In 1959, when CBS had the first of what would become an annual tradition broadcast of The Wizard Of Oz, Dad borrow a color TV set from a fellow teacher so we could all watch the broadcast in color. Ast you will note from the picture there are three steps that made it quite difficult for him to get the large and heavy television to the door and in the house.
Over the years I have often told the story of how myself and my four siblings were all excited to see the show. However for Dad it was not enough to simply see the show. He had to see it as it was meant to be seen. So he was constantly adjusting the antenna as well as the color and contrast controls. Those were the days when television sets needed these controls as colors were often off. I can recall informing Dad in terms that were more demanding than a six year old boy should be that the color was fine and he should let us watch the show.
As I have been considering different posts for this blog, I found myself reflecting on what I remember of Dad from when I was very young. As it turns out, I cannot recall an single story about Dad that I could share. I was six years old and in the first grade and I do not have a siungle memory of Dad in my life for the first six plus years of my life.
The movie aired on CBS at 6PM on December 13, 1959. It is likely that Dad picked the television up from this friend after school so at some point between say 4PM and 6PM I have my first memory of Dad. It began before the show did as I can still recall his frustration at trying to get the televison set up the steps and into the house. On this occasion and over the next few years, CBS open the airing with a guest host. On this showing, it was Red Skelton. We had moved to Rosalia in early August of thst summer. Apparently we did not stay long in our first house as we were living here four months later. I pondered whether or not it might have been the 1960 showing of the show that I recalled. However, if we had been living in this house in December of 1960, that would mean that our third home in Rosalia was our home for a very short time. Our fourth and final home became our home when I was in the third grade. Based on my memories, it is more likely that our first home was our home for only a couple months rather than our third home being our home for less than a year.
So where was he? Why do I have so few memories of him? We moved to Rosalia after Dad got his Bachelor Degree to teach and was offered a position at Rosalia High School. He had earned his degree from Eastern Washington State College. It is not unlikely that for the last three or four years before our move, he had been taking classes at Eastern and studying in the evenings. While he may have stayed on campus to do most of his studying, understandable as the household would have been full of his children. However, if he had come home, it is likely we would have been instructed to leave him alone so he could study.
This may seem like a lot of discussion of a rather moot point. Does it really matter whether or not I have other memories of him or why I don’t have more memories of him? Admittedly it would be less important if I had not been the person I am. Father often serve as role models to their sons and for the most formative period of my life and my identity, I have no memory of Dad. I do however have memories of my grandmother and to a lesser extent my mother. I have some memories of my grandfather but he was by no means a stellar role model.
At a time in my life when I my identity and view of the world and my place in that world were taking shape my role model was not my Dad but my Grandmother. I will discuss her influence on my life with another post. However, I do feel that one reason I came to be the person I am is because of his absence in my young life.