A Blast from the Past: 14 Incredible Finds Older Generations Haven’t Seen in Years

Life is ever-changing. The ways technology and everyday life are constantly evolving. Specific aspects and items become things of the past and often disappear entirely. Thinking about them can undoubtedly cause wistful feelings of nostalgia. In an online forum, some members of older generations discuss this topic.

1. Rotary and Pay Phones

rotary phone typewriter
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It doesn't feel like that long ago when rotary phones were in every household and pay phones were everywhere in the world. But since cell phones became the norm, landlines are rarely seen.

One person proclaims, “Every now and again, I see remnants of wall-mounted phone booths. But no working pay phones.” Some pay phones still exist. And you can buy rotary and push-button telephones. I purchased a turquoise one on Amazon because I wanted a phone like the one in the Hayley Mills classic The Parent Trap. But these are primarily novelty items.

2. Shoe Fitting Fluoroscope

vintage shoe salesman
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Do you remember this metal device that would measure your feet when you went shoe shopping? I can't recall the last time I saw one. But it was the only thing we knew. One individual reminisces, “You couldn't buy shoes without a professional shoe salesman wearing a suit and tie using the device to measure your feet.” The salesman would see where your toes were, and you'd walk around to see how they felt. Does this sort of thing even exist anymore?

3. Waterbeds

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Waterbeds were all the rage in the 1980s. You'd see them in many sitcoms and humorous situations quite often. My childhood best friend had one, and the feeling of it is almost indescribable. Their impractical and odd nature no doubt led to a decrease in popularity. But there was once a day when waterbed stores were everywhere.

4. Jukeboxes

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Unless you are eating at a 1950s-style diner, chances are it's been a long time since you've seen a jukebox. Many remember this unique musical machine fondly. They are creative, innovative, and just plain fun. Sure, it's fantastic that you can play music on your phone or computer, but few things are as visually dynamic as a jukebox. Those missing them need to visit the home of actress Patti Lupone who shared a glimpse of one she has in her nostalgic-themed basement.

5. Drive-In Movie Theaters

drive in movie theater
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Drive-In movie theaters may have yet to disappear completely, but they certainly are not as prevalent as they once were. Numerous users claim it's been years since they have come across one. And any attempts to expose younger generations to the novelty of watching a movie from the comfort of their car may be met with resistance. One needs only watch the hilarious episode of The Middle, “The Last Whiff of Summer Part I,” to understand what I'm speaking of.

6. Diners With Wait Staff on Roller Skates

retro diner
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If Drive-Ins and jukeboxes are rarely seen these days, it's no wonder that diners with roller-skating waiters and waitresses aren't either. Many lament the loss of these themed diners. Although some Sonic Restaurants across the U.S. are still like this, these are relics of the past. But can we start a petition to change that? Retro and vintage things are popular, after all.

7. Blockbuster Video

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Image Credit: Netflix.

With the invention of streaming services, video stores became obsolete. Only one Blockbuster is left in the U.S., so you must live nearby to see this store again. Though nostalgia is so strong amongst some generations, the store could make a comeback.

8. TV Antenna Rabbit Ears

retro tv
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Many from the older generations remember the rabbit ears that were attached to televisions. Sometimes they need to be adjusted to improve the channel reception. My how times have changed.

9. Banana Seat Bicycles

retro banana seat bike
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A few users mention how much they loved their bicycles with banana seats and long handlebars, especially in the 1970s. These are less safe and comfortable than newer models, so you will likely only see them in films from or about this era.

10. Typewriters

vintage assistant and typewriter
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The only ones who see a typewriter nowadays would be a collector of these once-necessary items. Tom Hanks is a famous example of someone who adores typewriters. One person laments the loss of this unique writing tool: “There's something special about the sound and feel of a typewriter that just can't be replicated by a digital device.”

11. Early Morning National Anthem

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I remember the wee early hours of the morning before school like many others do. You would hear the National Anthem, and what followed was either a test pattern or static. We'll likely never see these days again.

12. A Hand-Written Letter

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Hand-written letters are a lost art. While they have not disappeared entirely, technology has made communication instant and easy. But as one person shares, something is exciting and romantic about opening your mailbox and seeing an envelope addressed to you inside. As a child who had a pen pal from New Zealand, I wholeheartedly agree.

13. Bowling Leagues

bowling league
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Someone says, “I know they're still out there, but it's been a really long time since I ran into anybody who was in a bowling league.” And I believe they are right. So few bowling alleys even exist anymore, let alone leagues. But I hope this changes someday.

14. Milk Delivered in Glass Bottles

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Image Credit: Shutterstock.

A few folks in small towns note that they still have milk delivered daily by a milkman. But overall, this is an anomaly and something that feels like it could only exist in the 1950s and 1960s. But it's fun to dream about such a simple little everyday joy that once was.

This thread inspired this post.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Marianne Paluso is a freelance writer and artist and holds a Masters Degree in English and Children’s Literature. Inspired by her favorite films, television, theme parks and all things pop culture, she especially loves Disney, classic films, fairy tales, period dramas, musicals, adventures, mysteries, and a good rom-com. She joined Wealth of Geeks in 2021, and has also contributed to The Nerd Machine, Catholic News Agency. She writes on her own website TheGirlyNerd.com, creates art that is sold on Redbubble and Etsy, and also partakes in the occasional Disneybound, cosplay, and YouTube video