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Welcome Wednesday: Retro Reminisce

Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

Welcome to another wonderful Wednesday Everyone!

My wife and I have been doing a basement cleanup and purge (we've collected some things for far too long).

One of the things we decided it was time to part with were our old VHS tapes from when we were both kids.  We don't have a VCR anymore and therefore these tapes are using up space and we can't use them.

This made me remember of one of my fondest memories with VHS tapes.  Picking a movie you want to watch putting it in and realizing that your jerk sibling didn't rewind it before putting it back.

Now you had to wait the agonizing 2-3 minutes it took to rewind the tape before you could watch it.

My question for all of you this week, what "challenges" did you have when you were younger that don't exist now because they have been replaced with something else.

Please let me know in the comments.


One challenge was sitting on the floor with the wired remove for the VCR since the cable was only 6 foot long and the couch was 8-9 feet from the TV.  Also, the maximum you could record a program was 7 days in the future...yes, I'm that old. LOL 

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

LOL @Anthony Corbi I remember also sitting by the VCR to "stop" recording during commercials so that you didn't have to fast forward through them when you went to watch it again later ;)

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Whoa, you brought me back to my youth. :D

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

Oh, that's an easy one - growing up we only had three channels for TV. And no remote!! Which I guess in hindsight is good that we only had 3 channels.  :-)

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

I guess in a way @John Funk you didn't really have the problem of deciding what you were going to watch with only 3 channels :D

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

Definitely not  lol

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Right there with you John. Although, on a nice weather day, if you adjusted the rabbit ears just right we'd get a couple additional channels. Needless to say, we didn't watch much TV back then.

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In school, if we had a paper to write, we actually had to go to the library (a building or room full of books) and check out a book. Usually an encyclopedia (a really thick book with subjects organized alphabetically). LOL!

Now, kids don't even get books for subjects in school. What do they put in their backpacks and what do they use all those brown paper bags for (we used to use them to cover our school books)?

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

So true!

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

Ha!  Nice one, @Diane Chaski!  I'm of an age where I remember encyclopedias in my early school years, which became digital version as I was leaving for high school, and simply using a web browser became standard practice around my college days.

I do still remember having to write foot notes that provided my sources for everything that I referenced for papers.

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I still remember when we were working on projects on primary school, we had to use books to get the information. It took sooo much time to prepare something meaningful :)

Now we can just "google" everything, validate information and put it together... or just reuse some existing text... in the worst case, of course :D

The World Book Encyclopedia (22 Volume Set): William H. Nault:  9780716600800: Books

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

Also the fact that if you need the same book as someone else you had to wait until they were finished you didn't get your own copy (like a webpage) ;)

Yeah, exactly... but I used to read a lot of books when I was a kid, so it was not issue. But I can't imagine I'm working like that right now...:D

Kevin Tuei Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

Back in the day we had these 5-CD changer system we used to listen to music apart from the radio cassette. 

For you to get to the audio track you want to listen you had to go through the hustle of changing through the cd and ejecting to check the audio number on the CD cover. 


Let me not even talk about the cassette tape and the tape getting stuck while the parents were away and told you not to touch the cassette player. Nowadays with Spotify, Soundcloud, musicmatch, YouTube etc you just tap and listen. 

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

Unraveled cassette tape was the worst!  Unfortunately, I go all the way back to the predecessor - 8 track tapes!

That cassette tape was exactly the first thing that jumped into my mind as well :-)

Daniel Eads Atlassian Team Apr 14, 2021


Remembering your friend's phone number. Hoping they were home when you called. Having someone take a message if they weren't, and wondering if the message got passed on or not.

If you didn't have someone's phone number (or forgot - gasp!) - there was a chance you could look it up by their family name in your local phone book. Are you a kid? Sure hope you know what your friend's parents names are. Otherwise, you'll have to call someone else and hope that person has your friend's phone number.

These days you're just a few browser clicks away from nearly anyone in the world, no matter how often they move. It's a bit odd to consider you can contact any of your former classmates within a minute or two, when it used to be that you might never be able to reach someone again after graduation.

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

hehe @Daniel Eads that also reminds me of being yelled at by my Mom to "get off the internet" because my aunt will be calling soon.  :D

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Daniel Eads Atlassian Team Apr 14, 2021

Guilty admission: I used to pick up a phone when my sister had been online "too long" and start pushing buttons. The modem would disconnect, she'd have to redial the connection... lather, rinse, and repeat until she gave up and got off the computer. 😅

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I grew up in a small town and when I was 7 or 8 we only had to dial the last 4 digits of a phone number. Yes, I'm THAT old.

I can remember four 'phone numbers.  

My current mobile one that I picked up in a shop in Canary Wharf where it was £100 cheaper to get a new one than carry the old (and given the 'phone was under £200...)  Canary Wharf dates that one back to the late noughties.

My home land line, which I use to a) have internet b) deliveries c) give to spammers because I have a machine that can block them and the delivery people know that.

The one my parents beat into me when I started walking to school on my own (the area code has changed, I have no idea what it is now, but I remember the number after the bit where you don't need to enter the area code and BT assumes you are local)

My grandma's number because when my parents got tired of me during the summer holidays, they'd dump me at a railway station and say "go see grandma", and if the bus or train from New Street to Acock's Green wasn't working, I needed to be able to ring her to get picked up.   The bit about "remember that you have to tell the operator "Acock's Green" stuck along with the 4 digit telephone number.



Great Job!

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VHS?  You're all so young!

I have a few "challenges":

  • I was first allowed to stay up after 9pm if I was ready for bed and it was "Hill Street Blues" night as long as I went to bed as the credits started to roll (we got a VCR part way through the UK broadcasts, which was actually a pain for me, because the parents then went with "we've recorded it, go to bed", watch it tomorrow)
  • Saturday afternoons in the attic not understanding that the people in Star Trek who beamed down to the planet first were going to die because they were in red shirts.  
  • Seeing why Private Eye's Colemanballs column seems to be based on Ted Lowe's narrative that during the snooker, "for those of you watching in black and white, the pink ball is next to the green" (I'm pretty sure the colours I've quoted are wrong, but it makes the point)
  • Having to run to the kitchen because that's where the only phone in the house was (compare and contrast with me typing this on a computer with about 15 different voice call systems and looking to my right to see an ipad and two mobile 'phones with similar software and the ability to actually ring people)
  • Booking time to watch a programme on the idiot-box, and having to do that by reading magazines or newspapers
  • Having to queue up to vote in person, replaced by postal votes
  • Mix tapes
  • "remote" controls that were physically wired to the idiot-box and tripped up the cat.
  • Not having a cat to trip over the remote
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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

Thank you @Nic Brough _Adaptavist_ for giving me a good laugh!

I'm worried by which bit caused you to you laugh the most!

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

"VHS?  You're all so young!"

Well, I do remember Betamax and not having any form of recording TV.  Heck, I'm only three years younger than the internet (assuming the internet is dated to when two computers exchanged data packets remotely)

My family didn't have a Betamax, we stalled for a while and Dad eventually gave in and got a VHS box because mum and my sister wanted to do some time-shifting.  Mostly for "Neighbours", which I still think is a criminal waste of tape.

But I regard anyone who hasn't used punch cards as young, let alone the VHS...

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 15, 2021

Ah, the horrors of punch cards!  lol

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I also remember Betamax and not having the ability to record TV. I also remember Circus of the Stars, "very special episodes" of after-school specials, not having a microwave oven, having only one phone in the house, etc. 

I was talking to my considerably-younger sister the other day, and she doesn't remember when our TVs had push-buttons for each station, because there were only 4.

Oh! And calling your parents collect on a pay phone to come pick you up; you had a prearranged code word for each location that you'd give as your name, and then Mom or Dad would refuse the call but still know where to go.

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elizabeth_jones Community Leader Apr 14, 2021

Aluminum foil on the antenna of my tv to get a few stations because cable wasn't available in my area. Also, my parents making me get up to change the channel and adjust the volume because remotes weren't really a thing yet. 

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 15, 2021

You tend to get real creative with the rabbit ears.  :-)

Welcome Jimmy, one of the things i remember as a child that has been replaced is the clothes lines...MY God we use to have to get up at 6am on a Saturday Morning to hang out clothes and let them dry then go check on them, once they was dry hang out the next load. I do not miss those days and certainly I am grateful for the Dryers now a days.  I always say we as a people really should be grateful for a lot of the modern convenience: two sinks in a bathroom; well two bathrooms LOL all them I am grateful of. Enjoy your day Guys...

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 15, 2021

Yep - we had a clothes line, too. And the rushing outside to get the clothes off of the line when it would start to rain!

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We didn't have a phone. At all. Even no landline in our house.

I remember a time when I was studying in a high school (i am 29y now) and I have to communicate to my classmates to know homework assignment, or how to solve this tricky mathematical equation or at least call to some pretty girl or whatever and.. i can't! 

It was really challenging to me to walk a few blocks to my friend's house each time I want to just.. call somebody or get homework assignment...

I was happy when a phone booth appeared on our street, I bought cards with a minute limit... funny times)

телеыонная будка.png

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Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Apr 15, 2021

Great topic ! A lot of interesting and fun things to read!

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So many memories reading through all of these comments!  Here are a few of mine...

  • Having to pre-arrange a meeting time and place and make sure you were there because there was no way to call ahead and say you're running late.
  • Not being able to get through to someone on the phone because they didn't hang up their last call properly. Or worse, if someone called you and didn't hang up properly, then your line was out of action until they realised, since only the caller hanging up would release the call (in Australia anyway)
  • No caller ID 
  • Being able to look up anyone's number in the phonebook and give them a call whether you knew them or not
  • When a fancy presentation consisted of acetate sheets, coloured pens and an overhead projector
  • Never being able to tape a song off the radio without the start or end having the DJ speaking over the top of it
  • Covering the holes on a cassette with tape so it could be recorded over
  • Anyone remember when a 'pay packet' was literally a small envelope of cash?
  • Having to wait 10 minutes for the car to warm up before you could leave
  • Waiting in line at the bank to deposit or withdraw money
  • In our house, the 'automatic' garage door opener was mum beeping the horn and one of us kids going outside to open the door for her :D 
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John Funk Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

All great examples!

John Funk Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

I thought of a new one  :-)

MAPS!!! When there was no GPS, you had to get roadmaps (or an Atlas) to figure out how to get where you were going. 

Later it became printing out Mapquest directions. 

Now, my handheld computer speaks to me and tells me where to go. (fulfilling the function my wife used to perform when we had maps  :-)

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

LOL!  Even after GPS was a thing, my Dad made sure my first car had a book of local maps, "just in case the GPS wasn't working correctly". :D

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John Funk Community Leader Apr 16, 2021

Gotta love old school dads  :-)

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Brant Schroeder Community Leader Apr 19, 2021

I have GPS that I use for my outdoor adventures, backpacking or motorcycling, but I always bring a map still.  I also still have a map in my truck when I am in the woods because the GPS is not always right.  My kids think I am old school but a map and compass have never failed me and GPS has.  In town my phone all the way it is amazing how Google can help me avoid slowdowns or speed traps.

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As a balloon pilot (I know, check out my humble brag right there!), we use GPS all the time, but it's actually against regulations to fly without a paper map so we have to carry them too.

I do love a good old school paper map though.  Maybe because I had to sit a navigation exam to get my license so I know all the symbols etc. Or maybe just cos I'm a geek.  :D 

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Dave Liao Community Leader Apr 18, 2021

@Jimmy Seddon - hopefully you donated any special VHS classics to collectors or your local libraries? 😂

Of course, no one needs a VHS copy of Terminator 3. 🤖


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