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The one with all the books. August 14, 2006

Posted by table4five in Family, Parenting, personal thoughts.
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Today marks the 37th season of Sesame Street. And while I’m still reeling from the fact that I am older than Sesame Street, I’m also joining Mrs. Davis from The Lovely Mrs. Davis Tells You What To Think in commemorating the occasion by posting about my favorite childhood books and TV shows.

How old am I? I am SO OLD, when I was a kid there were only four channels on TV. FOUR. ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. We also had this huge box that sat on top of the TV with a giant dial that turned the antenna on the roof (remember those?), and on really clear days we could pull in CKLW, a Windsor, Ontario station that showed “Bill Kennedy at the Movies.” My parents dictated everything we watched, except on Saturday morning when my brother and sister and I watched cartoons. I know Sesame Street was on, but I honestly don’t remember watching it. When I was a pre-schooler, I have no memory of watching TV at all.

I do, however, have a crystal-clear memory of being in the second grade, during a rainy day when outside recess was cancelled, and we sat on the floor in our classroom and watched “The Electric Company” on a TV that was wheeled in on a cart. I’ve looked at the DVD of the show, and none of it rings any bells, except for one thing. There was a song, used to teach kids how to pronounce “tion” at the end of a word. The only part of the song I remember is the chorus, which went “t i o n shun shun shun shun!” So I would like to buy that DVD, and share that little bit of my childhood memory with them.

Books, however, are an entirely different story. I started reading when I was three. I progressed from Golden Books to chapter books by first grade. The first book series I read was “Little House on the Prairie”. My Mother had to write a note to my first grade teacher giving permission for me to check out those books from the “older readers” section of the school library, and I had to read a page out loud to my teacher to prove I could read all the words. This, I remember doing.

My boys have shown no interest in the “Little House” books, not even the “boy” ones like “Farmer Boy“. I’m hoping Kaitlyn will want to read them, and will be careful with my first edition paperbacks. My Mother saved every book she ever bought me, and I now have them in carefully packed boxes in the basement. I’m hoping Kaitlyn will want to read “Harriet the Spy“, “The Moffats“, “All-of-a-Kind Family“, and “Understood Betsy“. I want her to read “B is for Betsy“, “Papa Pellerin’s Daughter” (out of print), and “Laura’s Luck“.

There’s “The Good Master“, and “The Singing Tree“, “A Wrinkle in Time“, and “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”.
And then there are my Raggedy Ann and Andy books. I have first edition hardcovers of every book in the series. These are extra-carefully packed away. I got them out once to show Nathan, hoping he would share my excitement at the wonder and magic of the stories. But he didn’t, because the stories are about dolls and stuffed animals. If Kaitlyn doesn’t want to read them either, then I will just keep them for myself. Because there is NOTHING that will make me part with those books.

Even though I have much stronger and fonder memories of the books I read as a kid, I still have great respect for Sesame Street. We’ll be tuning in to see the new season and meet the new Muppet Abby Cadabby. In fact, my husband, who I never think is paying attention to things like kids’ TV shows, told me about it today, and said “they have a new cute little Muppet this season.” Awwww! He is such a Dad.

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Comments»

1. javajabber - August 14, 2006

I never liked cartoons as a kid. But I do remember watching Rin Tin Tin, Sky King, Lassie, and Romper Room.

But your post reminded me of another thing…telephones. Do you even remember having one in the house? It sure isn’t the same these days, is it? I vaguely remember seeing a phone. A rotary dial (do people even know what that looks like?), black phone.

I don’t recall it ever ringing. I only remember one incident where my brother tried to set fire to something and my parents calling the fire department. I have no recollection of my parents ever just sitting on the phone and talking.

Now we are surrounded by phones. We can’t get away from them. They are everywhere we are…people are talking all the time on phones – everywhere we go!

Wow, now I’M feeling old!

2. Fraulein N - August 14, 2006

This is a great writing prompt; I’ll have to take a stab at it later. I also learned how to read at three. It makes me wonder how many other bloggers were literate at an early age. My mother tells me I was very into watching “The Electric Company” but I don’t remember a single episode. I also loved Sesame Street; my favorite segment was “Teeny Little Super Guy.” He had a great theme song, plus he taught kids moral lessons, like listening to your parents and telling the truth. Good times.

3. Suebob - August 14, 2006

Harriet the Spy, A Wrinkle in Time and From the mixed-up files…were all some of my favorites as a child too!

4. Carmen - August 14, 2006

I LOVED the Electric Company. I’d totally buy the dvd’s, except that they are really pricey. But, really, how much are memories worth, anyway?

I remember rotary telephones too.

Now, all of a sudden, I’m feeling a need to take some Geritol….

5. chris - August 14, 2006

My son was just complaining this morning about something to do with his iPod. And I felt compelled to say, “In my day (yes I did use those words) we had to sit on the floor next to our record players when we wanted to enjoy some music.”

Next thing you know I’ll be regaling them with tales of not haveing CABLE tv. The horror!!!

6. Mrs. Harridan - August 14, 2006

I thought I was the only Raggedy Ann & Andy fan! I also have most of the first editions (though not all). I guess I should get plastic sleeves for the ones that are in good shape.

40 (or nearing 40) is not old! ;)

7. mothergoosemouse - August 14, 2006

Are the Moffats still in print? I bought new copies of the All-Of-A-Kind-Family series, as my old copies were pretty worn.

8. Nancy - August 14, 2006

Yes, I have many of the same memories — we didn’t get cable until I was in high school. I grew up with Sesame, The Electric Company, and Zoom! and we watched 3,2,1 Contact in science class in school.

I love the Little House books — can’t wait to introduce my girls to them. And Harriet the Spy! my all time favorite “long” book for kids. Thanks for the memories. :-)

9. Mrs. Chicky - August 14, 2006

Hey, I remember those rotary dial boxes on top of the tv! I sort of miss them. Okay, I’m kidding. But they were fun when I was 6 years old!

10. catherine - August 15, 2006

I LOVE the kind of posts that remind me of the stuff I thought I’d already forgotten about… or something like that. Seriously, though, thanks for the memories! And yay for muppet-savvy dad!

11. roo - August 15, 2006

Don’t throw it in the water,
Or you’ll create POLLUTION! Aw!

But you don’t remember Letterman?

Faster than a rolling O,
Stronger than Silent E,
Able to leap Capital T in a single bound.
It’s a word!
It’s a plan!
It’s…

No? Never mind then.

12. Mary Tsao - August 15, 2006

OMG. I’m older than Sesame Street, too! Eek.

I remember a lot of the books you named. I forgot how much I loved Little House. Thanks for reminding me.

Oh, and we saw Abby Cadabby today! She’s cute. Emily loves her already.

13. Izzy - August 15, 2006

Oh geez…I could talk about books all day long. But two that you listed stand out as some of my all time faves: Harriet the Spy and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

LOVED THEM SO MUCH!

14. Mom101 - August 15, 2006

So many good picks. Wow, I loved Mixed up Files! I forgot about that one. some of these I don’t remember though (and no, I don’t think I’m younger than you) – good to add to the list, thanks.

15. wordgirl - August 16, 2006

I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder so much that we named our youngest son Wilder. I blogged about Sesame Street, too. Come read.

16. gwendomama - August 21, 2006

T-I-O-N shun shun shun shun
T-I-O-N shun shun shun shun

I LOVED Elec company!

sh – op shop
fl- op flop
th- ink think


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