The Vintage Automobile Club of Ocean County, NJ welcomes you.
…chocolate mousse is not an endangered species. Continuing now with a continuation of last month’s report on technology.
In 1964 our family station wagon was fourteen years old. It had a flat-head V-8 and no air conditioning.
It was replaced that very year with a seven year old station wagon with a larger V-8 and no air conditioning.
In a way, our family cars were a reflection of how we lived. In 1964 our house was 95 years old. We had a
coal furnace, no air conditioning (just window fans), and one television set; seven channels in black and white.
Reception was provided by an aluminum super-structure strapped to the chimney. Our low tech life extended into
the kitchen. There was no coffee maker. My Mom only drank instant coffee. There was no blender; for what?
No electric can opener. The can opener was manual, and it was screwed to the kitchen door frame. It was mostly
used to summon the cat to din-din. If a recipe called for ground meet, a manual grinder was clamped to the
kitchen table. I never cared for ham, so I used that grinder to make myself ham salad. But, we did had one of
those marvelous inventions where you put raw vegetables in a jar, screw on the lid, then smack a big red spring
loaded knob which forced an x-shaped four bladed slicer into the vegetables. Onions too!
In the mid ‘60’s our lives, and the lives of all Americans, began to change. After my Mom called the family for
nightly dinner, the last thing she always placed on the table was the meat, except Fridays when we could not eat
meat. We had fish sticks on Friday. Bleah.
One night as she placed what we all knew would be a delicious pot roast on the table, she went back into the kitchen
and came back with…are you ready? An electric carving knife! We were all amazed, to say the least. My Dad
said, “What’ll they think of next?” Actually, he said that a lot. I don’t know if he was kidding or easily impressed.
Not long after that, my parents won a small color TV in a church raffle, which they placed in their bedroom and
left the ‘ol black and white downstairs. There were times, though, when they were out and I could watch their
TV while lying on their bed. I think I was a high school senior the first time I watched Bonanza in color.
By the time our country landed a man on the moon, technology was taking an upswing; not just for big business,
but for Joe Lunchbox as well. Until I was in my early 20’s, the only air conditioning I experienced was at the
movies. Then, in 1973 I bought a slightly used 1972 Ford Gran Torino—with air conditioning! A few years after
that I got married and we moved into an apartment with A/C. Finally, I was able to sleep well all night and not
wake up in a sweaty puddle.
Innovations seemed to come so fast to our household that I’m not sure in what order technological advances took
place. Take the telephone for instance. In my lifetime I went through the party line, dialing to make a call,
touch-tone dialing, an answering machine connected to the phone, (remember how uncomfortable you felt the first
time you had to leave a message?) And then we had phones that includedan answering service, caller ID, and now
cell phones. I think I was the last one in my family to own a cell phone. For the first 50 years of my life I
didn’t own a cell phone, now I panic every time I leave the house without it. I now own a smart phone. It wasn’t
my idea to get one; it was thrust upon me one Christmas. So now I can receive and return e-mails, I can take
photos and videos, go on Face Book, play games, check the weather, and I can find out how the fishing is in
Tishaminga. Continued next month.
Beta Max gave way to VCR’s and renting movies on VHS. Now on my TV I can choose from hundreds of movies. I
can record my favorite shows and watch them at leisure. I can even go to You Tube and watch shows I knew as a kid.
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