Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How I Use to Watch TV

Back then we did not have a TV.
We were living on Jackson Street.
The Swanson Apartments.
Apartment 303.
This was in 1953 .
I was 5 years old.

I wanted a TV.
My mom wanted a TV.
It took a lot of money to get a TV.
I only knew one family with a TV.

But it was summer.
And it was hot.
I would ask my mom if I could go get an ice cream cone.
She would give me some spare change.
I would walk the 3 blocks to Birdsall's.
It was over on Pierce Street.
Near the corner of 16th.

I would get 2 scoops of ice cream in a cone.
Maybe chocolate and chocolate chip.
Mr. Birdsall always said that I should get the lime sherbet.
He said get it in a dish with chocolate sauce on top.
I did it once.
It was good.

Birdsall's had a lot of pinball machines.
I was not allowed to play them.
My mom said that they would lead me to a life of gambling.
Lead me to a life of sin.
She was a Methodist you know.
Got saved at an outdoor rally in the 20s.
But, I watched the older guys playing them.
These guys were having fun.
And they seemed like important guys to me.

Well anyway, after I got my cone, I walked outside.
Into the hot summer night.
The bugs were always out.
Millions of them.

I would walk over to William's Appliances.
They were next door.
They sold TVs.
They would put several TVs in the window.
And they had some speakers outside too.
I could watch TV and listen, too.

People would be standing outside watching TV.
Watching the news.
Watching a movie.
Watching a clown
Maybe a test pattern,
One night I watched a test pattern for a long time.
Just standing there.
Licking my ice cream cone.
Waiting for Fred C. Dobbs to come back on.
Wondering what was going to happen to the Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
I finally went home.

When I got back to apartment 303,
my mom was waiting for me.
She said that I had been gone an hour.
She was worried that I had been kidnapped.
Or that I was playing the pinball machine.
She grounded me for a week.

Later that summer she bought a TV.
Sylvania I think.
Got it at William's.
$5 a week.
We were now part of the TV elite.

Later my mom would buy 2 metal TV trays.
We could eat our TV dinners while watching TV.

11 Comments:

Blogger MB said...

I didn't have a TV as a child. I always wanted to eat TV dinners on those metal trays while watching TV. As a kid, that is. Doesn't hold the same appeal now.

The short sentences in this have a really interesting effect.

5:46 PM, February 14, 2007  
Blogger Dave said...

The line about the night insects really made the whole scene come alive for me.

6:42 PM, February 14, 2007  
Blogger Fred Garber said...

mb...As a guity pleasure, once in awhile I like to buy the cheapest TV dinner I can find. The fried chicken is my favorite.

dave...Thanks! I can still hear those insects ...even in the dead od winter.

8:39 PM, February 14, 2007  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

We had TV trays when I was a kid. The best thing was eating tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on them when I was sick. Thanks for making me remember so much.

4:06 PM, February 15, 2007  
Blogger Fred Garber said...

Patry....yum grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. The perfect meal. We also use to eat that on the TV trays. I have been going crazy since I wrote this poem trying to recall what designs were on those old TV trays....

4:14 PM, February 15, 2007  
Blogger timeslag said...

you could spend hours trying to get the rabbit ears just so,but the only way to get the picture perfect was to stand there with one in your hand.

9:49 AM, February 17, 2007  
Blogger Fred Garber said...

Exactly! I remember having a TV that worked best if sat very close to it and put my foot on top of it.

7:34 PM, February 17, 2007  
Anonymous damien said...

great slice of life stuff...remember the old TV we used to have that had no antenna and you had to put your car keys in the spot where the antenna was supposed to be in order for it to work? those were the pre-cable days

11:42 AM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Fred Garber said...

Damien...thanks for the comments! I remember that. Coat hangers also worked

12:06 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous bibluepolar said...

I like this poem. I like the part where you mention it is 1953, great insight as well. You explain great detail in your poetry. I enjoyed reading it.

5:35 PM, October 18, 2007  
Blogger Fred Garber said...

Thanks for your kind comments

8:59 AM, October 19, 2007  

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