A few nights ago my neighbors and I were visiting in our backyard while our children played for a few minutes before heading in for baths and bed. The husband and I somehow got into a conversation about who had it “harder” growing up, while his wife stood back and laughed. “Y’all sound like a couple of old folks,” she said.
Things like when we got a color TV, how old we were when we first had central heat and air, and such as that. It made me laugh to think about how different my own growing up was compared to what my children will remember. We had baseboard heaters and an attic fan that pulled cool air through the windows–only if there was a storm you couldn’t use it because it would pull in rain too. I was in high school before we had color TV or a VCR or a computer. Our first computer was a TI-99/4A that hooked up to a tv–yep, a little black and white. I was SO excited when we got it. Wow. Little did I know where that kind of technology was headed. Today what used to be huge bag phones are really pocket-sized computers, cameras, and boom boxes all rolled into one “smart” phone. Amazing.
I think what we laughed the hardest over was our televisions and how we changed the channel. This was back in the day before television remotes. Hush your mouth, you mean there ever was a time such as that? There sure was. Hard times. You had to get up and WALK TO THE TV to change the channel or the volume. I think I was grown and married before I saw a remote for a TV.
My friend said that he and his sisters sat just far enough away that they could still turn the dial for changing the channel with their feet. Usually his older sister, the tallest of the bunch, was elected to do it. I love the picture of them scooching across the floor until just close enough to use their feet to operate the television. Too funny.
But I win.
Because this is how we changed the channel at my house.
Say what? Pliers? Noooooo, those are channel changers. To this day, that is what my family calls them.
See, the plastic dial on the TV that you gripped and turned had broken off of our old black and white set, leaving only a metal stick-shaped piece jutting out. Being the good steward he was, Daddy figured out everything still worked perfectly well if we took the channel changers, gripped the metal piece and turned. Voila! Perfection. The only problem was when those blame things had been carried off to be used for something other than their intended purpose–changing the channel. (And this was not a job you could do with your fingers–believe me, I tried.) That was when whoever was trying to watch something different could be heard calling from the living room–“Where are the CHANNEL CHANGERS?!?!!!” Well, that and you never knew what channel it was on until you sat and watched for a few minutes. Oh, and that was the other thing, we only had one television set. In the whole house.
The thing I love about my conversation with my friend is that we both were acting as though we had it SO hard growing up. And maybe by the standards of some, we did, but I don’t think either one of us thought we had it hard when we were living it. It was just the way it was. And life was pretty doggone good.
Tonight I’m thankful for great friends and laughing over the past together. I give thanks for my resourceful Daddy who could fix just about anything. He taught me to see beyond something’s prescribed purpose and be a problem solver. Though I may not know where the screwdriver or hammer got off to, and even though I don’t need them for that purpose anymore, I always keep the channel changers handy. Because you just never know.