Tuesday, March 29, 2005

And now you know… The rest of the story

I can’t remember not watching television. It’s just always been there. My earliest memories involve an old black and white set perched on a squeaky metal cart. Every day my dad would come home for lunch and my parents would turn the cart toward the kitchen, where the three of us would sit around the table watching Paul Harvey broadcast the noon news. And I’m not just talking about my earliest television memories – I mean earliest memories, period. I think this was before my sister was even around.

I remember days in the basement of our house in Aberdeen. I’d ride my red tricycle in circles on the gray tile floor while Sesame Street and The Electric Company called out to me from the carpeted end of the room. My dad built an entertainment center for the new, color TV out of some flat boards and a few cinder blocks. I found out later that the cable company had accidentally hooked us up instead of the neighbors. Pretty soon it was back to 3 channels.

When I was older, there was Captain Kangaroo in the morning, and Little House on the Prairie every day after school. I know that show so well I bet I’ve seen every episode three times. (Quiz me, I dare you.) I remember going to the KELO studio for birthday parties on Captain 11. “Wave one hand. Now wave both hands. Wave both hands and one foot. Now wave both hands and both feet!”

In elementary school I snuck out of bed to watch Cagney & Lacey and Hill Street Blues from the shadows of the hallway. My 8:00 bedtime seemed so unfair. I remember the night a small aircraft crashed and took out a power line near our home. I was in the family room watching Laverne and Shirley when the world went black. I’d never been so terrified.

When I was in junior high, I watched Thirtysomething, because it was the cool new show. I had no idea what it meant. I thought it was boring.

I did my homework in front of the TV. We ate supper in front of the TV. No one ever suggested it might be bad for me. At school, we talked about our favorite shows, or who was on Saturday Night Live. TV was our seventh-grade social life, our culture. You were such a geek if you didn’t watch the right shows or remember the funny lines. And I took it to heart.

When I got to college, with my long, bouncy curls and my mall bangs, I knew two people. It was so liberating to have a fresh start, a chance to forge a new identity. It didn’t take me long to meet the group of people I still call my best friends. And it wasn’t long after that, the night we sat down and reminisced about growing up. Talked about the lives we used to lead. The things we used to do. The shows we used to watch. We sat around on the floor of Jo and Amy’s room singing old theme songs. I only got a few words into “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have…” and I was branded: Blair. At first I objected. I was not a rich-bitch daddy’s girl. And that wasn’t even one of my favorite shows. But I did have the Blair-hair. And when you’re sharing a bathroom with 24 other women, and five of them share your first name, it helps to have a moniker.


Anonymous said...

OK, now I'm going to have the Facts of Life theme song stuck in my head! I used to love that show! And I was a total Little House on the Prairie addict too, although I'm not sure I could take you in a trivia match. Have you seen Indigo Girl's latest post? It's about this very same subject!

I still watch too much TV and feel guilty about it. We got rid of cable for 2 years but recently got satellite and now I watch too much again. It's hard to do much of anything else after a long day...


Krissy said...

Hi, Sarah! Nice digs!

We read somewhere that you are supposed to not let kids under two years old watch TV at all lest they become ADHD and kill you in your sleep.

Apparently nobody told these rule-makers how important it is to have something that distracts your baby when you have to race to the bathroom.

These days are ooooooouuurs (happy and free)..

Anonymous said...

We used to get Paul Harvey on the radio in CA. He would tell his stories in three parts and I would always hear the begining in the morning and miss the middle and often miss the end....in fact the only one I really remember is the one where this guy pours some weird rubber mix into a waffle iron of his wife's pissing her off....until he, using the ensuing pattern attached to the bottom of a shoe named after the greek god of winged victory founded a shoe company...now that is the rest of the story. I wish there was an archive of all his shows....hmmmm internet.....

Mr. Elise

Kelli said...

I loved Sesame Street, the Electric Company and Romper Room (although I do remember getting mad because the woman never said my name when she looked into that mirror at the end of the show).

On Saturday nights my aunt used to babysit me and let me stay up and watch The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

In college it was Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose.

I'm still a total TV addict!

Anonymous said...

Okay, did you see the Little House where Albert got addicted to morphine? And the ones that stick out for me were the ones where some girl was raped and they kept showing this creepy character with a mask in the woods and the one where Laura climbs a mountaint to talk to God. I don't think I understood either of those, but I surely remember them.

Welcome to the Blogosphere!