News Post

The Challenge of Change

September 24, 2022

The Challenge of Change.

Without question, the nature and disposition of individual persons vary greatly, so that while one is comfortable with changes that come about, another may be offset by the tweak in his or her’s everyday world.  Routine settles some of us, and a clock whose chimed activity is identical to that of  yesterday’s when its hands pointed to the same degree ushers in a certain contentment, even coziness. Others of us become restless with sameness, are easily bored, and anticipate the excitement of change. How will it feel? Will it look differently? Smell? Taste?

One of my points of gratitude.

God has blessed me with a long, essentially healthy life. During my 80 plus years on this delightful planet of ours I’ve seen multiple changes; changes in almost every area of my life. I’ve often said to those about me, however, that the biggest change I have seen is in the field of communication. Cars, although looking radically different from those I rode in when I was four or five or even 15 or 16, are much the same. They go faster, they’re more dependable, and have various bells and whistles which were unheard of a generation or two ago. But the basic design is the same; four wheels, a motor, a transmission, and a box of sorts in which the passengers ride. Airplanes, though scarce in my childhood years, and in which I did not fly until I was an adult, are in many ways the same. A fuselage, wings, and an engine. Houses are similar; some modest, some of grandeur. (A major housing transformation for which I perpetually bow in thanks is the moving inside of toilet facilities. Although in my childhood home we always had that degree of comfort, I recall visiting some of my cousins who taught me the routine of the Sears and Roebuck catalogue maneuver, and I recall the howling cold wind that would sweep through the openings in those weathered slatted two-hole facilities.)

But communication.

Ah, therein lies a completely new field. Dick Tracy, of comic book fame, lurks in my memory banks as the man with the magic radio/watch. The character was created by Chester Gould; the strip made its debut on October 4, 1931 in the Detroit Mirror. Gould both wrote and drew the strip. It was on January 13, 1946 that the 2-way wrist radio became one of the strip's most immediately recognizable icons, worn as a wristwatch by Tracy and other members of the police department of which he was a part. It is said this radio wristwatch influenced Martin Cooper’s invention of the mobile phone, and may have inspired later smartwatches.

My childhood home.

we had one black telephone, connected to a wall by a long cord. To make a call, we lifted the handset from its cradle and listened for the operator who would say, “Number please.” In a far away office she would pull cables and insert plugs and connect us with our desired party. Later we would have dial phones, and I recall our number was 24555. No prefix, only those 5 numbers. Now everyone has a phone. They’re in our purses, protruding from our ears, in our hip pockets, and mounted on the dashboards of our cars. Babies have phones, and they know how to play games on the phone they either personally own or that belongs to his/her parents, and which is given to baby to entertain him. Television sets beam images from around the world into living rooms, and then there is the absolute magic of computers and the the beloved internet. Google has replaced the reference librarian and will tell me anything I need to know within seconds. With little effort I can speak to someone around the world, and if I want to I can FaceTime them and watch as they step about Paris, France or as they plow through the “deepest, darkest” jungle of Paddington Bear’s Peru. So yes, it is within the communication field that I have seen the most significant transformation during my life time.


Shirley Buxton