I was watching Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfus in the 1973 film, American Graffiti the other night. I noticed how music set the theme of the high schoolers’ last night together. There was the coffee shop jukebox, the car radios and the 45 rpm records playing such hits as “At the Hop.” Where are they now? Not the students, but the records and jukeboxes?
Today’s kids have their phones in hand and plugs in their ears to stay connected.
I grew up listening to music on 45 rpm discs, snorting at my folks’ old RCA 78 rpm record player in a giant piece of furniture. But then we were all saved by the cassette tape back in the ‘60s. Oh, there was the eight-track tape cartridge that disappeared rather quickly. Singers who were recorded only on eight-track were soon orphaned, never to be heard from again.
This is the speed of technology.
In 1965, I was working at Western Electric up in the Kearny, NJ, Meadows. AT&T introduced the Touch Tone while I was there, and asked visitors how much quicker they could use the new technology. Well, for me, I found I was making three wrong numbers in the time it used to take to make one. (Later I wondered why we continue to say we’re “dialing” a phone number?)
My trouble is that I like old stuff and feel a kind of loss when those objects disappear, My grandmother’s mechanical carpet sweeper with a wooden body was an architectural beauty. My Dad’s brace and bits are still terrific for drilling boards. And Mom’s cast iron frying pans are good for another century.
I know this dates me, but I started working as a cub newspaper reporter using a Royal manual typewriter and a Speed Graphic camera that could have been the property of Superman’s Clark Kent.
It’s difficult playing catch-up when the world is accelerating. I tried sharing my CDs with my daughter, knowing she liked certain artists. But she said, “No more CD player at home. No phonograph either. We stream everything from our phones.”
Okay. I understand, and I can get with the program. All I have to do is get one of the kids to bail me out when the computer acts crazy and files disappear. Then I go back to my old-timey music and typewriter.