That radio still works?

Do you recognize the item in this picture?

Most of our kids have never used a transistor radio, but this one was my family’s connection to the world and what was happening after we lost electricity when Hurricane Sandy hit.

This little portable radio was one of my favorite possessions, a Christmas gift from circa 1970, I believe. I’m amazed it’s even still around. It only gets AM stations, since FM wasn’t really mainstream at the time — at least not where I lived. It even had the single ear piece I could plug in and use to listen in private, an attachment that has long since been lost.

Using the radio over those few days last week got me thinking about my attachment to it, in relation to my kids’ attachment to their iPods and cell phones and all other forms of electronic devices. Sure, this little radio was a simpler device in a simpler time, but it served much the same purpose, giving me the ability to listen to what I wanted to hear and tune out whatever I didn’t.

And even though it didn’t directly connect me with my friends, it enabled me to connect with the music (even on commercial AM radio) that meant something to me. I do think there’s a similarity there. The difference, of course, is that I didn’t keep my little radio with me 24/7, sometimes ignoring real life going on around me as my attention was consumed by the device.

Still, I’ll think of this little radio the next time I see a teenager (or other young person) plugged into their iPod, oblivious to the world.

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