|Picture from Wikipedia is in the Public Domain|
Off and on during my childhood, we didn't own a television. When we did, it was not like TV is today. Reno only had one channel until I was in junior high school when the second channel was added. When I was in high school, we received a third channel.
We had a little black and white TV with a "rabbit ear" antenna. Mom was a marvel at adjusting the rabbit ears just right to get optimum reception -- even if it required aluminum foil or a clothes hanger be attached. Sometimes an assignment was made to sit next to the TV and hold the rabbit ears.
Television used to come with tubes inside, which would burn out and have to be replaced. Mom was the master of finding, testing, and replacing bad tubes.
At some point the sound began to fizzle on our little black and white TV. Mom showed us how to hit the top of the TV in just the right spot to get the sound on again. That worked for a time, then it became so bad that an assignment was made to sit next to the TV and keep banging on it.
When my grandmother Janes passed away, we inherited her television. At first we were thrilled because it was somewhat larger than our little TV, but the big one had a bad picture tube, which was too expensive to replace. It only lasted a few weeks. As usual, Mom saved the day, and the "piggy back" TV was born. She put the small TV with no sound on top of the larger TV with no picture, and we were back in business.
Television used to be a family activity. It was charming to gather every Sunday evening for The Ed Sullivan Show. Dad loved westerns, so we all grew up on Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Have Gun, Will Travel, and a western that I only remember by Dad's name for it, "Tight Pants" -- or maybe that was his name for Paladin on Have Gun, Will Travel -- I don't remember. Dad loved the movie, The High and the Mighty with John Wayne as an airplane pilot. We watched it over and over again. We were visiting Mom in the hospital when she had double pneumonia, and The High and the Mighty came on TV. We all gathered around her bed to watch it -- me perched on the window sill. Later, Mom told us that she just wished we had all left her alone so she could rest.
|Lorne Greene in Bonanza|
Picture from Wikipedia is in the Public Domain
As I sit mindlessly watching reality TV some evenings, I long for those days of simplicity sitting on the floor, propped up with my pillow, dog curled up beside me, watching Bonanza or Big Valley. During each commercial, someone would take a potty break. It was then the responsibility of those left in the room to yell, "It's on!" when the show returned.
Dad sometimes made homemade milkshakes for us, or sliced two Milky Way candy bars into thin slices on a plate to share during the show.
Memories are good -- especially those memories of a much less complicated time.