At the turn of the century, the telegraph, the telephone and the vacuum tube radio played an instrumental role in the shaping of the Twentieth Century. It was the birth of communications which has reached unbelievable progress. Now we are able to communicate with the Cloud with all kinds of relatively inexpensive gadgets anywhere, anytime. We’re now living in a science-fiction world. Even James Bond would be intimidated with what any kid now has at home to play with.
While I was growing up in a banana plantation in Changuinola in the Province of Bocas del Toro, we had a large radio in the living room. I recall it was a then state-of-the-art RCA radio with several buttons to receive different bandwidths. During the day, we could only receive stations broadcasting in Panama, but during the night the whole universe opened up. My dad and I would listen to international radio stations from Germany, the United States, Venezuela, Colombia, Great Britain, Holland and I can’t remember all the other countries which were broadcasting in the 25 and 32 meter bands. Even though we were located in an obscure part of the world in the middle of nowhere, with our RCA radio, we were right there in the middle of everything.
My dad and I loved professional baseball. MLB baseball was out of the question; we couldn’t listen to those games in Panama. In those years (the fifties), Cuba had the best professional baseball teams in Latin America. At night we would gather in the living room around the radio to listen to CMQ Radio in Havana, Cuba to listen to their baseball league games. Some of the teams were; Almendaris, Havana, Cienfuegos and other names that have since faded from my memory. There was one very good player, a catcher, that I still can remember clearly after all these years. His name was Daniel Morejón.
Needless to say, there were no television sets in Changuinola. For all we knew, television was a literary illusion, a dream, a mirage. I saw the first television set in 1962 when I came for the first time to Panama City. It was like seeing magic. I still think television is a magical box.
During my sojourn to Mi Pueblito, I saw an old vacuum tube radio, similar to the one we had at home in Changuinola. It brought back so many memories of my heyday in an obscure banana plantation in Changuinola. This is the oldie I found at Mi Pueblito. Take a close look, it might also bring back memories to you too.
Snapshot of an old vacuum tube radio located at Mi Pueblito in Panama City, Panama. Photo ©Omar Upegui R.
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