The Good Ole Days
By: Dick Stout
I'm not sure if it's old age or memory problems, but I often think back to the good ole days. You know, those times when old coins were popping out of the ground with regularity. When you seldom saw anyone else detecting, and when you did, you made sure to stop and shoot the breeze. And no matter how light or easy to use the new detectors are, I still have fond memories of the old "box detectors" with all the knobs that had to be set just so in order to find anything.
I remember the old White's Coinmasters, the Judge models from Compass, the Groundhog from Garrett, and the heavy Fisher 1200 series, which looked like they could start a car, go to the moon, and provide electricity for your home. I suspect that none of these would hold up to the detectors of today, but they sure did provide me with a lot of fun and enjoyment, and each had its own personality. We were bosom buddies.
On some of those older models the meter was simply a meter... you used it to check your batteries, and that was it. The needle usually went crazy over a target, and you never looked at it. The sound was what mattered. The tone, the sharpness of it, loudness, and its ability to repeat itself with additional sweeps were what mattered. Sweeping over the target 10-15 times was the norm.
I also fondly remember "whipping" the searchcoil on the first VLF/TR models to bring out the "bong" effect, which was the ultimate confirmation that indeed your target was worth digging. And then somebody figured out reverse discrimination, making those sites you'd searched before new again. I could even tell the difference in how various items responded. I could tell if it was a dime, penny, or quarter, and for that matter I could even tell the date before I dug it! Okay, well, sometimes...
My choice of digging tools? A large screwdriver, with a rounded-off edge. It was not only the norm, it was the best. No pouch needed- it was always in my hand. When I look at the Lesche trowel I am using now, I wonder how I ever recovered anything back then.
I live in Texas now, but I recall those early morning phone calls when I lived in New Jersey, calls from my crazy TH'ing buddies during a hurricane or nor'easter, telling me we had to get to the shore as soon as possible. No matter the hazards, travel plans were made, excuses for not being at work developed, and we were off. It was not unusual to be on the beach detecting with gale winds blowing, and meeting up with old friends from all over the state.
In the good ole days I would come home, clean up my finds, throw the common-date coins in a box, and keep the goodies in 2x2 holders, marking the date, the place I found it, and of course the grade. I also had a junk box (still do) where everything else went. You name it... if it was made of metal, I had some. Someday my grandchildren will look through that box and reinforce their belief that Grandpa was indeed a crazy son of a gun.
I check eBay now, just to see if any of those old detectors I used are available and affordable. They are, and apparently many other detectorists remember them as well because they are bringing pretty decent prices. I often think that if I still had that old Judge 2 or that 6000D I could outhunt anyone today, but then again it might be old age creeping up on me.
The older I get, the more I think about yesteryear, and I suspect that I am not alone in this regard. Those days were a lot of fun, and I remember them fondly, but there's still a lot more to be found, so excuse me. I need to think of some excuse to tell my wife so I can go detecting. See ya later!