It's been a while since I've posted a Flashback Friday, but the other day I started writing a blog post about why I chose to set The Backyard Secrets of Danny Wexler in the 1970s (post coming soon!) I'm sure it's a question that's baffled my children. The 1970s? But you didn't even have cell phones or the internet or Netflix or TikTok. It's true... which brings me to today's Flashback Friday and sort of an intro to my coming-soon-post about why I chose to write a story set in 1978:
My Kids Are Missing Out
Originally posted November 5, 2011
A while back, I was telling my kids again to pick up their wet towels (another post for another day), when I found myself saying, “I sound like a broken record!” It occurred to me at that moment that my kids don’t actually know what a “broken record” sounds like.... or any record actually.
I then started thinking about all the other things from my past my kids really have no idea about. Never mind the fact that they look at me like I have three heads when I tell them I didn’t have internet as a kid (or a computer for that matter.)
Anyway, at the risk of aging myself... here are some of the things my kids have missed out on:
The typewriter... It’s true kids – I had to type all my papers out on a typewriter – and not just any typewriter, I had to use a manual typewriter. For my high school graduation, my parents gave me an electric typewriter. Not only did it come with correction tape, but it beeped when I misspelled a word. Talk about high tech!
The rotary telephone... We dialed numbers – and they had funny loud rings. At some point, push button phones were all the rage. I don’t think we had one until I was in junior high (or maybe later). When the phone rang, we didn’t have caller ID. You found out who was calling when you answered (which made prank calling as kid a serious form of entertainment.) We also heard busy signals when we called someone and they were already on the phone. Call waiting? It was more like Call Back!
The aerial... There was no such thing as cable tv until I was in high school and even then, we didn’t have it (pay for television – are you crazy?) We had an aerial. What is an aerial you ask? Well – it was this dial thing that we turned, and it rotated the antenna on our roof in a particular direction so it would pick up (semi-clearly) one of the seven channels that we received. There were no remote controls either. In our house, we had to get up to change the channel (and turn the aerial.)
As long as we are talking about tv’s – how about:
The black and white tv... I had one in my room. It was only 9 inches and it wasn’t hooked up to the aerial, so I only could watch two channels. But it was all mine!
I also had a stereo in my room that had an 8-track player along with a turntable for those broken records. I suppose we can add turntable needles to the list, and 45’s, and the little plastic inserts you had to put in the 45’s to make them fit on your turntable.
Oh and let’s not forget about the cassette player/recorder and cassette tapes... lots and lots of cassette tapes.
Since we’re talking about cassette tapes, how about -
The Walkman... I’ll never forget when those first came out. I saved all my money just to get one! That may have been my favorite thing ever.
I know there are plenty more, but I’m old and I tire easily, so I think I’ll take a nap now.... feel free to keep the list going in the comments!
I'm happy to report that a year or so after that post, my daughter asked for a turntable and started collecting record albums, so she does now in fact know what a broken record sounds like, but she and my other two children are still amazed (horrified) that I grew up with out cell phones and the internet.
P.S. All those cassettes? I still have them, safe and sound in my office in the same brown fake wood 70s/80s cabinets I kept them in as a kid.