Remember When You Couldn’t Watch TV With Someone Miles Away?

This is the first in the “He Said, She Said” series: This conversation between Scott and Sandi is about how television and other technology have created a different world.

Scott: After I retired and we decided to become “snowbirds” in southwest Florida we left a lot of our family and friends in Ohio.  I knew we would miss them but we could go back often and they could vacation in sunny warm Florida visiting with us.  We could spend more time with our daughter who lived in Florida. It seemed to be working out nicely and then… the coronavirus happened.  I’m glad we got to see our Ohio family in December especially now that we can’t even guess when we’ll be able to see them again.

Sandi: Yes, it was a good visit.  I was looking forward to our son and grandson coming for a visit over spring break and now that had to be canceled.  It’s been about 5 weeks since we began  “self-isolating.”  We had to come up with things to keep from getting bored so I decided to sew face masks and buttoned headbands for some friends who worked in health care.  When they said we should all wear masks if we went out, I made some for ourselves and the family.  It felt good to be doing something helpful.

Scott: I read a lot, kept the plants watered, and kept the lanai cleaned…

Sandi: And you took up a new hobby?

Scott: You mean doing jigsaw puzzles?

Sandi: Yeah, I was busy sewing, so you were on your own with those and that kept you busy.   You know, we watch the news and talk about the changes and negative impact on everyone because of the virus almost every day. But there are some silver linings in this whole thing, right? Thank goodness for technology… it has really changed our lives.

Scott: Yeah….like when our son called last week and asked if I wanted to watch a baseball game with him.  I had no idea what he was talking about. First of all, there are no games being played right now and second, he’s in Ohio and I’m in Florida about 1200 miles apart!

He said,  “How about watching the 1995 World Series game between the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves?”

I said, “How are you gonna’ do that?”

So, he tried to explain how we could each pull up that game on the internet and we could also FaceTime as we each watched.   I had no idea what he was talking about!

Sandi: I know just about enough to be dangerous and you guys made all kinds of fun and laughed at me while I was trying to get it working for you.   I had to hook up the laptop to the tv so you could watch the game on the television…then make sure we both hit the start arrow at the same time so you were at the same place at the same time in the game. Shame on you guys! I get no respect….lol!

Scott: So, everything is hooked up and then the cellphone rings. It is my son on FaceTime.  And then my grandson in Pittsburgh pops up and then my grandson in North Carolina pops up!  They’re all set up to watch the game too!  It was like all four of us were sitting together watching the game just like buddies sitting together in a pub.  Back in the day, we would call that “shits and giggles.” That was really special, especially feeling like we were all together for about 2-3 hours.

Sandi: I loved hearing you guys talking and laughing together.  Did you ever think you’d be watching TV with someone miles away? Do you remember the first time you saw a television?

Scott: I must have been about 8.  A neighbor lady got a TV and invited the neighborhood kids in to watch it one day.  She made popcorn and Kool-Aid for us. Then she turned on the TV and we watched a cooking show…we weren’t interested in cooking but we were glued to that TV.  It was like going to a movie theater right there in her living room!

Sandi: I remember our first TV.  I think I was about 7 and my grandpa came into the house carrying a box.  It had a 7-inch screen on the side.  You had to sit really close to even see it.   I remember watching The Howdy Doody Show, The Lone Ranger, and Roy Rogers. Do you remember the big sort of magnifying sheet you could put on the screen to make the picture larger?

Scott: Seemed like a good idea at the time, but it really didn’t work too well. It distorted the picture so much that you had to sit directly in front of it.

Sandi:  Remember using “rabbit ears” to move around to get good reception? There were 3 knobs, one was the off/on and volume knob, one was the channel selector, and the third was a tuner.  And there was no remote control.  You had to actually get up and turn the knobs manually!  And everything was in black and white. Do you remember when color programs first came out?

Scott: Probably in the 1960’s or early ’70s? There were only 3 channels, NBC, ABC, and CBS.  The programming went off about midnight after the news and ended with the national anthem.  Now there are hundreds of channels on 24/7.  And you can change the channels with a voice command.   You just hold a button down on the remote and say what you want to watch.

Sandi: My grandpa could never have even imagined all that’s possible now. Technology has made so many advances and added new words to our vocabulary.   We have the “inner tube,” “HappyFace,” Zoom, FaceTime, and weefee (wifi), just to name a few.

Scott: Like I always say, it’s a different world!


Scott & Sandi
Scott & Sandi
Scott retired from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Ohio after 40 years of service. While working every shift imaginable, he made time to coach softball and basketball for summer teams as well as high school, both boys and girls teams. Sandi was wife, mom, and homemaker for most of those years. They have 4 children, 6 grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. They are very fortunate to spend most of their time in sunny, warm southwest Florida. In 56 years together, they’ve seen and experienced many changes. As Scott likes to say, “It’s a different world” …especially the world we’re living in now.

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    • It is a different world and in these uncertain times we think it’s good to reflect on good times and good memories to help us get through all of this and hopefully come out a better world on the other side.
      Be safe and stay well Aldo!

  1. Scott and Sandi, thank you for bringing me back through your reflections to simpler times and what are now for me the fond frustrations of the “snow” experience and trying to get the channel that showed pro wrestling or the NHL playoff games to come in well enough to watch it on our black and white tv. Oh, man. Working those antennas became an art form!

    • Brian, glad it brought back memories for you… sorry for the reminder of the “snow”! We can laugh about the reception and tuning problems now although it certainly was frustrating then! Now we experience the frustration of a slow internet connection even though we supposedly have the fastest available! LOL

  2. Scott and Sandi — Your reflections here are precious. They reminded me of an extended view of the couples’ interviews interspersed throughout “When Harry Met Sally.”

    One of our TVs had a pay-box attached to it. If you wanted to watch a show – and there were three shows I watched religiously: “Combat,” “Twelve O’clock High,” and “Sky King” – you had to drop a quarter in the box before the TV would work. This could have been a way my parents were paying for the TV, or it could have been a way to control our viewing. We had to earn quarters to watch. As the British actor, John Houseman, made famous in a series of Smith Barney commercials: “They make money the old fashion way. You have to earn it.”

    • How funnyJeff! Awesome idea to make the kids pay to watch their programs. I love it! And When Harry met Sally was one of our favorite movies… terrific humor. Thanks for sharing your memories!

  3. Scott & Sandi-
    Thank you for sharing this slice of your life! It brought a bunch of fun memories to mind. Things I hadn’t remembered or thought about in years. My best memory was visiting my grandparents in Park Ridge, IL, in the summertime early in the 1970s. They were the biggest Chicago Cubs fans around. They ALWAYS had a TV in the kitchen for my G’ma while she was cooking and one for my G’pa in the living room so they could watch together and holler back and forth as the Cubs were (let’s face it usually not doing well) :-))! But they were always sharing the experience which is what made them the best of friends and the happiest of couples…for 66 years. Such fun memories. Thank you for sharing yours!

    • What a lovely memory! Thank you for sharing that with us Catherine. I’m guessing the Cub’s recent world series win had a special place in your heart. I know how I felt when my younger brother’s favorite team won the Super Bowl 2 years after he passed away…..all I could think of was how he would have loved to be there and celebrate that win…. How wonderful your grandparents had 66 happy years together! Warms your heart!

  4. I absolutely loved reading this today Scott and Sandi! It made my day to hear your adventures and the joy that cane from being able to spend time with family through the internet. Hearing you recall the early days of tv reminded me of my youth and how we had a black and white tv. I remember when we first got a color tv. Then when we got the first tv with a remote! We also lived near a military base and inevitably a plane would fly over just as a show was ending and I would never know if Batman escaped! Looking forward to more of your posts.

  5. One of my favorite memories emerged while reading this, Sandi & Scott: Watching The Wizard of Oz for the first time. I’ll never forget sitting with my family to watch it, popcorn and soda (which was a big deal in our house), and that moment when it went from black & white to Technicolor. WOW. That was such a vivid transformation, and when I think about it, a great metaphor for what we’re experiencing right now, that sudden, dramatic shift.

    I have to admit that I covered my eyes when the monkeys showed up, that was just so creepy.

    Terrific contribution, thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thank you Sarah, this conversation made me think of something else… most everything was family friendly. We didn’t have to “screen” what our kids watched…. of course we didn’t realize it at the time. And color tv was amazing! That made everything seem so much more real!
      Have a terrific day!

  6. Oh my gosh, Scott and Sandi! I love this “blast from the past,” so much! I remember the excitement of having our first “UHF” channel. And you’re right: People actually had to get off their butts to change the stations. Thank you for this. I’m looking forward to more!

    • Lots of things we take for granted now.. right? Lots of memories to talk and laugh about!
      Remember the good times!

  7. This was absolutely delightful, Scott and Sandi! Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your wonderful parents with us. I think I’ve even heard you say, “shits and giggles” before, which totally makes me smile! What a fun piece!

  8. Scott and Sandi, what fantastic perspective! I remember watching black and white television. My folks were pretty poor, and color television wasn’t in our future until I was in middle school. My dad *still* jokes that he had “six remote controls” to change the channel for him! 🙂

    • Hi Sarah, I remember those early years of the tiny black & white tv and when we bought our first large console piece of furniture color tv…… we were really moving up in the world! LOL Then OMG…. we had to replace the Magnavox TV because they were catching on fire! Ours didn’t, but just to be safe we got rid of it immediately…. those were the days! And yes, we had our kids to change channels for us, too!
      stay well!

    • Thank you Laura for your kind comments! We all need more sunshine and laughter in our world. It’s wonderful to meet so many nice people!
      Be well!

  9. Oh wow. This was so sweet, ..I think I remember a coat hanger once when the rabbit ears broke off… oh and when you actually had to bribe your sublingual to manually change the channel! Thanks for the charge of memories here Scott and Sandi🙏🙏🙏

  10. Scott and Sandi – Welcome to the BC360 family where the engagement is respectful and the family is encouraging. As your followers grow, you will encounter new friends that become dear to you. Wonderful first article. Thanks for the memories.

  11. Scott and Sandi, I love this so much! I remember my parent’s black and white TV with 4 channels PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS and watching the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on PBS. I remember having to get up off the couch to change the channels. My parent’s had placed it on the top shelf of a bookshelf so I also had to grab a chair to climb on top of first before turning that knob. I remember the fuzzy gray that appeared when you hadn’t gotten to the correct number yet.

    My parents loved watching the Lawrence Welk Show on Saturday nights. I never saw the Wizard of Oz in color until I was in my thirties. When that movie came on TV, my parents still had their black and white original. So many memories!

    How great that nowadays technology brings us together so at least we can see each other’s faces through that small screen!

    Thank you so much for sharing as this allowed me to open up several DVR memories of my own!

    • Hi Laura…. Sunday evenings… great memories of our girls watching Wonderful World of Disney! They had their favorite programs and most everything shown was family friendly so we all watched together. That brings back many good memories for us.
      Thanks for sharing your memories with us!

  12. Thank you for sharing this conversation! I was raised in the VHS era, so the new technology is certainly advancement. I remember when the first Nintendo came out. We’d all go to a friends house and watch him play Zelda! Its true that times have changed. But they always will! I enjoyed this piece very much and look forward to you future contributions. Welcome to the group!

    • Thanks JoAnna…..VHS…. actually we still have a VCR connected to one television. We have some old video cassettes of family events that we occasionally pop in and watch. Brings back memories of good times. (Remember when most homes only had ONE TV and everyone fought to have it on the channel they wanted to watch?) We went through with the pong, pac man, Nintendo era with our kids…early technology experience for them!

  13. Wohohoooooo what is this exquisite and very special conversation folks! You definitely won my heart, succeeded in drawing a peaceful smile on my face, and even gave me some chills with this simple; still such a powerful essay full of magic! 💙🧚‍♀️🤗

    Thank you for having invited me to your beautiful world Scott & Sandy! 🙏🌞🙏

    • Thank you Myriam for your lovely comment! Making others smile makes us smile too! Wishing you much peace and many smiles!

  14. It sure is a different world… and very much the same. Thanks for sparking my memory of going to the TV Repair store, in the 70s, to get new tubes to fix our TV. And yes, I totally forgot about programming ending at a certain hour and just seeing “snow”. What would a kid today do if they saw “snow”? haha! It’s like those videos of a kid trying to figure out a rotary telephone. haha! Thankfully, I didn’t go blind or die from sitting to close to the TV…. so I could easily change channels, of course. Phew!

    • Oh yes… the TV tubes! And as the TV screens got larger… so did the console or housing the portable was in. And then there were stereo speakers.. so the console got even bigger! Why did they say we’d go blind if we sat too close anyway? LOL I think maybe if kids today saw “snow” they’d say they need a new device!

    • I, too, had forgotten about the National Anthem and the “snow” that followed, Kevin. But, now I remember when we saw the snow we were up waaaay past our bedtimes! LOL

    • Thank you Lynn. We are looking forward to others sharing good and funny memories of how things were “in the good old days”.
      Be well and remember the good times!

  15. Thanks, folks.
    Our first TV was really just a piece of furniture. We were the first in the neighborhood to get a substantial antenna – my father was up on the roof moving it around while we all shouted out instructions. Then, OMG, TV dinners – turkey, mashed potatoes (more or less), mixed veges and some kind of little starch thingie masquerading as a roll, I believe.
    Jack Parr, TW3, the list goes on.
    I wonder how our kids (and grandkids) will reminisce about this tsunami?
    Be good.
    And well.

    • Oh yes…that first console TV was indeed a piece of furniture. It was almost as important that the console style fit in with your decor as the brand of TV! And you definitely had to have the TV dinners so you could eat while you watched your programs! I think maybe we started snacking more than we did BTV (before TV)? Maybe because those TV dinners were less than satisfying? LOL
      Stay safe and well!

    • Only 2 channels? Actually I guess we really only had 2 also because we hardly ever watched one of them because the reception was so bad…. at least you had a remote even if it was a wired one….it is a different world… now most everything is wireless!

  16. Scott and Sandi, I clearly (and not so dearly) remember rabbit ears. Those were for VHF stations. I also remember when Channel 30 in Connecticut came online as a UHF station, which required an antenna that looked like a coat hanger bent into a circle and attached with two screws to the back of the TV. When my brother and I would sneak downstairs on Saturday mornings to watch The Three Stooges, we’d have to monkey with that thing forever in hopes of getting a reasonably viewable picture.

    Thank you for sharing your memories.

    • Clearly you are MUCH older than I am, Mark. I don’t remember any of that! Okay… alright… I totally remember it all. And, I remember using a coat hanger and aluminum foil for “extra reception.”

    • Ah, yes. The old coat hanger and aluminum foil trick. By the way, Melissa, I’d have let you get away with being MUCH younger. 😉

    • Thank you for your comment…it made us laugh. We forgot about the circle antenna! I think it took longer to tune in a decent picture than the program itself lasted! Stay safe and remember the good times!