“It wonders me.” So said the Dutchman. The link “Dutchman News” will take you to news and Dutch recipes, but no Dutch uncles. This is also a WordPress site and will open in a new window. Click it, try it, you might like it. While Kutztown, where we lived on Siegfriedsdale lane was in Dutchland Allentown was not, though many PA Dutch expressions crept, crawled, and creaked into the local vocabulary. The one just mentioned is an example. Roughly translated this means being doubtful, disdainful, skeptical, etc. My dictionary defines wonderland as a noun, as a place full of wonderful things. Sounds like a tautology to me. Wonder is a noun, feeling of surprise caused by something beautiful, unexpected, etc. Wonderful is an adjective meaning inspiring delight or pleasure. Strange language, English, I don’t think I will ever really understand it. On my planet we speak Seagull, if you this not possible just consult Joseph Mitchell, late of the New Yorker. So, for this and following posts at least, I am writing of unexpected surprises, some unexpected, not unpleasant surprises here and there. And some unexpected, but also unpleasant, sometimes unacceptable surprises.
The first object that wondered me was TV. We lived in a hollow and as such the TV signals were quite weak and attenuated. Rabbit ears were useless for getting even a fair signal. In that ancient time 45 years ago there was no Internet, no WI-FI, no cable, no dish network, in short three commercial TV stations and one Public one. The only way to get reception at all was to install a VHF-UHF antenna on your house. Please remember that it is now January, there is much snow on the ground, and the ground is frozen. Not an easy Saturday project at all. The old spiritual sings “Mass’s in the cold, cold ground.” He may well be, and God rest his soul, if that he has. The antenna ground rod will not in any fable or form be there as I fear to make the attempt. For those of you who are baffled and bewildered, even bemired about all this, I enclose an image of a VHF-UHF antenna.
SO: TV, or not TV–that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune due to our location, or to take arms against a sea of troubles such as being without the idiot tube and possibly me falling off the roof. OK, not entirely original, but the paraphrase seems to fit.
Marge and I tussled, tarried, even tee-heed about this topic and we decided to wait until Spring when the snow was gone and the ground frost-free. At least Massa will soon be in the warm, warm ground, maybe also the ground rod.
But no, this did not happen. Guess what? With no TV to distract us we listened to the radio which was easy as the home had a built-in radio system. We played records (CDs not invented yet) we played with our children, we read books and newspapers both out loud and to ourselves. But we were somewhat different. Sometimes in her classes the teacher would assign a topic based on a TV show. Ingrid would then raise her hand and say “We don’t get TV.” The teachers assumption that EVERYBODY had TV was unwarranted, unjustified, uncalled for, and unreasonable.
Finally, after about 2 years, I did get around to putting an antenna on the chimney. We joined the rest of the world basking in TVs blue lit vast wasteland of news, sitcoms, mindless ads, and occasional good programming.
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Ah yes, I remember the Era Without TV! (EWT!) I was ambivalent–although at the time I would not have known that word. On one hand, I sometimes felt “deprived” because we did not have TV “like everyone else.” On the other hand, I was oddly proud of the fact that we were different in this way. Not having TV made us unique, or at least distinct, from other folks. Once or twice I remember having some homework assignment that actually involved watching something on TV and I got to raise my hand and say, “We don’t have TV at our house!”
Of course, just as people did before TV was invented, we certainly found plenty of other ways to occupy our time, many of which were fun!
I hope people did not think we were to poor to afford TV. Yeah, we did find ways to amuse ourselves. Remember when you and I went fishing at that little pond nearby and getting clay from the creek? I don’t watch TV at all any more, though I can get over the air channels. If it isn’t on streaming or an iPhone app I have nothing to do with the media, and even then I don’t watch any streaming that has ads.