Yesterday’s Tomorrow

Text by Charley Kimbrough
Illustration by Anna Buckley

Ever since man could hypothesize there have been centuries upon centuries of ideas about what the future will bring. Is it life in space, or time travel? Maybe there will be cars that drive themselves or computer chips in the brains of every human. Funny thing is; it is 2015. It is the future, and many of us were born into a century that was predicted to have great potential of both good and evil. Earlier generations of people had expectations for life in the 2000’s, and I was curious to see if we met them. Since the future is now, and there is a good chance now didn’t live up to the expectations put upon it, I decided to reach out to some of the older generations. I asked them what they thought the world would be like, what is the future of the past?

Nicole Stauffer – 38 years old

“When I was in high school, everyone was talking about Y2K. The whole world was supposed to completely fall apart. All technology was going to crash and leave us in a modern dark age.”

Debra Karchin – 53 years old

“It was supposed to be like the Jetsons. Everyone would be flying around in hover cars, the buildings would be floating up in the sky. Robot servants would take care of everything so we would never have to. We could watch cool movies that would pop out of the screen and play future-y games.”

Patricia Mellen – 80 years old

“We had gotten TVs when I was in high school, but they were tiny boxes with these little hard-to-see grainy black and white screens. People talked about having color television, how that would be nice. We talked about making TVs bigger, telephones that weren’t attached to the wall, and faster trains.”

Dan Kepler – 81 years old

“I remember friends talking about living in space. That interplanetary travel would become commonplace by 2000 and Earth would become something like a shiny metal wonderland. On Earth food would be scarce, especially meat – that would be something that only the most wealthy would have. We thought there would be a lot of war because the world governments just can’t agree. Some people thought that separate governments would dissolve and a single government would come together to rule all of Earth.”

Our futuristic year of 2015 has lived up to some of the expectations, while it completely missed the mark on others. We do not live like George, Jane or Elroy Jetson zooming about in spacecraft-shaped cars, or travelling via high-speed tube; nor have we fallen under militia-based rule. But we have made incredible advances in technology and medicine that have formed us into a longer-living “plugged-in” society. The predictions of the 1930’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s shared a similarity: technology could only become stronger and more advanced. Living in a world that only keeps getting more advanced, we can only continue to ask: what is waiting inside the future to come?