Posted by Tony Parziale on Jun 13, 2019
Dear Fellow Rotarians & friends,

One of the things that I’ll say often with amazement is, “What a great time to be alive.” And I really and truly mean it! Of all the times in history that we could have been born into this world, I’m so grateful for the time and place that we’ve been given.

I was in grammar school in the 60s. At the time, The Wonderful World of Disney was a Sunday night staple. Disney’s World of Tomorrow was an amazing look at what the future may bring. Walt Disney was always there for us, holding a flashlight and showing us the way.

It was an interesting time to be a child. There were astronauts and space missions. I witnessed the entire Apollo space program from beginning to end. There was the moon landing. I still remember my parents waking my brother and me up to watch Neil Armstrong take the first steps on the moon. I remember hearing him say those iconic words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” There were the Beatles and the Monkees with their crazy long hair. The high tech cartoon character of the day was Dick Tracy with his “wrist watch radio.” Steve Jobs must have been watching and thinking “what a concept!”

I remember sitting in a science class in grade school. My fourth grade teacher was talking about how in the future we won’t be using money for store transactions. The information about our money would be stored remotely and can be accessed anywhere. There was the talk of computers and artificial intelligence. I remember my teacher saying that we’ll be able to get virtually any question answered within minutes using a computer in the future.

There are some very vivid and happy memories of growing up during those times. I remember my family’s first color TV. That was a big deal for us. I remember when we first put air conditioning in our house. It was paradise right here on earth! As I grew older, I saw the rotary dial phone transform magically into this very futuristic push button phone. How about the first video game…TV Pong… It was to die for!

In the sixties Walt Disney had a feature on one of his programs entitled, “The Home of the Future.” The home was very futuristic looking. We were told that all we had to do was talk to it and it would follow our commands. Just say things like, “turn on the lights,” and the lights would go on. It was unbelievable!

Now, as I sit with gratitude and amazement all of these years later, I watch as my grandson answers his iPad and has a live video conversation with one of his friends. I pick up my smart phone and ask it for directions, or take a picture, or video, or read a book on it. I can ask it anything and within seconds I’ll have an answer. I also talk to Alexa and ask it to play my favorite song, or set the alarm for one hour, or tell me a joke and just like that, it happens.

All I can say with gratitude and wonder is… What a great time to be alive!

Yours in Rotary,

Tony Parziale