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Childhood Memories

Frequently, when making an online purchase or filling out a web form, I am required to give my birthdate. Then there is that menacing dropdown box listing all the years. Really? Keep scrolling down…and scrolling…and scrolling. There it is, 1947, near the bottom of the chart.

Wow. The 40’s. I’ve never considered myself a child of the 1940’s. Not even a child of the 50’s. Throw out the history book. Don’t need one. I was there.

My new novel, After the Storm, is set in the first half of the 1950’s, which has required considerable era related research. The exercise has helped bring to mind some of what I was exposed to in my earliest years.

My first grade class (1954) was one of the first to be introduced to the polio vaccine. We were taken by school bus to Winchester, VA where we all were inoculated for protection from a disease that had reached epidemic proportions among children. My brother, Gary, was one of the casualties at age five.

My first recollection of anything related to politics was a President named Eisenhower.  Once, when visiting a friend in Middletown, VA…the President’s motorcade came through the town and I recall sitting on the front porch, sipping on a RC Cola, awaiting his arrival. My friend preferred warm sodas. They were more suited to loud belching, which I suppose is what we were doing as the entourage passed by. I know. Weird.  Maybe that’s why I recall so little about the 50’s.

You think that was strange? Check this out. A popular kid’s show at the time was Winky Dink and You. Aired from ’53 to ’57. What I remember most about that show was the “magic drawing screen.” It was a sheet of plastic that attached to the TV screen on which you could draw with crayons. There would be pictures that appeared in the TV show that you could trace and then you were given assignments to add other elements, like eyes, or a nose, or leaves on a tree. By today’s high tech standards Winky Dink was pretty rinky dink, but it was one of my favorite toys. To be fair, Bill Gates had high praise for the program.  It was the first ever interactive TV show.

I love the research capabilities of the internet. Although I faintly remember the show, I now know that I watched it on Saturday mornings on CBS at 10:30.  And this is what it looked like:

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Davey Crockett Lunchbox

Yes, we had TV back then. Other popular kid shows included: Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, Davey CrocketLassie,  The Adventures of Rin Tin TinAnnie OakleyHowdy DoodyThe Pinky Lee Show, and Soupy Sales.

Yep, loved them all. Even had my own Davey Crocket lunch box and coon skin cap.

So, for those of you who have nothing better to do, I’m going to take you back in time, back to my earliest years (simpler times) and the TV I watched when I was 6 and 7 years old. Meanwhile, have a great day IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE.

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