Memories Lost and Found – Then vs Now

Well, my date for leaving this land of my birth has come and gone, and all my sidekicks have all since packed up and left me and I’m still here. As we Jamaicans would say “mi still deh yah.” Now I’m not complaining, there are worse situations to be in than getting some much-needed rest and spending quality time with my parents while soaking up some sun and sipping on an assorted blend of fresh fruits daily. Yes, there are worse situations like the reason I extended my stay in the first place.

I’m spending and extra 11 days in Jamaica to attend the funeral service of my childhood friends’ father. Now the funeral isn’t until next week and in the meantime the island trekking is over and there are only so many mangoes that I can eat and fruit juices that I can drink, and I am really missing my man. So, I’m here crawling out of my skin trying to find something, anything to pass the time. That’s when I came upon a drawer full of old photographs spanning my lifetime. Just the act of holding these tiny bits, in some cases faded, paper replications of my past was enough to numb my restlessness for a while.

Looking at these old photographs I’m reminded of just how much time has changed and yet for some things, remained the same. There were lots of pictures of me at 10 years and younger. As children, even the way we played then was different from the way kids do now. We ran freely outside and amused ourselves with games like “Catch” and “Ring Around the Rosies.” We danced with hula hoops, climbed trees and skinned our knees and besides TV and radio, the only other media technology I knew about was…ah…NONE! Today, for the most part, kids play have been replaced by video games, smart phones, tablets and “anti-social” social media.


Playing at a birthday party, my sister and I extreme left. We were about 4 and 5


Nieces on cell phones and i-pads

Speaking of social media and smart phones, back in the old days letters and telegrams were our main source of “social” media. Few had those rotary handheld telephones whose features in later days were updated to a key punch. Unlike today’s smart phones that you can fit into your back pocket or purse which allows you to take them everywhere with you, phones in those days provided you very little mobility limited to the length of the cord. Today with our smart phones we store all our contacts and our entire world. Back then contact numbers were handwritten in a book, imprinted in your memory or found in the white or yellow pages, and to protect your phone you needed a lock. Yes, the lock and key kind, not the 4- or 6-digit codes that these smart phones use today.


Me on the phone, with my older sister and brother

That “dinosaur” in the picture below to my dad’s left would be our black and white television set bought in the 60’s. I remember up until we left Jamaica in the 1980’s there was only one channel and most of it was public programming and TV signed off at 12:00 am. There were times when we had to move the antenna around and knock the top of the TV to get a better reception. Today everything is smart, there are smart phones, smart tv and smart computers. Seems everything has gotten smarter except for us the users. There are many channel options, and each has numerous shows to watch and to the chagrin of many parents the TV never signs off. Smart phones are on “automatic pilot” in our lives and God forbid we lose them or accidentally drop them in the toilet, our lives will “crash and burn” without them.

Dad with black and white TV

All you need to do now, is take a look at the disparities in quality between the “then” and “now” pictures to understand the leaps and bounds made in media technology from the 70’s until now.


Smart TV is present in most homes

Now, check out the way we dressed back in the 70’s. I was so freaking cute back then, wasn’t I? In the 70’s, miniskirts were in but if you ask me some of those miniskirts were a bit too short for kids like me and I don’t remember ever worrying about minding my P’s and Q’s and keeping my legs crossed. I know I don’t have to tell you that styles and fashions have come full circle and a lot of the styles worn back then are trending or have trended and gone dormant again until the next cycle. Bell bottoms, wide sleeves and afros were big back then and are back in style today. Some styles though, I hope will remain gone with the 70’s wind.


Me and my sister with cousin and friends

My sister is going to have my head for this one 🤣. What was up with those plastic visors, were they really in style back then?

My mom the fox in her turtleneck and bell bottoms


Me with my sisters and friend

When we lived in Jamaica my mom was a midwifery nurse. She wore a white uniform and a stiff little white cap to work with every shift. Now I know in her younger days my mom was quite the looker in her sparkling white uniform, but I seem to remember her painstakingly washing those uniforms every week to keep them lily-white. Now I know white portrays sterility and cleanliness but wearing white in hospitals is so impractical. Thankfully, nurses today wear scrubs which is so much more comfortable and sensible. I was glad to see that even the hospital my mom used to work in here in Jamaica, has converted to scrubs.



My younger sister who is also a nurse, wearing scrubs

So, what hasn’t changed? The relationship between our families and the camaraderie of friends thankfully have stayed the same. Technology comes and goes, and fashions go in and out of style, but the support, love and respect between families and good friends will last forever if roots go deep enough. I’m still close friends with a lot of the people in those old photographs. As for my family on both my mom’s and dad’s side, our relationship is good. We might not see and talk to each other every day, but our foundations are strong, and we will always be there for each other when the need arises and even when it doesn’t.


My dad’s side of the family

My immediate family with a close friend

My mom’s side of the family


My dad’s side of the family that has more than tripled in size

Me with friends and family at my last birthday 60’s – 70’s party

Ok, so that’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed travelling down memory lane with me. Do you have similar memories and old photographs from childhood? As of today, I have 8 more days left in Jamaica and many hours to fill. Think I’ll go back to digging in my drawer of old photographs to see what other memories they will conjure.

Until next time, Sincerely Jan!

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28 thoughts on “Memories Lost and Found – Then vs Now

  1. Oh my gosh! I love this post so much! The photo of your mom in the bell bottoms, love!!! She looks so strong and confident! I’ve been going through my family photos, as well, and mine were very similar yet on the plains of Texas instead of the paradise of Jamaica.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a trip down memory lane through picture. I really enjoy the trip. In the meantime, don’t count the days, instead make the days count. I am sure your are cherishing the time to be still and also time with your parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic Jan,
    It’s always good to have those memories that don’t leave like people do.
    Continue to spend that quality time with your parents in Springfield and make new memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, thank God my dad was quite the lover of taking photos then as I am today, so he has plenty and he kept them. I remember the day that picture with my mom was taken. When we drove off, she left one of her slippers behind 🤣.


  5. Loved the photos and memory lane. Makes me want to dig out the old photos of my family. Thanks for sharing. Us kids were the “remote” for the television, we had two channels and if the wind blew right a third. Thanks for sharing. You and your family are beautiful people.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was truly an awesome read, I regret not having paid attention to how treasured photos was stored, every now and then I come across one that tells a story of earlier years, sometimes the the story puts a smile on my face, sometimes tears, all good just the same, thank you for sharing your story with us,

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That picture with immediate family and family friend. That family friend looks familiar 😀. I sent her the picture and she laughed. Memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a trip down memory lane! I’m sure I can look in my archives and find similar pics. Especially the one with the hot shorts with the stripe at the side and the plastic sun visors!! That was truly an island thing!! Not to mention the hairstyles and the ribbons!

    Liked by 1 person

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