You haven’t lived until you have seen your offspring writhing on a rug on the living room floor when they don’t have access to 115 cable channels. But that is exactly what happened at the Ivers household many years ago on Wilcox Avenue in Meriden, CT.
You see, my husband and I slowly realized that our children were becoming TV Zombies. Not the kind that chewed off other people’s ears or anything gross like “The Walking Dead,” but the kind that would sit motionless for hours, hardly breathing, eyes glazed over with fascination while the cathode ray tube that sat high above them in a hutch flickered its tantalizing images…. Most of which were contrived of worthless junk. (Not everything was Sesame Street or Reading Rainbow. I’m probably really dating myself with the last half of that statement!)
Worst of all… MY HUSBAND WAS BECOMING A TV ZOMBIE TOO!
And he knew it. He would stay up to watch just one more episode or one more movie or one more whatever and on occasion I would find him sacked out on the couch in front of the “idiot box” as we used to call it, and I would have to shake him awake to get up to go to work! Oh yes, he well knew he had an addiction problem just like the kids!
To add to the excitement… WE WERE PRETTY BROKE! We had bought a rambling wreck of a Victorian that was a constant “Money Pit” and had to cut cost somewhere so the decision was not as difficult to make as you would believe.
Yep! We went from hundreds of stations (All of which played too many of the same thing over and over and over and over again, and still do by the way!), to five stations with an antenna. Channels 3, 8, 30 and 61 (they are long gone under the domain they used to broadcast under), and PBS. That was it! The uproar from the peanut gallery was heard throughout the neighborhood!
“How could you do this Mom? None of my friends will ever come here again!”
Secretly I thought to myself…”Well, that ain’t so bad.” With four kids and tons of friends there was always a lot of picking up, cleaning up, snacking, fighting, etc. going on at my house, so maybe a little peace and quiet won’t be so bad.
And do you know what? In the ultimate end they adapted. If there was a special show that their friends were watching, they spent the afternoon up the street. And for all they complained about the 115-channel loss, they could pretty much see the Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers and Big Bird on the five stations we had. Maybe a little blurry from time to time, but they were still there. And when the shows ended, guess what? My kids learned to pick up a book! Their father and I never really missed the cable. We were and still are readers. When I moved from Wilcox Avenue I packed 52 boxes of books in the attic that were ultimately donated to the Friends of the Library. My children became avid readers. They each had their favorite genre, but we didn’t care. They were reading! And this, we believe, lead them to excel in school, relationships, work and community activities. One of them, who you are well acquainted with, even went to a speed-reading course because she was so into reading! Sorry Kate…. Must tell all! They’re all grown now, as you all well know. They all have cable, DVD’s, record and play back (can’t even figure out how to do that), stream video, you name it, and I will be interested to see how this younger generation encourages the joy of the written word.
We all know that 95% of the time the “Book was better than the Movie.” Why? Because of the human brain and its ability to imagine and visualize and enter the moment of a metaphor or analogy or any number of wonderful descriptions that draws us into a plot lasts with us forever. Favorite books are like best friends, you never forget them and revisit them once in a while to enjoy their company. I am grateful that my husband was game to “pull the plug” on one of the most dominating and monopolizing industries in the world
It was one of the best things we did as parents.