While we've been busy living our day-to-day lives, a number of bits and pieces of our worlds have been quietly disappearing. If you think about the basic items we relied on 20, 30, 40 years ago, you'll realize how many have moved into the realm of antiques-in-the-making.
For instance, many of us grew up when the family's phone was on a party line. Such shared service is unheard of today. And the heavy black rotary-dial phone we all used as kids is now a piece of the past.
In addition, with the convenience and portability of cell phones, many folks are opting to discontinue their "land lines," relying instead on the do-everything electronic communicator they can carry in their pocket. Chances are, before long home phones will go the way of the upright typewriter and the slide rule.
And soon, that "old-fashioned" analog clock on the wall and the dial-faced alarm beside the bed will become relics as well.
Eventually, wristwatches with dial faces and hands will be worn only by folks in the health care field. It's hard to take a pulse without that second hand to mark a minute.
One result of this change over from the old fashioned clocks to the digital kind is that we'll lose the ability to explain the order in photographs. No one will understand the designation "clockwise from the left?"
Another basic of our lives, that difficult-to-master, but beautiful-to-look-at cursive writing we learned in the early grades is being phased out. A number of states, including Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Hawaii, have already officially dropped handwriting as part of their educational requirements. Many other states are considering the same action. Some day, students may have to take special classes if they want to read historical documents or old journals and letters.
The many-volumed, printed encyclopedias are also on their way out. These days, the massive amount of information once available only in the Britannica is easily accessed on line in a fraction of the time it used to take us to search through page after page of one of the weighty encyclopedia volumes.
When it comes to our cars, there have been many changes in recent years. Among these is that collection of hard-to-fold road maps we kept in the glove compartment or under the seat. Today, we rely on portable or on-board GPS units. These amazing gems direct us to our destination with clear, spoken instructions. The unwieldy road maps of the past are joining rumble seats, running boards and opera windows in the world of automotive antiques.
On the home front, the old screen door - once relied on to announce the comings and goings of the family - has been replaced as the portal of the house by the sturdy aluminum storm door and the decorative entrance door.
And one day - perhaps not too far off - the mail man will go the way of the milk man and the Fuller Brush Man. With the U.S. Postal Service cutting back service due to the explosion of electronic correspondence, mail delivery may become another once-counted-on service lost to progress.
Within the next decade or two, we can all bid good-bye to many items we've long considered fixtures of everyday life. Along with incandescent light bulbs and hand-held toothbrushes, the phased out pieces of our lives will enter the world of antiques, found only in museums.
At the same time, those of us who may also be considered "antique," will no doubt learn to adjust to a new, faster, more technologically enhanced world.
So be prepared and hang on tight. The merry-go-round is picking up speed.