RURAL REFLECTIONS: Television learning curve
Mom and Pop Johnson had an enormous radio that pulled in stations around the world. We had a console radio that was built into a table with a magazine rack on the side. Pretty fancy, huh?
Listening to the radio was a family event in the times before I came along. They were content with what they had and did not know what was missing. Then along came the television.
We often went past the appliance store looking at the display of televisions in the window. Then one came to live in our house.
Dad and Mom saved enough money to get one of those newfangled things. Mom had her heart set on a blond television that would match her blond piano. And maybe her blonde daughter.
The big, boxy Raytheon sat in the corner of the living room with a round glass bowl on top filled with glass marbles and a fake flower. I was always afraid to remove the bowl for fear the television would stop working.
One of our neighbor families did not believe in television, yet when major events took place, they stopped in and sat for hours, watching the coverage on our TV — with the bowl on top.
As a small girl, I faithfully watched "The Uncle Al Show." I learned the hard way to never believe a man who dresses funny and hangs out with children.
Uncle Al had a plane and was going to take a trip.
"How many of you want to go along?" he asked his invisible audience.
My hand shot up into the air. No doubt about it. I planned to go.
So, I took my clothes out of the old metal dresser, packed my bag (a paper bag) and waited, and waited. Eventually, Mom sat down next to me on the floor, my "suitcase" at the door still waiting for me to leave. Uncle Al stepped into his cardboard airplane and pretended we were flying away.
Hm. It was a pretty good indication that I wasn't going anywhere. Mom confirmed the fact.
The TV hours I spent watching "The Arthur Godfrey Hour," "Ruth Lyons," "Liberace," "Show of Shows" and "Ed Sullivan" expanded my world. It became my babysitter when all of the older people were working in the field. It captured my imagination.
And always, the glass bowl sat there — doing absolutely nothing.
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