Gone are the good old days! Were they really? My Pastor said at church today that its not a good statement to make especially if you were hustling back in the day. Well I just think there are some memories we would always think back on and have a good laugh. An example is how we got on without our smartphones, tablets and laptops. Do you remember how we had to sit by the house phone; in this case Ghana TeleComm waiting for a friend to call at 2pm? Or how we had to use a pen to rewind a music cassette? Let me share with you my experiences then and now of how far technology has changed the everyday Ghanaian lifestyle.

Telephone : 

Ghana TeleComm was all Ghanaians had some 20 years and more ago. Phones looked like this.

Man, having to dial numbers especially with lots of zeros in it was so tiresome! And the noise from the ringing! Almost every home had a landline phone, if you didn’t, you could give your neighbors phone number to a relative for emergency calls. I remember next-door neighbors coming by the house to wait for an important phone call as early as 8am! I dont know about you but it was never good feeling having my dad sitting close to the phone whilst i was on the phone talking to a High School crush! I had to store all my friends contact numbers and postal addresses in a diary which I dared not lose. Soon mobile communications started trooping into the country with Spacefon (MTN) and Mobitel being the first. Now I had to memorise long cell phone numbers to dial on the landline. Do you remember the size of the Mobitel phones? Gargantuan! Drop that phone 10stories high and it would work fine afterwards. It was only the bourgeois who could afford those phones. To get a cell phone number was only privy to whom you know especially when One Touch also came into the mobile communications market. It cost about 120,000 cedis (GhC 12) then. Selling now at GHC1 at a shop near you. Ghana TeleComm then came up with phone booths and phone cards to give people without cell phones the chance to also make calls when outside the home. I was lucky to have one installed right outside my house and would often use it to make international calls. My first cell phone was a Motorolla V50. Classic!

What was your first mobile phone?

Mails: 

We all wrote letters back in the days of junior and senior secondary schools. I loved to write. Whether it was writing to penpals (now Facebook) or writing to my Dad and begging him for school groceries, it was such fun! Those days of girls spraying their letters with perfume or embossing kisses on that blue writing pad; guys writing 2 pages of love poetry and all kinds of lies lol! (you are the only beauty of my valley) ; receiving Valentine cards and the joy of getting stamps for your letter! sweet memories. What I couldn’t stand was the wait of a reply from friends! Imagine writing to your boyfriend in another school and having to wait about a week in high expectancy for a reply. When the expected letter delays a bit, you can’t help but wonder whether you have been dumped or if your letter got lost in the post. It was so stressful on a young woman’s heart! Everyday after lunch I would gather with other girls around the mail girl as she called out names of recipients. Only gnashers didn’t get mail. Lol! I was amused to find out just last year from my Dad that he had kept all my letters from my days in Mfantsiman! Technology has now given us emails which we sometimes don’t even read! I think the next time someone asks me for my email I would give them my postal address just to see the expression on their face.

Music-

the young people of today will never know how it feels to use a pen to roll a cassette tape!

Neither will they ever get to hear their parents telling them to turn the LP record of the gramophone. My dad had one of those cool LP players thanks to his love for classic jazz albums by Ella Fitzgerald, Sam Cooke, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. He taught me how to turn the record the minute i was as tall as the records table, and how to gently place the pin to get some music going. Thinking back on the days of music and video cassette puts a smile on my face. Whenever i wanted to record a song from JoyFm i would wait patiently by the radio and press record immediately the music started and would pray silently that no jingle would interfere till it was done. Old school downloading for you. When the cassette runs, a pen was always handy to get it playing again.

Video cassettes were more tough to deal with. Whenever we were watching a movie and it started showing crazy lines I would eject it, hit the tape several times on my palm and it would be right as rain. But the tapes often suffered from mould due to high humidity temperatures and it was instantly condemned. We live in a world of NetFlix, DVD’s, Blu-ray discs etc which have transformed the world of videos and movies.

Computers: 

the first computer I saw was about 10 kilos on the heavy side and typing revealed DOS language. My dad was very possessive of it. It had diskettes (floppy disks) which could save 1.44MB data and the strongest keyboard I had ever seen. One day I decided to open the back of that humongous piece of hardware and it was just some big looking thing in there staring back at me. Cathode ray or something like that. Now we have flat screen monitors, tablets, laptops all doing the work of about a thousand of those computers.

I miss those days although it was a hustle to get things done but then there are things like letter writing which always brought out the best literary and creative skills in us. Emails cant bring that back. I think we have allowed technology to impact negatively on our communication skills; an example is how people respond ‘k’ or ‘Kk’ to queries or in responding to a statement. So annoying! 🙁 and the negative effect social media is having on relationships! Sad. I miss those letter writing days and days of standing by a phone booth whilst listening to some guy give me raps! Sigh! The good old days!

I would like to know your experience during those days of using postage mail, cassette tape and all the vintage technology to the 21st Century. 🙂

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