The TV Club

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
It feels great when you belong to a Club, not so great when you feel you're an outsider.

Submitted: July 03, 2008

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Submitted: July 03, 2008

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Belonging to the TV Club
 
My sisters belonged to an early TV club. In the late 1940s the owner of a gas and service station in the farm community of Harris, Minnesota purchased a television set and hooked it up in a service bay. It was the only set in town. My sisters and school friends gathered at the garage after school. They arranged chairs into rows in front of the TV and called it “going to the movies.”
 
By the time I’m born in 1951, my family has its own TV set. In 1954, Walt Disney creates the Mickey Mouse Club. When we’re in Minneapolis visiting my grandparents we walk to a Sear-Roebuck Store nearby, on Lake Street. I spot official black, mouse-eared beanies on display at the department store and convince my parents I must have one. I’m in love with Mouseketeer Cubby, who sings duets with blond-haired Karen. I agonize that I will probably never meet Cubby, that he already loves Karen. Still, although I’ll have to marry someone else, I will visit Disneyland on my honeymoon. I regret that, given my tendency toward motion sickness, I’ll have to skip the ride of the whirling teacups.
 
I’m in second grade, 1959, when I first understand the agony of not belonging to the TV club. We’ve moved to Charles Circle in Silver Bay, Minnesota. Our house is slightly downhill from the street, with thick woods beyond the back yard. Because of the location our rooftop aerial only picks up one station. Towers in Duluth transmit two stations, but no matter how many times Daddy goes up on the roof to adjust it, our aerial gives us wavy lines instead of the NBC station, WDSM.
 
After school, before dinner-time, WDSM has a kids’ show. The local weatherman, Jack McKenna, plays the host Captain Q. Because of our poor aerial reception, I never see the cartoons that Captain Q introduces. And I never witness the short comedies that feature the Three Stooges. One day in Mrs. Sarf’s class I hear the words, “Wise guy, huh?” and feel myself in a foreign land. Boys (and some girls, especially those with brothers) are monkeying around, pretending to poke each other’s eyes out. I join in but I’m faking. I don’t really know the Stooges. “Who’s your favorite?” a boy named Ricky asks me. I gulp… then chose Mo. It’s the only Stooge name I can remember. I’m seven and I don’t know the phrase “culturally deprived.” But on that day I feel its pain.
 
 


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