Childhood Memories Friday: Sounds That Kids Today Have Probably Never Heard

Childhood Memories FridayMany of my childhood memories posts feature a memory of a place, or a thing. My Pinterest board about growing up in the ’60s and ’70s is about visual memories. But recently I read an article about sound memories — specifically, sounds that we don’t hear much anymore. Sounds that today’s kids may not even be familiar with.

How many do you remember?

  • Rotary phone dialing — and getting away from the sounds, other rotary phone memories: getting tangled up in the cord. Seeing how far you could get with the cord. Trying to work kinks out of the cord. Loving phone numbers with lots of low digits because they didn’t take as long to dial …
  • Manual typewriter — sure, computer keyboards make noise too. But who could forget the sound of that carriage return, or the warning “ding” when you reached near the end of a line? (remember trying/hoping you could fit just one or two more words on that line??)
  • Flash cubes — remember the click as they turned?
  • TV channel changing knob — again, before remote controls, remember the way you actually had to click on the TV and click through to the channel you wanted? And didn’t the TV even have to ‘warm up’ a bit before the picture appeared?  We also had an outdoor antenna for the … um … uhf?? vhf?? channels? and that involved more clicks as the antenna turned to the proper position.
  • Record changer — ah, the sound when a record began playing, before the music started. Then the “white noise” at the end too. I remember when we got a record player that would play several records in a row. I thought it was so cool watching the records drop down. And of course, who can forget hearing a record get stuck? Then maybe jumping nearby and hoping that would “unstick” it.
  • TV sign-offs — TV stations weren’t always 24/7. Remember the days when the programming ended with the National Anthem and then you got the color striped test pattern for the rest of the night?
  • Movie projector — anyone who went to school in the 1970s is quite familiar with this sound. Remember when the film would break sometimes? Or when the teacher had a problem and couldn’t get it started? Even worse than movies were filmstrips, remember? They didn’t have sound, and often the teacher would just read the (usually very dry) script that came along with the strip.

What are some other sound memories that you have?

4 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Sounds That Kids Today Have Probably Never Heard

  1. WowMemories! Going to sleep to the sound of crickets, frogs, and whippoorwills because we had no A/C and slept with (screened) windows open.

  2. Oscillating fans, because we didn’t have AC and it was hard to sleep or nap in southern Texas without a fan.

    Percolating coffee pots on the stove.

    The wrench of metal ice trays with handles.

    Bicycles with cards that would flap against the spokes. Do kids still do that? Haven’t seen it in ages.

    I remember all of the ones you listed, too. I remember when TVs had these long tubes in the back that had to be taken out and replaced from time to time.

    Once when we got Handel’s Messiah on a set of records, my son thought they’d made a mistake because they weren’t labeled in order. I had to tell him they were made for record players where you could put the whole set on a time and they’d play straight through.

    Fun post!

  3. A sound that’s probably continuing in the country, but which I miss hearing now, is the put-put of the John Deere tractor. How that takes me back to the farm. Another sound that’s not so favorite, that is continuing but to which I have no more exposure, is the hissing of a snake. That’s not a very good memory, I realize. A good sound that I definitely miss hearing is Daddy’s whistling as he worked on the tractor on the farm. You could hear him from a long distance. Wish I could go back and hear that at least once more. He did it so beautifully! Another sound that one rarely hears anymore is singing of church hymns in four-part harmony. I’m sad that that is dying.

  4. What Barb said above. The distinctive sound of my Mom’s Singer sewing machine and of my great-grandmothers [still functioning today] treadle sewing machine, the roar of my grandmothers 1940s hoover and of her ferocious furnace coming on are among others.

    On the records–the sound of the whole stack dropping by mistake! UGH, I’d be almost asleep and have to get up and fix it!

    Then there’s the sound I don’t miss: My brother’s amplifier in his Jimmy Hendriz phase!

Comments are closed.