Column: Let’s not forget the time of vinyl records, landlines and film cameras


My grandfather, Papa Stone, did not have running water in his house until about the last year of his life.

He had an old well with what was called a windlass, a log with an iron handle at the end. There was a rope and a bucket that we lowered into the water.

Dad had a refrigerator. Regardless of the brand, we called it a “Frigidaire”. He had a black and white television console, but rarely looked at it.

Outside he had a dilapidated barn with a smoking room on one side and a place to park Daddy’s truck on the other. Like many barns, there were old tools hanging from the ceiling. I don’t know what their purpose was, but he had a few.

Outside the smokehouse was a large pile of charcoal, which Dad used in a cast iron stove for warmth.

Dad was born in 1898, before the first Model T was manufactured. I thought of everything he saw in his life, such as radio broadcasts, electrical appliances and even the arrival of electricity. , who did not arrive home until the early 1940s.

Dad had an old mule named Saint John. He was good at plowing with the old mule and never owned a tractor.

I hope that someday my grandsons will take an interest in all the things that came and went during their father’s time. This list is growing.

Technology is changing at a breakneck pace. A lot of things that we now take for granted come from the NASA space program.

I remember when smart boys in school wore slide rules on their belts. I’ve never owned one. Then the electronic calculator arrived. Not only did it replace the slide rule, but it also eliminated the adding machine, especially older models with a hand crank tabulator.

Someone at NASA also invented the camera phone. If I had a spaceman ray gun, I could use it on him.

Things ranging from infant formula to insulation have been given to us thanks to the space age.

But what about everyday business? Vinyl records are gone and are coming back now. However, most music is sold by downloading it to some type of digital device.

I worked in radio stations back in the days when you had to take a test and get a federal license. Now a computer monitors all functions and will call you if there is a problem. Many stations operate through the night without a loaded soul.

How about that microwave or VCR? I remember when a microwave cost you around $ 300. You can buy a basic one for $ 50 or less today.

Rotary phones have taken the path of the dinosaur. Many homes no longer have cable phones. I saw a show on TV where they put a phone in front of kids, and they had no idea what it was.

I might one day tell the boys about the internal combustion engine. I will do this while waiting for the car batteries to charge.

Gone are also the days when images were filmed. You took the film to the drugstore, and they sent it to be developed and printed. There was a moment of pure excitement as you opened the envelope and viewed your photos. Now, as someone returns from vacation, we’ve seen footage of every place they’ve stopped, what they must have eaten, and where they put their head.

I hope there are more fake mermaids, alligator farms, and places selling cold apple cider before I leave the planet. I also want to see the biggest crisps in the world and a giant fiberglass cow overlooking the highway. Some things should never be changed.

Harris Blackwood is a resident of Gainesville whose columns appear on the Weekend Life page and on


Leave A Reply