for both U.S. and international corporations.


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