Flashback: The Boob Tube

Flashback Friday buttonPrompt: Tell about TV when you were growing up. Did your family have a TV? Was it color or b&w? How many TVs did your family have? Did you have one in your room? Did your family leave the TV on most of the day or turn it on for specific programs? Was the TV on or off when you ate meals as a family? Were there rules about watching TV? What were your favorite shows? Are there any particular memories you have of TV in your younger years? …

I am a child of the eighties and nineties–but in many respects, my growing up experiences were from a generation before.

My earliest TV memories are of a small black and white television with bunny ears and dials. This TV was kept in the hall closet, and every night after dinner, Dad would pull it out so we could watch the news coverage of the Gulf War. At some point, the black and white television gave out and we were given a sports-radio-yellow television set. This too was a small set that was kept in the closet. When that television broke, we didn’t replace it.

When I went over to friends’ houses, their huge television sets were the central point of the living room–and were on almost constantly. I saw most of the Disney movies at friend’s houses and caught a few episodes of the favorite sitcoms of that day, mostly “Saved by the Bell”.

Grandma Menter had a television, but when we visited her in Bellevue, the three oldest Menter boys (my cousins) generally had control of the remote. This meant sports–which I was not interested in. Instead, the three Menter girls (me, my sister, and my cousin) found something else to do. The only exception to this rule was when the Winter Olympics were on and we could watch figure skating. Oh, did I love to watch figure skating!

Grandma and Grandpa Cook had a television too. We kids watched a lot of videos when we went up to the farm–“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (like I mentioned last week), The Sugar Creek Gang, and Quigley’s Village. So far as actual TV watching goes? Grandpa would urge us to join him to watch “Grandma’s old boyfriend” Steve Urkel every afternoon, and of course we had to get our weekly dose of culture with Lawrence Welk.

So television was certainly a part of my life–it just wasn’t a big part of my life. Television was something that I went away to do or pulled out for a special occasion–it wasn’t a daily routine.

In my late teenage years, my dad got a TV tuner for one of our family’s computers, so we could watch television if we wanted to. Some of my siblings did–but I never developed a taste for it.

I’ve never owned a television myself–and really would rather not.

It’s not that I’m against them, per se. I just don’t really see much use for them. I don’t like how they take over the focus of a room. I don’t like how they tend to take over any unallocated time. If I *had* to own a television (and I do admit that they can be handy for watching DVDs with a group!), I’d want it shut up in a closed cabinet, only to be gotten out at designated times.

Hmmm…This sounds familiar.

Wasn’t that the way…

Yes, that’s the way we did it when I was growing up

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6 thoughts on “Flashback: The Boob Tube”

  1. Good, Rebekah! You are in a younger genration but it is consoling to see that others here didn’t/don’t do a lot with the TV. Our older daughter threw their TV’s out while our grandson was home (he was homeschooled).

    You’ll see there was only time and economics that kept me away. Now it’s on all the time here but mostly just noise.

  2. I also grew up without a t.v. and I am so glad that we did! I remember that we used to rent a t.v. around Christmas for a treat. We usually watched movies like It’s a Wonderful Life together as a family after my dad got home from work. We had the t.v. for about two weeks and then life continued on as normal. The more I learn about the effect of t.v. on children in my classes, the more grateful I become that my parents did what they did.

    p.s. it is nice to have for group movies though, and I also watched movies, etc. at my friends houses! :)

  3. I enjoyed reading your thoughts! I always watched Saved by the Bell.

    I think not having a TV is a good thing. We have one but it’s rarely on. We have some videos my son watches and we have a Wii but for TV, it’s not on.

  4. I didn’t see Saved By the Bell in its first run, but I enjoyed watching reruns of it until they had some kind of environmental emphasis in which it was deemed okay to be destructive and disrespectful in the name of the cause.

    It’s easy to get caught up in some of our favorite programs through the year, but I like the summer when not much is on and we pull back a bit from TV.


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