It’s late at night and the house is quiet with all asleep, except for me. I have my treasured transistor radio on and it is tuned to ” WLS, 890, in Chicago” several hundred miles down the lakeshore. Its 50,000 watts blast over the air waves make it easily the Midwest’s most listened to station. It is my only salvation for living far from any neighbors or a nearby town. Growing up in rural northern Michigan could be very lonely. But tonight I am cool because I am listening to my favorite DJ, Dick Biondi and Bob Hale if I leave the radio on all night. nighttime AM radio waves secretly connect me to life beyond my bedroom walls to the big city and the popular music playing there. I listen to talk that only a teenager could appreciate and think is funny. The familiar jingle still remains in my memory. In the not so distant past, AM radio was the way I listened to music in the car and in my bedroom, that is if I was not using my record player. How times have changed.
I thought my radio connected me to the greater world, then. It still does, but now it is through my Ham Radio. I can listen to stations around the world and to people having a coffee clutch via radio, and enter into their conversation. I can Skype across continents, text world wide using my cell phone, find out just about anything I want to know with a few key strokes on my laptop or iPhone. I don’t have to be held captive listening to music playing on the radio, now I can save hundreds and thousands of songs and podcasts on my iPod, allowing me to play what I feel at the moment.
As I lay in bed last night thinking about this and how far communication has come in my lifetime, suddenly the room lights up. My husband asks what the light is. Then we realize it is my iPhone lighting up with a picture of a sunset in Hawaii sent through text messaging. There, my friend Maggie was sitting watching a vivid sun set over the Pacific thousands of miles away and we were experiencing it simultaneously. How could she know that I was pondering just how very small our world has become!