Life certainly changes rapidly, especially in the area of technology. As you get older, however, you don’t react to the technological changes in the same way as you used to when you were younger. One thing for sure, life sure seemed less stressful before the advent of all of our modern technological toys like cell phones, iPods and high-definition TV. The interesting thing is that it wasn’t too long ago when none of those things even existed.
When I was a child technological things were built to last and for the most part they did last. We had to see to that because money was tight. If something wasn’t broke, there was no need to replace it. Just because something new came out on the market, there was no need to buy it. If it was broke, you repaired it. Once again, you didn’t just rush right out and buy a new one. Technology is nice but it costs, and we didn’t have the money to be anything but conservative. As I retrace my childhood in my mind, here are some of the things I do remember about technology.
Black and white televisions
I remember we had a small black and white TV in our living room. I don’t recall where it came from, but that was our entertainment. . I remember my uncle owned a TV repair shop, so it might has come from him. Mom used to watch soap operas on it but she pretty much monitored what we watched on it. Incidentally, it was the only television in the house and the picture wasn’t all that great. Forget flat screen. Forget HD. We were quite content with what we had even though half the time the picture tube wouldn’t work.
Record players (aka phonograph)
Not long ago my sister sent me a record player. I think she ordered it online from one of those nostalgic gift places. I had found some old LP’s at a resale shop and it was nice hearing them. Although the record player my sister gave me looked sort of like the one we had at home when we were kids, it came with a CD player so that spoiled the nostalgia aspect of it. Years ago I remember playing LP’s and 45 rpm records on a record player we had in our home. It seemed like the needle kept breaking and the records were often scratched. Mom always instructed us to pick up the record by the edges so we wouldn’t get greasy fingerprints on the record itself. The sound was never pure. There was always that scratchy background noise so common to the old phonographs. I remember that the LP’s took up a lot of space. I’m amazed at how many songs I can put on my iPod today in comparison–and they don’t scratch.
Royal and Underwood typewriters
No, we didn’t own both brand typewriters, but I do remember that both brands were popular when I was young. I always loved pushing buttons on the old typewriter we did have. Before the advent of word processors it was the best thing to use even though sometimes some of the keys would jam. It actually took talent to get the paper inserted and properly lined up and assure that that ribbon was correctly in place. Who hasn’t made a mess with correction fluid? (Trust me, correction tape wasn’t much better). That was a heavy machine to lift too, a far cry from the two and a half pound mini laptop I use now.
Rotary dial phones
I realize some rotary dial phones are still around but I would think they’re getting harder and harder to find. With the advent of cell phones and iPhones, why bother with one you have to dial? The one we had in our home when I was a child was a heavy, clunky thing. You needed patience to dial it. Back then we only had to dial seven numbers (this was before they started with the area-code thing). Reception wasn’t always that great. I remember we had a party line for while but later Dad opted for a private line. One nice thing about the old phone was that it was much easier to hold the receiver to your ear.
I suppose change does have it merit. I wonder sometimes, though, why it seems that our technological progress hasn’t really made life much easier (or less expensive), even though it always makes that promise. As technology progresses, so does our frustration level. I just graduated to the iPod and it took me many hours of mental agitation to figure out how to use it. Do I need that stress at my age? I wonder. Sometimes it just seems good for me to let my mind escape back to the good ol’ days and the Ed Sullivan shows….
The fragmented recesses of my mind