Chester Chatter: TV changed the channels of our lives

By Ruthie Douglas
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

When I was 10 years old, my family got our first television set. Out the door went the Philco radio and in its place a large wooden cabinet of polished wood and a round glass TV screen.

At the hardware store, my mother bought a piece of blue plastic that she taped over the screen. Arthur Godfrey had said it was better for your eyes to view through. We had a lamp turned on when we were watching the TV. It was a long black glass panther with a red shade. “Never watch TV in the dark,” we were told.

That TV changed our family way of life forever. We lived two houses down from S.R. Young’s furniture and television store on Union Street and always got good reception.

My sister and I raced home from school to watch Walt Disney and The Mickey Mouse Club. We had our mouse ears, we sat on the living room floor, crossed our legs, held our membership card and sang the special song.

The early shows like Howdy Doody  were even too silly for us. It was our parents who got hooked on TV shows like Death Valley Days and The Lawrence Welk Show.  We missed all the things we had done with our parents because suddenly they were glued to the TV set.

Once for a treat, all the kids in the neighborhood were invited to the TV shop to watch Peter Pan in color. Wow, was that something in the ’50s and I remember the green of Peter Pan’s suit. It was the greenest green ever.

All that changed when I moved to the farm. We had an all-purpose antenna, but mainly got one channel out of New Hampshire. Whenever the aluminum sided tractor trailer truck  across the river went by, it disrupted the TV reception.

Pigeons that perched on the antenna also messed things up. Once, while watching the football game, Don got mad at them. He went out with his BB gun to scare them off, but instead knocked pieces of the antenna off. There went the ballgame.

My girls started kindergarten with no idea what Sesame Street was.

Now, living in town, TV is a treat for me. It’s great for us old folks.

Trips with family, so long to friends and home

Debbie Phelps and sons Chris, Jason and Scott are home after spending some time on the island of Jamaica.

Many of us will miss the happy, smiling face of Jenny Parker who died this past week. Jenny shared her art with us, often donating to fundraisers. The Gould boys hung her work on the walls of their food market. I loved to hear her speak in her native tongue, Finnish. She will be missed.

The Domino Chicks met at my home for a game and lunch. We all were so busy during the holiday season we couldn’t shake loose to get together.

After working around the weather, I finally got to celebrate my birthday dinner with daughter Jeanie. It was great.

I have to take time to thank all the acts of kindness shown me. The folks in our town of Chester sure are great in lending a helping hand.

  • This week’s trivia question:  Where was the IGA store located in Chester?
  • Answer to last week’s trivia question: The cover photo of the first ever Vermont Life in 1946 was taken in Spencer Hollow by Don Whitney.

Street Talk

What do you do for a pastime during the winter months?

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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