Tag Archives: Life before TV remotes

The Remote Control

7 May

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

The remote control has come a long way.  We usually take it for granted in these days – I wouldn’t even THINK of having to get up from my comfy chair to go and change the channel on the TV!  Outrageous!  And yet, I remember when that was the norm.

I remember when my family got our first TV when I was a child in Albuquerque.  Such a novelty!  And there were only three channels available.  It was only on during the day, and ended each day with a single picture on the screen, and the National Anthem being played/sung.

I remember on New Year’s Day, when all the college bowl games were being played – my Dad had one game on the big TV, another game on a small TV on top of the big TV – another game on the radio in one bedroom, and another game on the radio in another bedroom.  He would bounce back and forth among all those rooms trying to keep track of all the games.  Used to drive my Mother crazy!

But all of those TV’s had a manual remote – in other words, someone had to get up and change the channel manually.

1956 – Judy in our living room with the new TV – no remote control

Okay…fast forward a few years.  Fred and I married and moved to Fort Worth, Texas for him to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  One of our first purchases was a black-and-white TV set.  It wasn’t much, but we enjoyed it.  We took it with us when we moved to San Antonio, Texas for Fred to attend the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School (OTS).  We had it with us in San Jose, California while Fred attended San Jose State College (now University) to get his meteorology training.  But we must have sold it there, because we didn’t have any TV with us during the three years we were in Wiesbaden, West Germany.

Upon arriving back in the U.S., Fred’s parents gave us their old black-and-white TV, as they had purchased a new color TV for themselves.  It only had a manual remote, and Karen (only four years old at this time) would go and turn the remote – to the correct channel I might add – before we even turned on the machine!  How did she DO that???  It never failed that she had the correct channel.  And in northern Maine, on a U.S. Air Force Base, we had only just a few channels to choose from.  Amazing.  She’s a genius!!

When we moved to San Antonio, Texas, we purchased a new TV for ourselves – and it was in COLOR!  WOW!  What a difference that made – even the weather was better in color!  It was in a lovely wood console – but held only the TV – no radio…no turntable…no storage space contained therein.  Still – it only had a manual channel-change knob.  It was a great piece of furniture, and we carried it with us to Tyndall AFB, Florida, to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and then to Heidelberg, West Germany.  

1979-1980 – The TV console in our unit at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

After we lived in Virginia for a while, we purchased a more up-do-date TV for our family room, and moved that TV console upstairs to our bedroom.  We finally sold it – or donated it – before we moved to Florida.  

And that’s where our remote controls came into being.  And we couldn’t live without them now – sometime we even have one in each hand!

What a progression.  And all this was prompted by a picture on FaceBook of an old-fashioned TV dial.

Credit FaceBook

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

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