There is a thread that runs through my earliest memories from my childhood all the way to present time. Now, this is when I would love to have this thread be some wonderful attribute that my family had been gifted, but sadly it is much more mundane. Television. It has always been on – every day of my life. My actual first memory is my mother sitting down beside me on the couch in the living room and encouraging me to never forget what we were watching. It was the funeral of JFK.
That box kept (actually) humming, cathode ray tubes throwing heat and light from the back of our B&W TV, like the soundtrack of my life. These were the days that I actually believed that Captain Kangaroo lived in the back of MY TV, which was great until my much older brother took great delight in allowing this much too young and gullible little sister to sit beside him, watching King Kong through the spaces between my fingers trying to hide my eyes. I am pretty sure his favorite part was when he shut the TV off and looked at me and suggested that it must be pretty scary for Captain Kangaroo back there with King Kong.
Over the years I remember watching the Huntley-Brinkley nightly news as we ate dinner, witnessing the ever growing body count half a world away in Vietnam. Many nights were spent sitting together watching Ed Sullivan visiting with Topo-Gigio, Laugh In and The Monkey’s. Sadly, another count was shared every night again at the dinner table, sounding like the following: “That’s the way it is, Thursday, June 12, 1980, the 222nd day of captivity for the hostages in Iran. This is Walter Cronkite, CBS News. Good night.” This was the last nightly news show I would watch for several months, as I left the next day for Basic Training in the United States Navy.
All these years later, I must admit that I live alone in a 900 +/- sqft loft and have three TV, sometimes several on at the same time. This last week I was glued to the “idiot box” listening to the Congressional Hearing of Jim Comey, when I heard him say, and I quote ”Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” I was immediately back to those afternoons in the early ’70’s when I would rush home from school to watch the Watergate hearings.
So, this weekend as I was driving home from a great 3 day visit to 2 of my girls and their families in Tulsa, it dawned on me. I had absolutely no idea what was going on in the world. This new generation blows my mind – both of my children use the TV mostly to play Pandora Radio. I am very impressed with there ability to live their lives disconnected from the media, or for that matter old reruns of Dateline. I admit that I am truly a TV addict. I got home, safe and sound, and proceeded to turn on the TV to get my “fix”. It is 3:30 AM and still playing a Dateline that I have probably seen a half dozen times in the other room as I get ready to submit this column. Don’t judge me!!!