Monday, February 1, 2010

The Object of My Desire: Don't Touch That Dial

When I think back on my childhood, some of my fondest memories revolve around a radio. I was reminded of an almost-long-gone era as I gazed inside the windows of the Italian jean maker, Energie, and spied this old Zenith radio.

When I was a kid visiting my Grandma Churchill down on her milk farm, my uncles who helped her always tuned into the now-defunct country music station KSOA in the nearby town of Ava at, oh say, 5:30 a.m. My grandma liked to maximize her sleep before heading out to milk the cows, so the radio volume would mysteriously rise little by little as the clock hands moved toward the 6 o'clock hour, when the noise would finally force Grandma to leap out of bed and race into the kitchen to start making breakfast.

When it came to baseball, my uncles were St. Louis Cardinals fans and would move the dial from KSOA to a Springfield station to catch the games. I can almost hear the comforting, low chit-chat of the announcer's play-by-play that drifted out to the front porch on a hot summer's day. Since we lived in the Kansas City area, we were Kansas City Royals fans. And back at home, Dad would tune into the game in our white, 1969 VW Bug as we drove around town pretending to be riding inside "Herbie the Love Bug."

For one of my early birthdays, both my sister and I received portable AM/FM radios that we'd lug around inside and out to listen to music as we played out on the patio or in the street. And sometimes it served as a late-night companion when sleep was not coming soon enough.

Once I reached high school, it was replaced by a beloved boom box. When I got my first car, a 1979 four-door, powder blue Chevy Chevette, I saved up money to enhance the sound system and promptly blew out the speakers. Oh, the disco music that blared in the '70s and punk and New Wave in '80s with a healthy sprinkling of country that has spanned both decades.

I've got Donna Summer's song "On The Radio"in my head, reminding me of an era when people would make on-air song dedications to their loved ones.

"You couldn't find the words to say it yourself, and now in my heart I know I can say what I really feel, 'cause they said it really loud. They said it on the air. On the radio...."

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous (and listening to NPR on iTunes)

The Elegant Thrifter


  1. Oh wowowowo...On The Radio! Love that song:)

    I have always had a weakness for radios...I grew up with wnax, as my Daddy worked there, and fulfilled a wonderful dream of becoming an announcer for 10 years. What a great job...every paycheck was a surprise "You are PAYING me to do this?!"

    Still have a hard time walking past vintage radios.

    Hugs, Sonya

  2. Great post! You brought back memories of my mother listening to the radio while she was cooking our supper. My grandma would listen to the country station when she was baking too. Maybe that's why I collect old radios!
    Happy Monday!

  3. Stan, What memories you have invoked. My mom still has my grandma's kitchen radio on top of her fridge. Grandma Florence also loved the Cincinnati Reds and when they came out with the little portable radios in the leather case she would listen to baseball any chance she got. She always carried her little earphone too, I think about her often as I feel my love of vintage came from trying to replicate those memories of such a warm comforting place in time. I recently found a similar little transistor radio in an aqua case which I keep in my art room to listen to while creating. I think of her each time I turn the dial. Thanks for the lovely post, Pam

  4. Stan I remember living by the music on my radio! I had a clock radio in my room and it was always on...I was a teenager in the 60's and loved all the British Rock groups...of course the Beatles and so many others. I loved the 80's songs as a young Mother and On the Radio was one of my fav's....great music to do housework by! Still love old radios and have several in my home.

  5. I love getting to see into your memories - marvelous post as usual! I had one of those round radios with the key chain thingy on it - such wonderful memories you have stirred up.




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