Some of you remember this guy. 1956 and I was eight years old and glued to the television set on Saturday mornings watching Howdy Doody, Clarabelle Hornblow, Princess Summerfall Winterspring and Phineas T. Bluster.
Howdy Doody began on radio and the program called The Triple B. Ranch opened with Big Brother Bob saying "Oh, ho, ho, howdy doody."
That was in 1948.
I grew up on Westerns, the Mickey Mouse show, cartoons and the Howdy Doody Show. I was fascinated with the Electromindomizer that read minds the Honkadoodle that translated Mother Goose's honks into English.
I loved Doodyville and Clarabell's slapstick and his seltzer bottle.
Easter always brings up memories like this for me. My parents both worked extra shifts to make money so we seldom, if ever, went to any relatives home for Easter dinner. My mother didn't believe in Easter baskets and the one chocolate bunny, that always arrived in the mail, from my beloved Great Grandpa, was quickly put into the freezer for "some other time".
I didn't know anything about Easter egg hunts and the only colored eggs I ever remember seeing when I was young were the hard boiled, shelled ones that my grandmother put in a jar full of beet juice.
I thought those were pretty, pink and yellow when sliced.
Buying an Easter outfit was expensive so I only remember one time that my mother bought me one. Actually, it was a mother-daughter look alike outfit. I thought it was strange then and I still think it's a strange idea.
Most years Easter weekend was the same as any other weekend for me.
One parent was always sleeping while the other was out working and I was glued to the television set.
But, this is where it was different from how my children watched television. I sat at my little table, in front of the television and drew in a journal. I didn't know it was called a journal. I knew that my Aunt Elvie had bought me a box of 24 crayons and a bound pad of blank paper. She told me to draw whatever I wanted and never throw away anything just because it didn't look right. She said that I could fix anything by just coloring over it.
I remember that because my mother had fixed ideas about how one should color. You went in small circles, INSIDE the lines and you rotated the crayon so you kept a nice tip on it. So, while my mother napped before she went on night shift I was free to fall in love with the characters of Doodyville and scrub my crayon against the paper any way that I wanted.
I watched and drew.
That art pad is long gone but the memories aren't. Recently, my daughter said that she didn't know what to do for entertainment for her boyfriend's nine year old son, Max. I know Max loves to draw so I sent a box of art supplies home with my daughter. The other day when she stopped by with her boyfriend, he made it a point to tell me how much Max loved those art supplies and was drawing all the time with them. He was so happy because it meant that Max was spending less time on video games.
Max has created his own world with pictures to explain the characters and environment of that planet. I love this. I love his pictures and strange animals that live on his planet.
PS. Did you know that Howdy Doody had 48 freckles on his face for the 48 states in the Union and a permanent smile on his face. I loved Howdy. :)