Deb: My Mum called me the other day to say that the original The Day the Earth Stood Still was on TV. She told me what channel it was on and I said, “Thanks Mum, that’s great, but you know that you own it, right? We gave it to you three Christmases ago.” She said, “Oh I know, but ... it’s on TV!”
This is a scenario that has repeated itself over the years much to my amusement, but I have to say, I get it now. As crazy as it sounds, and even if it is pure nostalgia, I get it. We all know how wonderful, how convenient it is to be able to rent, buy, or PVR a movie (TiVo to our friends south of the 49th parallel) and watch it at our convenience. But I have to say, I finally know what my Mum meant. Because I remember like it was yesterday gathering around the TV waiting with great anticipation to see our favourite shows. It was an event. Friday afternoon was talent round-up on the Mickey Mouse Club. Christmas brought The Wizard of Oz and Mary Martin’s Peter Pan, which happened only once a year!!! Can you imagine? Wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I have warm glowing memories of my Dad and I hunkering down to watch Rat Patrol and The Avengers. I can still remember like it was yesterday that my bedtime on Wednesday night was right after My Favourite Martian. I would sit on my parents’ bed all scrunched up in my PJ’s waiting till the clock struck 8:30. Then Uncle Martin’s antenna would retract and that was my cue to hit the sack.
TV was a regularly scheduled event in our world, and our lives were conducted by the beat of Mitch Miller’s baton. When the shows you loved were on, all activities would stop and you could hear the hum of the rabbit ears all over your street! I guess I was so caught up in trying to drag my Mum and Dad into the 21st century that I forgot what I was missing.
But when Mom called me the other day it hit me like an anvil hitting the Coyote on the head. And I remembered. I remembered when I was in my twenties and living on my own. I was barely out of the house and I treasured my newfound independence. Then my Mum would phone and tell me that Andy Hardy or Shirley Temple was on. I would scurry to the TV to turn it on, to watch it with her, and it filled me with the warmth of being at home with them. There we were the two of us, making tea together during the commercials even though we were miles apart. And I guess that’s all she wants now, and I love it.
Mum and I sharing the TV experience, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.
Barbara: This is so sweet. I love the shared experience. Especially with a loved one. Phil and I were on a plane together a few months ago and each had our own screen for our own entertainment. But we picked the same film and watched it (virtually) simultaneously side by side. It made the whole experience better. The same reason I love watching movies in a movie theatre. So many of you sharing the same ride at the same time.
When I was growing up, the significant show was The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights. My mom would roast chicken and bake French fries and we would all gather in the family room, perch our plates on our laps, and eat dinner as we watched the Disney movie of the week.
Funny how for us this is a cherished nostalgic memory, but for child-raising experts it’s one of the big no-no’s! I can say this, we don’t watch nearly as much TV together as we did “back in the good ol’ days”. I miss it ☺