Apparently I have two categories of readers, those relatively my own age and those who find my writings fascinating because of my age. This particular post is meant to inform the younger readers and remind the older readers about sounds that have largely disappeared from ordinary American lives.
The first is the tick-tock of the bedside alarm clock, combined with its dreadful blare of an alarm. These clocks had to be wound by hand and had an alarm setting of on and off. There was no “snooze” option on the theory, I suppose, that its users had the good sense to get up when the noise went off. Even my wrist watch no longer ticks but glides along soundlessly powered by a little battery. Of course, I have to replace the battery instead of winding it for free. (When I was growing up the only thing I owned that used a battery was my flashlight. Now I buy them by the dozen for all sorts of devices and toys.)
The other noise that has disappeared is the click-clack of the typewriter keys. Of course typewriters have also disappeared, but that is material for a separate post. One of most constant memories of college is the relentless noise of girls typing their papers. The noise was so annoying that the dorms had places set aside for typing so that others could sleep while last minute assignments were being completed.
And finally the noise of the train going by our home five times a day dwindled gradually throughout my childhood. The steam engines with their distinctive noise disappeared first, then the diesel runs quit as the mills ran out of timber to make into furniture. I always enjoyed the train noise, and the distant rumble of my near by highway is not any compensation.