Friday, 29 July 2011

T.V. MANIA.

Would today's average North American boy become excited about his family purchasing a black-and-white television? Unless he had little in the way of amusements, probably not. It was a different story back in 1967. Children never dreamed of having high-tech marvels as computers, electronic games, and cell phones. If we were fortunate, our parents bought us tinny-sounding transistor radios.

In Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), I wrote about how my dad's purchase of a new set excited me. It kept me feeling that way for weeks during that summer.

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Our old television died that summer. Dad decided to replace it with a new set. We had owned that television for over eleven years and repairs were costing us serious money. I felt privileged that Dad let me help choose a new television. Knowing nothing about prices, I kept picking the finest-looking and largest ones. Dad finally settled on a set with the words MONITOR 300 printed below the controls.

The new set was a pleasure to watch. The knobs from the old television had been lost and the channel selector required a pair of pliers. The new set displayed no vertical lines which marred black and white broadcasts. The brightness of its picture, compared to our old television, astonished me.

Drawing televisions and cutting pictures out of catalogues kept me busy too. This mania refused to release its hold on me. "If only I could have my own set," I wished repeatedly. I felt extremely eager to try an experiment. What would happen, I wondered, if a television was turned upside down. Would the picture stay the right way up? Naturally, Mom and Dad wouldn't let me perform that test with such a big-ticket item. I would have to wait until I became an adult to find out.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this compelling story. You may also e-mail me directly if the comment form doesn't work.

By the way, when I did turn a T.V. upside down, the picture stayed upside down too.