It was a big deal when Dad brought home a radio. Woo hoo! I know, the rest of the world had music and radio from the beginning of time, but I lived in the boonies behind cliffs. TV and radio signals were hard to get, lost in the swirling upper atmosphere. Richer people could get antennas and better equipment, but I had to do my own singing until I was about 10 or so. Well, Dad sang a lot, but other than that I didn't realize how bleak my life was until the magic day of radio.
Okay, so the radio was limited and often full of static. Strangely, polka music always came in really well with Slovenians jabbering on about something or other, probably polkas, but at some point I heard the Beatles and Herman's Hermits and my world got a lot bigger. I walked around the Glen singing "What do you get when you fall in love? You get enough germs to cause pneumonia!" Which I thought was really funny and wistful wishful. Did I mention I was about 10?
Before radio we had big vinyl disks called "records". I played the Christmas or John Gary records as often as I liked. Danny Kaye read me stories. I miss him. He put me to sleep many times with Myrtle the Turtle and Hans Christian Andersen stories.
We weren't allowed to listen to the radio if Dad was sleeping. We also couldn't play current music unless the parents were out. Dad thought all that was garbage except Elvis ballads. I think I valued the radio more because we couldn't have it all the time, even when all we could get were polkas -- which must be a Cleveland thing because I can still get Slovenians talking about polkas on the radio. Yay? Home of Frankie Yankovic and the National Polka Hall of Fame.
...side trip to youtube. You can listen to Yankovic here. Dad danced me around the living room with my feet on his feet, something all dads should do with their little girls.
I keep typing wondering where the point of all these remembrances might be leading, but maybe they don't need to lead anywhere? The music of our childhoods stays with us and maybe that's all there is to it. It's just part of who we are in ways we're too close to see.
I grew up listening to big band WWII heroism, Viet Nam anti-war songs, and songs about innocent love, or heartbreak, and Broadway musicals. All of those lyrics are me. How much of what I think, or aspire to, or dream about is because of the radio?
By the time I was a teenager, rock was angry and urgent, and musicals were dead. It's been a long time since I danced a polka. I went back to youtube and watched a bunch of Danny Kaye things to get the #@&# polkas out of my head. Here'sThumbelina.
I actually messed around with the radio picture a lot in PhotoShop and then decided I didn't feel like posting it. Here's my original scribble instead because it just looks like that radio that Dad brought home and put on the top shelf, hoping to catch a radio wave.