You folks who are in your mid-fifties to mid-sixties, click on the blue links and go back in time with me:
We moved to Kansas City in 1955, into a three-room apartment. In the two downstairs apartments lived Uncle Clifford, with his wife, Aunt Mable, and their daughter, Alice, who was my age. In the other downstairs (one-room) apartment lived Uncle Cecil and Aunt Helen, with their five children. They only had one room, but at least they had their own bathroom. Those of us in the other three apartments shared a "bathroom", which had no sink, and no shower or bathtub. It was just a closet-sized space with a toilet inside.
Before we moved to Kansas City, I spent a week each summer with my sister and her family; they had a television. I recall watching "Pinkie Lee" with my nephew Larry. Pinkie gave away a Samoyed puppy on every show. Another program I remember from that time is Dragnet. "This is the city...".
Larry and I watched The Lone Ranger on Saturdays. I think I had my first crush on Clayton Moore... and perhaps on Jay Silverheels, too. After all, Jay was a real Indian! (If you read my journal a lot, you know I'm partial to Native Americans.)
My sister watched a daily afternoon show that Martha Scott hosted, because Martha's parents went to the same church she attended. The show was "Modern Romances" and consisted of simple love stories, with different acters each day. Years later, Martha Scott was Miriam in the movie Ben Hur.
Uncle Clifford and Aunt Mable, downstairs, had a television. So when I'd get home from school, I usually checked in with Mother and then went to visit my cousin, Alice, to watch the Howdy Doody show. I also remember spending an evening there watching Peter Pan... the version with Mary Martin. Alice and I sat at a card table drinking tea and making toasts, saying, "Cheers, dahling".
My mom finally decided if she was going to keep me at home in the evenings, a television set must be bought. It was supposed to be for my benefit, but I recall coming home from school and finding her in tears, watching "Queen For A Day". Some poor misfortunate woman who had a terrible disease and a dying child only wanted a decent washing machine, and she got that and more, if she became queen for a day.
Mother even stayed up past 10 PM sometimes, to watch the original Tonight show... starring Steve Allen (Allen was our last name, so of course we assumed he must be a relative).
Television changed all our lives. It took us away from the humdrum routine of everyday life and gave us a glimpse into another world. But it also took us inside, and away from the front porch where neighbors chatted with one another, and kids chased fireflies.
Wow. Those were the good old days.