"Hey grandpa, what's a camera?" Well little Timmy, there are times when a smartphone camera just isn't good enough. "Tell me about the olden days papa!" Uh, where to begin. Most of us could choose from 3 or 4 over the air TV signals. Remember messing with "rabbit ear" antennas to get a better signal? Good times. The snap, crackle and pop of AM radio gave way to the silky smoothness of FM (thank you for immortalizing that transition, Steely Dan).

You may be retro, coming of age in the 70s or 80s, if you remember tinkering with any of the following. How many of these did you actually use growing up?

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Rotary Phone

I still remember my beige, corded AT&T Trimline phone. In fact I remember waiting by the phone. Answering machines were a huge breakthrough back in the day! One great thing about a phone that plugs into the wall - it would work even when the power went out. Over the years marketers and spammers found our landline number so we eventually parted ways.

Credit: Paul Douglas
Credit: Paul Douglas
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Film Camera

Paul Simon sang about Kodachrome, and I still have (mostly) fond memories of going to the camera store to get my film pictures developed. Now, with digital, we have instant gratification, but back in the 70s you had to wait and wonder if your photos would turn out. I no longer use film but the digital (SD) camera above has a 400x zoom, which you can't do on a smartphone, at least not yet.

Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images
Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images
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Pagers

Before the age of cell phones many of us walked around like uber-nerds with pagers on our belts, to receive important notifications. Sort of like old fashioned texts. Some people still use pagers and flip phones and I am not judging!

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images
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Listened to a Vinyl Record

I love my wife but during one of our many moves my record collection got "lost" and I have questions. Oh well - music still sounds better on vinyl than mp3.

Photo by Andreas Gebert/Getty Images
Photo by Andreas Gebert/Getty Images
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Sent a Postcard

Before you could send a photo as a text anywhere in the world in real time we would purchase postcards and write a (cursive!) hand-written note, subtly bragging about where we were at the moment. Satisfying, and very retro.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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Browsed the Yellow Pages

Well little Johnny, before Google Maps we would browse the Yellow Pages to find a particular store or company. And the annual arrival of the White Pages was always a minor celebration (when we found our name and home phone number listed correctly). Not sure I would try that today - what were we thinking?

Photo by Dean Treml/Red Bull via Getty Images
Photo by Dean Treml/Red Bull via Getty Images
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Navigated Roads Using Paper Maps

Every year we would go to AAA and pick up a supply of state and national maps (paper) and use these to somehow get around. Today we plug an address into Google or Apple maps and the smartphone does all the work, but there was a day and age when we had to actually think about where we were going!

Who needs Google? Credit: Paul Douglas
Who needs Google? Credit: Paul Douglas
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Owned an Encyclopedia

Proving that I'm an old fart, the photo above is from our library. My wife wanted to toss our encyclopedia a few years ago and I rescued them from the dumpster. Someday I want to show my grandchildren how we accessed information before Google.

So how did you do? Wait, you used all 8 of the retro "tools" above? No, you're not old - you're just...experienced. Good memories. Well, mostly-good.

Thanks for coming along for a lazy walk down Memory Lane.

12 Valuable Vinyl Records to Look For in 2022

Vinyl records are hot once again and there are many of the classics that are worth a lot of money. Mighty John the Record Guy is one of the nation's top experts on vinyl records from www.MoneyMusic.com, and he has a list of 12 records from the Pop, Rock and Roll and even the pre-war Blues era, that are worth a lot of money to kick off 2022. Check this list carefully because you might have one of these records in your attic. Record values are subject to change and are mostly based on the quality of the record. It's also almost always important to have the record picture sleeve, if applicable.

Gallery Credit: Bill Keeler

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