I spent a couple of days with my folks in Washington State, where I grew up. It’s always good to go, and even more imperative as they age. However, the part I seem to forget when I visit, is that time portal called their front door. When I step through, the world suddenly changes, and I have traveled back in time. The atmosphere inside, at the latest, is around 1970. That’s the truth–you can ask any of my childhood friends. Nixon unfortunately is still in the White House, and they still speak of John F. Kennedy with reverence.
Two of my brothers came over and we settled into the family room to answer questions on Jeopardy. My dad has his evening viewing schedule locked up. After Final Jeopardy, he flips over to MeTV for an old rerun of MASH. It isn’t a very humorous episode. Hawkeye and company are falling apart, dreaming of home, away from freezing Korea. So I attempt some lighter conversation. But no one is listening to me, they are glued to Colonel Potter while he dreams of his childhood horse.
The spell eventually breaks and we talk a bit. My older brother describes another rerun of the Jack Benny Show which was so funny he had to turn it off. It was too soon after his stomach surgery and it hurt to laugh. We’re talking about Jack Benny, not How I Met Your Mother.
The next verbal tussle involved the first episode of All In The Family that dealt with homosexuality. My younger brother argues that the gay guy was played by Charlton Heston, and I know he wasn’t. So we go back and forth arguing about that. He wants to bet five bucks. But, I’ve got him. I have my iPhone and internet service. I find a clip of that particular show and he grows quiet.
I can’t really fault my family for their desire to remain in a past time. Dad loves his Nelson Eddy movies, and figuring out the vocalists in big band pieces. It seems that talking played a bigger role in family life and socializing in 1970. Nobody could end the verbal give and take with substantiating, electronically generated facts.
I get it. I can see easily why I became a History instructor. I can understand why River of January was a temptation too irresistible to let go. I came by my passion honestly. And here, in my mountain house? I’d say it’s about 2005. I know I’m still pissed about the invasion of Iraq, House reruns occasionally flicker from the small screen in the living room, and in a guilty pleasure my Sirius Radio station is set to “Classic Vinyl.”
What year is it at your house?