In this digital age, I wonder how many people still use radios. I rarely do, now that I have a smart speaker that can play the stations to which I enjoy listening.
When I was growing up in Tucson, Arizona, during the 1960s, I had a transistor radio. I loved carrying it around the house, listening to my favorite popular songs, and occasionally calling in requests. When I was a little older, I discovered an easy listening station with some classical programming that I also liked.
That radio lasted until we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, in the summer of 1973. We stayed with Grandma for a couple of months until we found a house of our own. I slept with Grandma and loved waking up to her radio each morning. She preferred news programming. At the age of twelve, I couldn’t understand why but soon learned from her the importance of knowing what was going on in the world.
After we were settled in a home of our own, I got a clock radio for Christmas. Because of my limited vision, although I could read the time on the digital display, I couldn’t set it or the alarm. But I enjoyed waking up each morning to the same news programming and listening to popular music.
When I was in high school, one of our AM stations started broadcasting old episodes of The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, and some comedy. An FM station broadcasted a mystery theater program. These helped me escape in a way television never did because no vision was required to know what was going on.
In college, my favorite shows were those containing count-downs of the most popular songs in a given week. When my clock radio finally quit working, I asked my parents for another radio for my birthday during the summer of 1984 and got a lot more. First, there was a receiver, then a cassette deck. For Christmas that year, I got a Cd player. It was more than I could ever have dreamed, and since many of my friends had stereos, I was elated. A year later, I lost interest in popular music when I discovered public radio and enjoyed news, classical music, jazz, and programs like A Prairie Home Companion.
Through the years, I continued listening to public radio. I still do today but not as much as I used to. I’ve re-kindled my interest in songs that were popular when I was growing up. While working, I often ask my smart speaker to play oldies stations. My favorite is Mushroom FM. I rarely use a radio now.
How about you? What do you remember about radios when you were growing up? Do you still use one today?
The above essay was also posted here in August of 2019. I’ve since revised it.
Thanks to beetleypete for inspiring my Life’s Alphabet series with a similar one he posted last December. Every day, he wrote about his life, using a consecutive letter of the alphabet. You can check out his blog here.
Photo Courtesy of Tess Anderson Photography
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New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
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Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?