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Letter From Home: Can You Imagine? 8/26/11

August 26, 2011

“Can you imagine entering a home and all they have is a 32″ screen?”

Those were the words from a worker to another at a local Best Buy this week.  James and I were in search of a few items and were wandering about the store as the words from one of the young employees hit us and made for smiles.

I wanted to turn and remind him what a horror it must have been to need to get off the sofa ( or as my mom labeled it, the davenport) to change channels.

I can almost see how the young man’s eyes would squint over the lack of comprehending how remote controls were not always just an accessory that came with ‘the screen’, and then having no way to translate davenport into anything recognizable.

I had to smile over the comment made by the Best Buy employee as this week the latest findings were released from Beloit College concerning the ‘mindset’ of incoming freshman.  Things such as Amazon will mean more about shopping than the South American river.  Several years ago it was reported that freshman had no idea who Johnny Carson was.  

The young man would have been aghast if he had known I entered 6th grade without ‘a screen’ at home of any size.  Though there were times I wanted to have TV, especially after hearing my friends talk about this show or that movie, I never really felt a need for the United Nations Human Rights Committee to intervene.  There were always plenty of books in our home, a daily newspaper, (which would prove to be a life-time love), and we used the radio like generations had before.

How we spend time and what amuses us is often technology driven these days.  James and I were reminded of that as we walked for fun among the refrigerators.  Having bought a new one  two years ago we only were browsing among the models, something we are fond of doing.  Walking among the various brands and opening them to see the way the lights are displayed within is, for whatever reason, amusing.


Have you noticed that some lights  now come on in ‘waves’ as you open the door, or do not have one lone light, but a series of smaller and specially located ones.   I like the basic models, though two doors would be fun.   To accommodate for such an upgrade would mean remodeling our historic home, and that seems somehow wrong. 

At least we do not need to bring in a huge chunk of ice off Lake Monona to keep the meat cold.  (Actually there was harvesting of ice off Lake Mendota for this purpose back when this whole house was constructed from white pine in 1892.)

Can you imagine what the young employee would say about that?

  1. August 26, 2011 11:17 PM


    I loved the description of your home. Your comments amuse me. I had you figured for someone in their 20’s, but now I think you are more my age. If not, no offense. I like your personality that comes through in your comments, regardless of age. And there is no need to say.

    My parents had a deep wine colored type davenport, and my mom had doilies on the arms. We also had a very old-fashioned (in the good sense of the word) green covered chair with wooden arms that had a doily on the head rest area.

    At the end of day I have fun with life and am very happy and content. A decade in the legislature and years in radio were serious and also fun, but so is taking off the tie and being content with just living. James and I fit no pattern but it all makes sense to us. I also think helping out a friend with Alzheimers, and now thinking of adding another to that care list as a request to do so has come in, also makes us aware of the small things in life. There are times when nothing is better than sharing ice-cream with someone and seeing the smile it creates. Folks get all snarly at rush-hour and caught up in a million things, and never take the time to slow down and look in the frig and see the lights come on. That is the hidden moral side of this post.

    There are countless ways to slow down. Truth is we have phones that never ring in the house. I can not even tell you how to turn the ringer on, nor can James. If we see a message on the machine we listen, and do check it several times a day, but the rat-race of the phone and such is something I hated when all lines were alway busy at the Capitol. When I left that was never going to happen again.

    More comment than you probally wanted…but thanks for yours.

  2. Annie K. permalink
    August 26, 2011 9:03 PM

    Also, might I suggest you move North. You’d fit right in. Or if not North then deepest darkest Alabama. I’m easily amused, but even I can’t believe you two hee-haws opening and closing appliance doors repeatedly to watch the lights come on…
    Remember when I reamed you a new on for going to Wal-Mart to see the freaks (of which I am one) ?
    This kinda sheds new light on that whole scenario.
    I’d like to apologize to both you and Jethro.

  3. Annie K. permalink
    August 26, 2011 8:53 PM

    Weird. This is totally true !!!
    At approximately 5 pm earlier this evening I was discussing “davenports” – explaining that it is “just a couch” and also explaining the travails of my cultural transition from being a ridiculed Davenport Sayer to a more socially accepted Couch Sayer. Some kids at my new school heard me say BOTH “davenport” and “bubbler”. Not good. The friends I was beginning to make as The Exotic New Kid scattered in a million directions – Game Over.

    Since I’m sure you’re wondering – our davenport was orange, and I mean orange like a crayon. To compare it to the fruit would be too organic and not convey the raw Vinyl power of the thing. It sat next to a Queen Anne chair, and an end table with a lamp that had foot-tall George and Martha Washington figures posed on a lump of flowery earth, with an over-ruffled lampshade over their heads. A very modern coffee table had mottled glazed turquoise ashtrays in that classic Boomerang shape. When the TV died after an alarmingly brief life it still sat there holding knick-knacks and covered milk glass candy dishes for years. I asked once if “they” were ever going to fix it. The answer was along the lines of “Of course not…now get your shoes off the davenport and go back out and get some fresh air”

    The only good thing about Best Buy is going in there and having some whippersnapper boy-clerk come up to me with that “this old lady is an ignoramus so I better address her gently and be prepared to explain 20 times how e-mail works” look on his face.


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