Monday, December 5, 2022


How times change. What’s next?

By Chuck Woodbury

Originally published in April, 2011

I watched an old Hollywood musical the other night, “Meet Me In St. Louis” starring Judy Garland. The 1944 movie was set in 1903 as St. Louis prepared to host the World’s Fair.

In one scene, the family is gathered around the dinner table when Judy Garland’s older sister receives a phone call from a boyfriend in New York City (see photo). The phone, of course, is a very early model. As the young couple talks, he says to her in a gee-whiz kinda tone, “Isn’t it something — here I am in New York and I’m talking to you in St. Louis!”

That would have been 108 years ago. I chuckled because it was less than a year ago, after my daughter had moved into her dorm room in New York City, that during a video chat I said something similar (or at least thought it): “Isn’t it amazing that here I am in Seattle and you’re in New York and it’s almost like we are in the same room?”

During my webcast last Saturday, I talked about how, about 10 years ago, I was amazed when I was first able to access the Internet in my RV at a campground. I would just plug my cell phone into my laptop computer: the connection was far slower than dial up yet it seemed like a miracle to simply get online.

By then, using a cellular phone for talking was old hat. My first trip with one was in 1994, when I carried a big ol’ bag phone. I had to register and pay a fee each time I entered a new city. Still, it seemed amazing.

Today, I can make and receive phone calls from anywhere for a flat monthly fee. And even more remarkable to me is that I can access the internet at broadband speed, too, also for a flat fee. On my extended motorhome trip around the USA last summer, I was able to access the Internet almost everywhere. In the evenings, I would visit with friends using video chat: it made me feel very less alone.

Back in 1903, just making a long distance phone call seemed a miracle! Look how far we have come. What’s next?

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