I am not as old as some and remember my family having a television my entire life.
But it was different than it is today. I am not sure if the programming is any better today, but we certainly have more options.
While growing up in the Keithburg Community, we had both color and black and white TVs.
Our home didn’t have one in every room either. I remember us having one in the living room and it was for the entire family to watch together.
We didn’t have 200 channels to choose from. We had three channels and that was it. We were able to pick up Channels 2, 5, and 11 in Atlanta.
When I say pick up, it was not always the clearest picture. Reception was affected by the wind, rain and anything else that nature threw our way.
We had an antenna outside of the window next to where the television was. This was our main and only source of reception.
When the picture wasn’t as clear as my father would like, he would say, “Boy. Go outside and turn the antenna.” So I would grumble and go out and do as he said.
He would crack open the window and yell to me as I turned the antenna and reception changed. “Stop. No go back. Just a little bit more. That’s good.”
And it isn’t like this happened only every now and then. It happened all of the time. I would venture to say that I am not the only “boy” experienced in antenna turning.
The three major networks provided our family with entertainment for years. At that time, we were happy with it because we didn’t know anything else.
We had our favorite shows, but nothing got in the way of sports. And the news came in much smaller doses than it does today.
The news came on at noon, 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. Although I say it came on at 11, I couldn’t swear by that because I was in bed long before.
This was especially troubling during periods of bad weather. If they talked about storms coming in the afternoon on the lunchtime news program, then good luck because you were on your own until the 6 o’clock news.
If my memory serves me well and that is no guarantee, the news only lasted 30 minutes. Therefore, we didn’t know about many of the bad things going on in the world like we do today.
Maybe that’s why people were less stressed in the good old days. For what we don’t know can’t really worry us.
In 2012, we have a television in virtually every room of our home. We have cable too, which means I have about 200 options of TV watching.
The thing is, there are many times that I can’t find a single thing to watch regardless of the number of channels. However, reception is great and it doesn’t involve the turning of an antenna.
Of course with the number of televisions in each home, most people don’t watch as a family. Like much of the technology today, it has only served to separate families even more than they already are.
And the funny thing is, many of the shows my family is interested in come on channels, 2, 5, and 11. Go figure.
My last thought on this subject concerns the invention of the remote control. That little gadget that turns the station to whatever you want to watch without getting up from your easy chair.
It’s the little gadget that is forever getting lost in the cushions of the couch and spreads panic throughout the household.
It has become a productive member of our families and treated with great care and reverence. But if you really think about it, remote controls are not new at all.
They have been around as long as televisions have been. They looked different than the new models but they worked just the same.
At our house, the remote control was about 5 feet tall and weighed about 100 pounds and answered to the name of “Boy.”
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.