Any one alive today who has owned a bread box probably knows nothing about playing an Xbox. Vice versa, a breadbox is most likely a  foreign object to the Xbox generation.    

I’m right there in the middle.  My grandparents had a bread box and my kids play Xbox games.  And if you ask me,  the bread box definitely serves a greater function. 

I never know where our bread is because it doesn’t have its own place in our kitchen. Sometimes it’s on the counter. Sometimes on the washing machine. Sometimes on the kitchen table.     

And inevitably, the last pieces always end up in the back of the fridge, tucked behind the milk carton and the orange juice. At least once a month I find a few slices that have turned into some sort of science experiment. And then there is that loaf that ends up shoved into our tiny freezer and falls out on my toe every time I open the door. 

The bread box was a simple invention. No cords. No charging. No batteries. No guessing where the bread was kept.      

Read this next: 5 Ways of Loving Life Passed Down Through 4 Generations

While I’m at it, the Xbox generation probably doesn’t know what an icebox is either. By the time I was born, the icebox had been replaced by the refrigerator, but my grandparents always referred to our refrigerator as an icebox. 

And I knew you couldn’t open up an icebox very many times in one day. That’s probably why my grandfather always yelled at me when I kept the refrigerator door open for longer than two seconds. I think he feared that the milk would spoil and our milkman wasn’t due for another day.  

Ah..the milkman. Some mornings I wish I could open my front door and find a fresh bottle of milk, instead of having to drive to the market because someone finished the carton during the night. In fact, there were lots of services that I wish still made home deliveries (including the doctor) but that’s another story entirely.   

Thinking of my grandfather reminds me of the ice cream man. Not that he was one, but he was always there with that needed quarter (yes, a quarter) when the ice cream man came down our block. Like clockwork, he made an appearance every summer evening around 7:30.

On those hot summer days we’d jump out of the pool when we heard his jingle come down the block. Because that’s where we spent our days. Outside. Swimming. Walking down the block with our transistor radios. Sitting on the front lawn talking with our neighbors.   

Not inside in front of a video game.  Back then, the Xbox was still a figment of someone’s imagination.      

Those lazy summer days found us using our imaginations, playing all sorts of guessing games. And when my best friend guessed what I was imagining, her first question was always - “Is it bigger than a bread box?” 


Janie Emaus believes that when the world is falling apart, we're just one laugh away from putting it together again.  She writes about how life is NOW compared to THEN, with her special blend of funny and sweet. She is the author of the time travel romance, Before the After, and the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love.  And she has an essay in the Best Selling humor anthology, You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth.  She is a staff writer at In The Powder Roomand blogs frequently for The Huffington Post. She is proud to be named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year. To learn more about Janie visit her blog and her website