Weekly Feature

2012-05-24 / Editorial

Spindle items

Lancaster/ Depew Editor

INVENTION — You may not know Eugene Polley by name, but he changed your life.

Polley, a Chicago resident all his life, died earlier this week at age 96. He is responsible for inventing the wireless television remote control. He has 18 patents to his name — quite an accomplishment for the electrical engineer who started as a stock boy during the Great Depression. It just goes to show you, you can rise from any start in life.

The remote control caused consternation in our family when I was a child. Our first TV set was a wood-encased Zenith with two dials — on/off and volume — that showed about four channels. Cable TV was unnecessary, our parents told us. We lapped up MTV at relatives’ and friends’ homes whenever we got the chance.

When we got our second television, which measured about 13 inches, it came with a remote control. This was very exciting to me, an impatient child who always wanted to know what else was on and thought being able to avoid getting up to switch channels was the best idea ever.

Not according to my mother, who told us the remote encouraged laziness. Up it went into the top cupboard — the one with all the things we weren’t supposed to have access to, like matches and candles and candy. Down it came whenever I thought she wasn’t looking. I’d try to be sly and flip the channels from the comfort of the couch out of her eyesight but she figured it out every time. Eventually, after we got a VCR, which required a remote control to operate some functions, she acquiesced.

Funny that she now sits with the remote control at her side. Maybe I should suggest she switch channels the old-fashioned way?

Somehow, I don’t think that would go over well.

ON THE CAMPUS — If your child made the dean’s list or won a scholarship, let me know. Sometimes colleges submit this information, but often it comes from parents. Please submit your child’s name, the community in which he or she resides, his or her parents’ names, the high school from which he or she graduated, and course of study. You can reach me at 204-4924, via fax at 633-8601, or at cfarrell@beenews.com.

PICK IT UP — Be sure to peruse the paper over the next month as we publish photographs of proms and graduation ceremonies at St. Mary’s, Depew, Lancaster and Maryvale high schools. It’s part of your local newspaper’s job to capture these milestones, and I think we do a pretty good job of it. Who knows? You may spot a familiar face.

BUCKLE UP — It’s common sense, but bears repeating. Seatbelts save lives.

I experienced this firsthand last month in my car accident. I was told my use of a seatbelt and my vehicle’s safety features saved my life. I have been a seatbelt advocate since I was a child and am glad the habit was ingrained in me. I automatically buckle up even while driving through a parking lot. I feel vulnerable without one.

The Depew Police Department will be conducting seatbelt enforcement this month and next. Not only will you avoid a ticket by wearing one, you also may save your own life.

So click it.

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