Saturday, September 10, 2011

And Only Hours to Go (Before I Awake)

Honestly, it used to feel like the day was never going to arrive. Then at about the six or eight-month mark the days began to pass more quickly. So quickly that I haven't really given much thought to what it will be like to return to the opportunity to resume what I used to take for granted.

Knowing lots of stuff about what's going on everywhere.

I've thought of an analogy, though.

Back at Christmas we were at my father's house. We always stay in the upstairs bedroom where there are some old family furniture pieces. A trunk that belonged to my great grandfather. A chest of drawers that were used by my grandparents.

And our old family Magnavox console hi-fi in a cherry wood cabinet purchased by my father in Denver, Colorado, in 1958. He wanted his three sons to be exposed to history, art and culture in the form of 12" long playing records.

Typically I pay little attention these days to the hi-fi with its gold laced grill front, even though it once meant much to me. I used to lift the lid and stack up to 6 records on the turntable spindle (I can still smell that distinct black vinyl odor). Magic followed in the form of swelling, passionate classical music by the world's greatest composers as it vibrated through the living room for hours.

Crank up the Rite Of Spring past the middle setting on the rotary dial and a little kid could shake the walls...

Decades later the hi-fi has become a level surface during family visits where I empty my pockets of change, receipts, and keys. But at Christmas I had a new idea.

Let's lift the lid. Poke around.

What if I turn on the power switch?

Amazing! After 60 years the tubes are glowing... There are no records to play, but I spin the dial until I hear distant voices, that's all, because most of the A.M. radio band is obscured by static.

That's when I start to imagine that tomorrow morning, Sept. 11, 2011, I'm going to be a bit like that old hi-fi. My tubes will glow warmly and I'll remember that I can still pull in a signal and make the outside world come into my house.

News, entertainment, sports, and weather. I'll spin my mental dial, listening to my wife and son as they de-brief me, fingering the old newspapers and news magazines stored out in the garage. During that time of reengagement what is already past tense to everyone else will become my temporary present.

I'll turn on the TV again, too. Even though we don't have a cable or satellite feed, there should be plenty to glean. I've ordered a new amplified antenna in lieu of the inadequate rabbit ears I've used in the past. I'll be able to pick up a few missing on-air channels. The Sunday NFL games will come back to me!

How long will it take for me to get caught up? And what will be my reaction to what I missed? Have I learned any lessons, made any discoveries in the midst of mass media deprivation?

I'll be working out the answers to these questions. That's what the rest of this project and my posts from here on out will be about.

And one more thing. I'm going to stop signing off as V.W.

Awakened to the whole range of life with all its charms and disappointments, human heroism and fleshly frailties, accomplishments and tragedies, I intend to once again put on my true identity. But for now, and those remaining hours, minutes, seconds until the counter turns over to 0-0-0, I remain as ever, your faithful dozing servant. - V.W.



  1. It was a few years before yours but we had a big Philco console that went with us through a number of moves. I can remember hearing of the attack of Pearl Harbor on it.
    My dad had a huge collection of vinyl recrds and I would spend hours on the floor in front of it listening to music and reading. We would all gather around it in the evening to listen to a huge variety of shows like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Fibber McGee and Molly along with so many others it'd take 10 pages to listen.
    And, my dad was a professional musician who played the piano and jazz organ. He'd often record some of his stuff on the console.

    Sigh, thanks for the memories.

  2. You are not going to say a word about the Arab Spring? You are kidding me.