Changing Channels.

I know that I've been going all Laura Ingalls up in here lately with all my nostalgic I'm-a-farmgirl posts, but  really, this is a good story.

Bear with me.  Really.  It's pretty good.

So, there was no cable tv where I grew up, and only the rich-ish families had a satellite dish.  My friend Karen had a satellite dish, but aside from that, most of the people I know had tv antennas.  And two channels.  Three if the weather was clear.

The entire process of changing the channel was a pretty intense one where we lived.  See, we lived down in a valley, which going forward in this post will be referred to as a "holler."  Down in the holler, tv reception was not great, and the tv antenna had to be turned a particular way in order to get the best reception for each individual channel.  Are you following me?    Due to the arrangement of our living room, it took no less than three people to turn the antenna and have it stop in the correct place.  Here's how it played out.


Person 1: In front of the tv
Person 2: Across the room by the picture window.
Person 3: Outside the house by the antenna.  Has a view of Person 2 through the window.

Here, let me draw you a picture.

I'm sure that cleared everything right up, eh?

Anyway, changing the channel was a dance that had to be perfectly synchronized.  If P3 was turning the antenna too quickly, it was impossible for P1 and P2 to relay the information in time.  If P1 was too slow in telling P2 to tell P3 to stop turning the antenna, the sweet spot would be overshot.  P2 had to balance  a fine line between the two.

It was quite hard, and explains why I spent many of my childhood evening watching T.J. Hooker instead of Moonlighting, which was clearly a better show.  Clearly.

I was thinking about this the other day, and it made me realize that my kids would probably never ever see a tv that did not have 100+ stations, a remote control and some sort of built in guide mechanism.

 By the time they're teenagers, our televisions (and all our other appliances as well) might be voice activated, like "TV, turn on Dukes of Hazard," or whatever your preference is.  That just happens to be my preference.  So there.  Anyway, there are a lot of things my kids won't ever know about, like rotary telephones that actually had to be plugged into a phone line, or a car with crank windows, or air that you can actually breathe.

There are times when I get nostalgic for things from my childhood.  But then I just Google them on my iPad, and all is good again.


  1. Well, hopefully by the time zj is a teenager I'll have a different car, but for now, he's very familiar with my crank windows. :)

  2. I had a very similar childhood (including the obvious choice of Moonlighting over T.J. Hooker!!) except our antenna was turnned by this little brown box with a gold dial. Mom kept it behind the couch and my brother and I would fight over it. He'd spin it to his show so I'd turn the tv off. When he went to turn it on, I'd change the antenna. You can imagine just how much my mom loved that. The year I went away to college they put cable in on my parents' street. But I'm not bitter. Much.

  3. @ Moderate Means - I remember seeing one of those things. I thought it was VERY fancy. Of course, my first remote controlled tv came into my life after I was married...

    @Aunt B - sorry. I totally did not mean to dis your cute little Yaris. No matter how you pronounce it :-P

  4. Oh, yeah, baby! I totally remember that as well .... leaning out the door, hollering, "Turn it back, turn it back!!"

    You need to do a post on throwback fashion ... cause did I tell you I bought my boys Tretorns? Try that on for size :)


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