March 6, 2013

Pinch of Time: March of time brings changes

By SUSAN TOBIAS, Pinch of Time

---- — I hesitate to say this for fear I’ll sound like I want presents, but tomorrow is my 66th birthday. My gifts are the people in my life.

It seems like birthdays are coming twice a year since I turned 50. I just got used to being 65.

As frustrating as the computer can be for my generation, I have received some really good emails pointing me to interesting ideas, like a site where I typed the year of my birth and events from that year appeared.

Baby-boomers born that year include author Stephen King, actress Ann Beattie and fallen-from-grace sports figure O.J. Simpson, among others. Pocket calculators, transistors and Polaroid were all invented in 1947.

The song of the year was “Peg O’ My Heart.” I was asked to sing along if I remembered the words. At first, I thought, “I was only a baby. How would I know the words?”

My parents played the radio all the time, and I heard that song for years (sing along):

“Peg O’ my heart, I love you,

”We’ll never part for I love you,

”Dear little girl,

”Sweet little girl,

”Sweeter than the Rose of Erin

”It’s the shamrock we’ll be sharing.”

It is a gentle, easy flowing tune that brings back memory of a gentler time.

Back in the 1980s, I was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of computers when the Press-Republican switched from electric typewriters to computers with an eye-challenging green screen and yellow type.

Now I’m happy I did. Computers seem to have come to the ultimate — you can hold one in your hand with a Smartphone or Ipad. Amazing!

I still get frustrated, though, when I get a virus (not me, the computer). I upgrade my security programs all the time, but some snotty-nosed 20-year-old somewhere on this planet takes great delight in creating a “worm” that compromises all my information.

If this were 1947, he’d be headed to the woodshed for a firm lesson in better manners.

Part of my morning routine, after making coffee, is to check the online newspaper, see who has emailed me and visit Facebook to see what my family has posted. I guess I have a feeling of entitlement because I have stepped into what Facebook has to offer. I’m re-thinking that idea.

For the last three days, I haven’t been able to access my Facebook page. I keep getting a message that says the site is down for maintenance and I should check back in a few minutes. Well, that few minutes has stretched into days, and I feel like a mother whose children have been playing at the neighbors and now I can’t find them.

That is my information, my photograph album, my personal messages from my family — and, yes, I am being territorial. As one born in 1947, I am thinking Cold War tactics have come into play here.

While searching frantically for a way to access my FB account (we savvy grandmothers use FB, short for Facebook, just like the kids), I found out that thousands, perhaps millions, have been having this problem.

I also found out FB is going to make a big announcement tomorrow about how they have redesigned their pages. They should have left well enough alone, in my opinion.

My very talented daughter, Carrie Lee, came to my rescue, finding out something had been checked or unchecked, and she fixed the problem. I’m happy again, until another computer glitch throws me a curve.

You can “bet your sweet bippie” (a late 1960s saying) that someone, somewhere, very soon, will create something like FB, and we’ll all switch, leaving it behind, just like MySpace seems to have been. (That’s another “social media” creation, somewhat like FB.)

Oh, I forgot to talk about “tweeting.” That’s because I don’t “tweet.” I had a cell phone, and I lost it. I’m not sure I’ll get another one. It seems nice not to be at the demand of another modern device.

Write me a letter. That’s what we did in 1947.

One last thought, as always, please be kind to each other. The world needs more kindness.

Susan Tobias lives in Plattsburgh with her husband, Toby. She has been a Press-Republican newsroom employee since 1977. The Tobiases have six children, 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They enjoy traveling to Maine and Colorado, and in her spare time, Susan loves to research local history and genealogy. Reach her by email at