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Ten Things of Thankful: Looking Back Edition

John and I outside the Seattle Temple on our wedding day.

Let's take a look back, shall we? Thirty-three years ago, two young people got married and began a life of adventure. While the love and adventure remain, so much has changed in the world since that time. Today's Ten Things of Thankful will either be a walk down memory lane, or a history lesson, depending on your point of view age. 

1. Every so often, after carefully saving our money, we would decide to go out to a "sit-down" restaurant. As we were greeted by the host or hostess, we would be asked, "Smoking or non-smoking?" We always chose non-smoking. I'm thankful that the haze of public places is now a thing of the past. 

2. Living in a new state, miles away from extended family and friends, meant that communication had to be long-distance. Calling someone meant using a phone physically plugged into the phone jack. When to call and how long to talk had to be carefully considered, because calls (other than those within a very small local-calling area) were charged by the minute, and weekdays cost more than weekends, evenings, or late-nights. I'm thankful that communication is so much easier and less expensive now.

3. Although John had graduated from college and was working, I finished up my degree during the first couple of years of our marriage. I wrote papers using a typewriter--or sometimes, the Apple IIc computer, because word processing was so much easier than using a typewriter, even though my typewriter model was an advanced one with correction tape built-in. If I used the computer, I printed my papers with a dot-matrix printer, and had to carefully tear the paper along the perforations to remove the strips with the holes in them. I'm thankful for the advances in printing. I can now wirelessly send documents and even photos to my printer, and can print on a variety of papers.

4. Speaking of photos, cameras back in the day held actual rolls of film, which needed to be sent out to be developed, unless you had a Polaroid or access to a dark room. A roll of film only held 12, 24, or 36 photos, so it was necessary to decide whether a particular shot was going to be worth taking or not. If you wanted to take a photo indoors, you needed to have an unused flashbulb, if you didn't happen to have a new, fancy camera with a built-in flash. Of course, by the time you got the photos developed (often months after starting the roll), if a particular photo didn't turn out, it was too late to get another, better, one. I'm thankful for ubiquitous digital cameras that take photos and record video and allow for instant feedback. I can take hundreds of shots for the same price as one, and then decide which ones I should print.

5. A family friend happened to have a video camera in 1987, and he recorded our wedding reception. My little brother somehow managed to nab the recorder, though, and started filming the cute toddler son of one of my friends. John and I have titled the video: John and Kristi's Wedding Reception, or in Other Words, Benjamin's First Wedding Reception. It's OK, though. We love that it is real. No fancy music or beautiful cinematography, just raw footage. And one of my favorite things about the whole video is that every time my dad's mom got into range of the camera, she would warn everyone around, in her not-so-quiet voice,  "That thing picks up sound, too!" I'm thankful to have video (and audio) recordings of loved ones--something that wasn't always as common as it is today.

6. When John and I got married, I found myself living in a large metropolitan area for the first time in my life. One city melted into another, with no open space. Every so often, when I just couldn't take it any longer, we would get in the car and drive and drive and drive until we found a cow pasture. I've never owned a cow in my life, but I grew up surrounded by pastures and fields, and just needed to see something other than buildings. John would drive. I would navigate, using a book of maps called the Thomas Guide. When we were driving roads near cow pastures, navigating using the Thomas Guide wasn't too bad. However, I remember one evening when using the Thomas Guide correctly was particularly stressful. We were headed home from the Los Angeles Temple, and decided (naively) to not just hop on the freeway, but to meander south and find someplace to eat dinner. The further we drove, the sketchier the neighborhoods looked. As the sun started setting, we realized that we didn't exactly blend in with the people on the streets. Racial tensions were high in Los Angeles in the late 1980's, and we came to the conclusion that stopping for dinner wasn't the best idea. John's instructions to me, as he handed me the Thomas Guide: "Figure out where we are in relation to Watts, and direct us away from Watts." The evening ended without incident, but I'm thankful that GPS now allows us to navigate without the need for paper maps.

7. Our first apartment was a ground-floor unit in a building that held only two apartments: ours, and the one above ours. A middle-aged couple from Poland lived above us. He was a university professor, and they had fled Poland when given the choice of leaving or imprisonment, due to their support of Solidarity, the Polish freedom movement. In retrospect, I wish we had spent more time with them and learned more of their story. At the time, it just seemed to be how life was then. We had no clue in 1987 that in just a few short years, the Iron Curtain would crumble, the Berlin Wall would come down, and the Cold War would end. In South Africa, apartheid would end, and Nelson Mandela would be released. While there are, of course, many notable examples of disasters, both natural and man-made, that cause sudden change with negative repercussions, it is good to remember that not all change is negative. I never would have dreamed that my children would grow up in a world where Germany was united and the USSR was disbanded. I'm thankful for some of the political changes that have occurred since 1987. 

8. The Apple IIc I mentioned in #3? Computers have changed a lot since then! I remember our first internet-capable computer, and how amazing it was to see a display in full color. Connection was via a dial-up modem, which required the phone line to be available. This print of an email I received from my dad in 1995 gives a glimpse back to the early internet days:

Email from my dad that reads: "Check out You might have local access to 14.4. I am going to download the Mac version of AOL to see if I can view the WWW (World Wide Web). I don't [know] anything about it except some friends say it's the best thing going presently. I left to see if I can kick your mother off the phone so I can send this and go to bed. I don't know what your phone bill is but we could come visit you guys cheaper. See you later. Mom just hung up."
I'm thankful for the WWW and high-speed internet.

9. I am thankful for those changes that had a general impact on the world, but I am especially thankful for the changes in our family. We started as two, and added five children. I love our family and am so proud of the adults the children have become. Now we are grandparents, and delight again in seeing children growing up. 

10. I'm thankful for John, who has been there with me through the good and the challenging times; the births, the weddings, and the funerals; the lean times and the more prosperous. We've traveled the world together and been stuck at home together. We had no way of knowing all the changes that would happen in the years since our wedding, just as we can't fathom what the future holds. The adventure continues, though, and I'm thankful to have John as my companion through it all. 

What changes over the past 33 years are you thankful for? Leave a comment below, and feel free to link up your own post to the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop!

Linking up this week:
The Prolific Pulse
MessyMimi's Meanderings
the Wakefield Doctrine
A Season and a Time
Recording Life Under the Radar
Carin's Gratitude

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
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  1. Happy Anniversary, and i wish you many more!

  2. Congratulations Kristi (and John!) on 33 years! Today's TToT was such a marvelous reminder of how much the world has changed. I'm sure you feel the same (maybe? lol) when I say, in one way, it doesn't seem that long ago! Reminders like this are good. It makes me appreciate the past a whole lot more. Advancements over the years, especially in technology, have made the world more accessible, which imo, is priceless. #8 made me laugh! Here's to 33 more years to you and John!!

    1. Thank you. Yes, time is a funny thing. It passes so quickly--and more so, with each year. Yet certain events can cause it to stand still at the same time. I realized today we've been staying home for 6 weeks. That's both a long time, and a short time. I don't have the words to describe it. I heard it said once that people hate endings because we are eternal creatures. Because I believe in life after death, I think time must also fit into that same sort of explanation--that time is a foreign concept because this life isn't all there is.

  3. I loved going back in time with you!

  4. Happy Anniversary.
    (Very enjoyable TToT post... sent me time-traveling. How does Time do that? One second you're in a moment that seems to last forever and then next, you're remembering a lifetime.)

    1. Time is a funny thing. I rambled about it in my reply to Denise's comment.


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