Was There Electricity When You Were Young?

This is Sweetpea’s favourite question at the moment. She’s determined to find someone pre-Edison. The concept simply fascinates her. It’s a little embarrassing when she wheels the question out for the slightly more mature generations though. I’ve seen people splutter their champagne at weddings, or suck in their stomach a bit more. But the innocence in the eyes lets her off the hook.

Her determination and meticulous interrogation of the older humans in her world eventually paid off this weekend though when my Grandma, at the ripe old age of 80 (but still busting some moves on the dance floor), said she remembered going on holiday to a farm where they only had gas lamps and no electricity. Result!

And great, great Granddad, Chief Lobanga probably didn’t have the luxury of a George Forman Grill to cook his freshly-caught leopard or missionary either.


Much like Lobanga after his dinner, Sweetpea seemed to be satisfied.

But… something that really rocked her socks – and her big sister’s as well – was the thought of no internet…

The best conversations usually happen when I’m doing something else – often the washing-up or cooking, so thankfully I can smirk or stifle a giggle without being rumbled.

We were talking about electricity again (I think we should probably cover the plug sockets or something) and I was desperately wracking my brains to find something that really wasn’t around when I was younger. Then it hit me…

“We didn’t have the internet when we were younger” I said.

“No internet!?” they both squeaked in unison, a look of utter disbelief on their puzzled faces.

“But how did you send emails?”

“We sent letters and used the phone instead.”

“Wow, that must have been so weird.”

And there we left it. I’m not sure what this concluded – I’d like to think it was that I wasn’t ancient enough to remember starting fires with flints, but that they were so young that the concept of no internet simply didn’t… well… compute.

Since then the question of electricity has been trumped only by the query that began, “Erm… You know when you get your head chopped off…” but I’m afraid I can’t remember the rest of the question as I was in fits on the floor.

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