Two Channels

That's the way it was growing up. Only two channels on TV, not to mention that it was in living black and white. Also you had to turn it on with no remote, go find something else to do until the tubes warmed up producing an image, and then adjust it with rabbit ears to bring it in clearer. If I did all my chores I was allowed to watch a program on television and if I did them all week I could watch Saturday morning cartoons. It didn't take me long to figure out that television was less entertaining than the great outdoors.
There were always toads in the window wells to borrow for the days ride in my new convertible toy cadillacs I got as birthday gifts. If we lived near a woods or pond I was gone all day playing with the neighbor boys and girls grabbing sticks or skipping stones. We ignored mosquito bites, poison ivy, and sunburn because their was another snake or turtle that definately needed to be played with. We made our own fun back then. We built stick and leaf forts, played in the mud, and dug for buried treasure. We handed down tales of "Old Man Miller" who lived in the back part of the woods, to the younger kids. If you got too close to his shack or even saw his shack you were already a gonner, so stay this side of the creek and you will surely make it home.
There were days spent shooting hoops at the park, back then you didn't need to worry about getting nabbed by a child molester. There was always a quick game of 500 you could play on any open field. Frisbees and superballs, and in the winter, saucers, sleds, and skates and snow forts were all a kid needed. Girls were just as boys back then. We all played together. My mother would stand on the porch and blow a referee whistle. If I wasn't home in five minutes I couldn't go out tomorrow and no TV or Saturday morning cartoons. I always had to do chores before I was ever allowed to go out on any given day but to do the chores and miss curfew and lose my outdoor and TV time just wasn't worth it. It only happened once that I recall and it really sucked.
Now we have over 100 channels, remote controls, wireless signals from satellites, TVs that are flat and hung on a wall or ceiling if you prefer. They only take a few seconds to produce a High Definition picture. But yet, there still is nothing on. Even Saturday morning cartoons aren't as good as they once were. Aww shucks. I still have to do my chores before I can go outside to do more chores. But I still look for the toads and turtles and listen to the birds and watch children playing an organized game of soccer with parents close by. I never see children playing alone and free as we use to. I love the outdoors still. I love being home as well. I don't need a whistle anymore to avoid penalties. It wouldn't be a motivator, as there isn't anything on TV that can stimulate me as much as the great outdoors.  
Mehameha Mehameha
51-55, M
3 Responses Oct 28, 2011

Beautifully written and very nostalgic. I remember skimming stones in the river and mud puddles, collecting snails, picking dandelions and popping off the flower heads as we said "Momma had a baby and it's head popped off." I remember only two channel, and the 4 O'clock movie and the 8 O'clock movie and cartoons after school. There are no cartoons now to compare with bugs bunny, tweetie bird, or The Pink Panther. We waited all year for Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory to come on, or Wizard of Oz, and at Christmas there was A Christmas Carol. We went to a theater to see It's a Wonderful Life. I spent a lot of time in my room making things and doing art. My sister would yell "Waltons!!!" Once a week and I'd come running. It was the only show I liked, other than Batman after school, same Bat time, same Bat channel.

So true, I think that's why younger generations of children are less creative and have less imaginations that us 'older folks'. They are always entertained by someone so they don't need to entertain themselves. They have their entire lives organized and arranged so they never learn to do that for themselves. The worst part is that they rarely have alone time away from their parents so they don't become self assured people until they go to college or move out of their parent's home. Even then there's people ready to direct them toward what they think they 'should do' with their time rather than figuring it out for themselves.

I have to agree. But the education tools we have todayare much better. I have always been a student at heart and I am always learning to keep up with those young people today. Or I WILL get old, LOL.

Those were definitely more innocent times. Today's children will never experience the joys that we had. I know I was always with my own children when they were outside. Childhood is not what it was. It is sad that we cannot allow them the freedoms we had.

Thanks for reading. I was so fortunate to be a kid at the right time. The kids of today have so many dangers we never faced. That should mean closer families but even that is rare these days. My heart goes out to our youth. I pray we find ways to correct our mismanagement of innocence. They deserve to be as free as I once was.

Yes, todays' kids deserve the freedom to be kids. Even "play dates" are organized! Spontaneity is sadly lacking for the children of today!