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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

You used to have to do WHAT to watch TV?

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My daughter and her new husband are looking for a house.

What they're finding along the way is a new perspective on what makes for a good home, as well as an impromptu history lesson.

One happened the other day when they spotted something strange outside one prospective property: a tower-type thingy with what looked to be an antenna on top--an antenna that seemingly had the mysterious ability to rotate.

What's this, my son-in-law asked his real estate agent (who is also my best friend).   That, he explained, is a TV antenna and rotor which allows the viewer to bring in stations over-the-air in any direction.   They were quite the rage back in the day, he pointed out, before cable and satellite rendered such systems obsolete.

The son-in-law took a picture of the contraption and sent it to his buds, not unlike what a lot of us do when we go to a museum and see an ancient artifact.

Technology moves at a blistering pace.  It was just last night that my wife and I were using her IPad to check out some of the homes the kids are considering.  Our computer printer--which I still consider relatively new--crapped out yesterday and I'll be off to the store today to secure a new one, a wireless device that supposedly can turn e-mails on my desktop, IPad, laptop or phone into hard copy.

Demonry, I tell you.

We couldn't live without our antenna and rotor when I was growing up in Sheboygan in the 60's.   Being where we were--smack-dab between Milwaukee and Green Bay--setups like ours let you dip into both TV markets which was key when the Packers where playing in a city amidst a network TV blackout.   I remember trying to watch the 1965 championship game on a Milwaukee station with my parents on our pre-rotor-enhanced black and white RCA. 

There was more snow on our screen than there was in the front yard.

Stories like this can now be used to make the kids laugh--or roll their eyes, depending on their tolerance for "back in the day" tales.   My kids seem to like them.  Either that, or they're very good actors.    Such tales are even better when the artifact being referenced is right there in front of you, like the tower/rotor system my son-in-law discovered the other day.    

It's just one of the many things the kids are finding as they're seek out a place of their own.   Can't wait to see the looks on their faces if they stumble across a rotary phone. 

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