Hank Freedman has a modern television in his Suwanee residence, has a Facebook page and works a cell phone well.
But he remembers things called test patterns and rabbit ears.
He broke into Atlanta retail in 1946 after Army service in Germany -- at $9,000 a year. After seven years with Davisons, he got a call from a former associate there to join Rich's, then the dominant department store in Atlanta. (Rich's since has been absorbed by Macy's.)
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Freedman recalled WSB debuting in 1948 with little more than a test pattern. Then, both television and his career took off in 1956, when color arrived. "That was my job."
He was involved as Rich's set up a buying group to bring its own television brand to Atlanta. In training in Chicago, buyers had a commitment -- "not to be able to go overseas and talk generalities."
Then came trips to Hong Kong via Japan beginning in 1963. In 1972, he helped introduce Mitsubishi televisions under the MGA label. The acronym was because Mitsubishi "was not sure Americans would accept a product under a Japanese label."
It was lucrative -- markups on the MGA brand were 30 percent, more than for a leading U.S. brand.
The retail career also led to marriage and family. Freedman met wife Betty while at Davisons. "We were on the bowling team," he recalled.
The marriage produced two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A son lives in Suwanee's Morningside subdivision. Family photos are prominent in Freedman's Suwanee residence. "Those granddaughters were everything to her (his wife)."
The marriage was for 51 years, before Betty Freedman died in 2003.
Freedman moved to Suwanee in 2004 from Roswell, and soon after converted to Christianity. He regularly attends Shadowbrook Baptist Church, which is near his residence.
And on Veterans Day 2012, Freedman will drive himself to a special Veterans Day ceremony at Perimeter Church on Highway 141.
"I feel I'm very blessed."
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