When I was little, we didn’t have cable/satellite TV. As far as I know, nobody did. We got the basic networks, and had a box on the TV for the UHF channels (no, I didn’t know what UHF meant so I looked it up – kind of interesting!). You turned the round knob on the box to the area you wanted, and the tall antenna outside our house would move, one click at a time, until it got to the proper spot so you could watch that channel.
We didn’t have microwaves. We got one when I was in high school if I remember correctly. The big plus of the microwave, to me at least, was in heating things up quickly. Prior to that, when you wanted a leftover heated, you put water into a pot on the stove, put a smaller pan inside it, and waited 20 minutes or so until the steam could heat up the food. TV dinners took 45 minutes or so in the oven. When microwaves first came out, I remember a lot of people using them to make cookies, bake turkeys, etc. This never seemed real successful (for one thing, foods don’t “brown” in the microwave), but nothing can beat the microwave for quick heat-ups.
We didn’t have private phone lines. Now I have to admit that we did for most of my childhood, but I do remember having a party line (where several houses shared a phone line). I remember sometimes you would pick up the phone, only to hear someone else having a conversation (not someone in your house, either – probably someone you didn’t even know!). Hmmm … it’s making me think you probably really needed to be careful what you said on the phone in those days.
We didn’t have computers. My first exposure to computers was a computer class my senior year in high school. The teacher was one of the dumbest ones I remember, and he drove to a college one night a week to take a class which enabled him to teach this one. I don’t recall much of it, other than the very simple black screens with the white squares forming graphics. The program was called logo and the cursor on screen was called the “turtle” (and boy, that link brings back memories!).
Even in college, computers were very basic compared to now. I took a required computer course in COBOL (because I had heard it was easier than the other basic computer programming class). The class was a lecture of 400 or so students in an auditorium, and our grade was based on creating 8 programs, each harder than the last. I remember the professor standing on stage telling us, “I bet none of you are going to be able to figure out program #8 because it’s pretty hard!”
Well, he got that right – in my case at least. We had to go to a computer lab, where approximately 30 students at a time could get computers, do a little work, print out their program (on that paper with the little strips with holes along the edges) and then seek out the help of the 1 AI (associate instructor) stationed in the room. It was awful!
We didn’t have baby carseats. We did have little plastic seats that the baby could recline in, and I remember my sister usually being in one of these. I guess you would put them on the floor of the passenger seat area? While we did have seatbelts, I don’t recall wearing them as religiously as people are now encouraged to. How did we all survive?
What do you remember from your childhood that’s different from now? We’d love to hear!