Pondering the recent past

early TV

I don’t know what it is about the New Year, but I always find myself ruminating on how far we’ve come in my lifetime.

For example, I remember the arrival of television!  At the end of WWII, there were only 5,000 television sets in American homes – all with five inch black and white screens.

By 1951, 17 million had been sold, but the Braddock family in West Point, Mississippi, was still listening to our radio – a big ole console with a pull-out record turn-table below the radio tuner.  Oh, but we thought we were on the cutting edge – of something.

We got our first TV set around 1954 but the only station in the area was Columbus and it didn’t start broadcasting until late afternoon.  I rushed home after school to watch Uncle Bunky draw cartoons.

Thegunsmoke only other shows I recall were “I Love Lucy,” “Perry Mason,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Have Gun, Will Travel.”  Color television had a few more years before reaching us.

Other yet to be introduced items included frozen foods, contact lenses, The Pill, Credit Cards, dishwashers, pantyhose, central air and heat, and cellphones.  Man wouldn’t walk on the moon until I had graduated from college.

We’d never heard of  gay-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy. Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense.

family Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.  Draft dodgers were people who closed their front doors when the evening breeze started. Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings.

Earrings were worn by adult women only, and body piercings were associated with Gypsies.

Yup, we’ve come a long way, but I’m not convinced the quality of our lives has been enhanced all that much.  Medical developments have enabled us to live longer and healthier, and modern conveniences have saved our manicures, but the trade-off has left me yearning for something I can’t quite put my finger on.

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