Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Something New in the House

I clearly remember the day we got our first microwave, at least I clearly remember parts of it.  I have a vague notion of waiting in somebody else's car parked on main street probably in front of the old Woolworth's Department store while Mom and her friend went inside to pick something up.  I think that something was the microwave oven.  I tried mightily to find a picture of the model we owned on  line, but there was nothing that came close to that pale yellow dinosaur.  I liked it because it was so user friendly.  You only had to decide how long you wanted it to run, turn the knob  to indicate the number of seconds/minutes required and then hit the start button. 
 ( note the conspicuous absence of a key pad here) No fussing with power settings, or defrost settings, it was either on or off and that was it.  And it was built like a tank too!  I think we used it at home for a solid 15 years before it went on to Mom's shop to work for at least another 10 without ever needing to go to the repair shop.   I say I remember the day clearly because I will never forget how Mom Jamie and I gathered around our new space age wonder and watched as it cooked bacon on a paper plate right before our eyes.  We were shocked and amazed, and hooked!  From then on why turn on the stove if what Jamie later dubbed the "Micro-slave" could do it quicker and on a paper plate that did not have to be washed.  That I guess was the beginning of our paper plate streak too.  It was before the whole recycle thing had caught on, we were not asked to reduce our garbage when I was a kid, but  just to please keep it in its proper place, what with the Indian crying over the trash strewn highway and the little white on green stick figure throwing garbage in a can with the catch phrase "Pitch In"  Or Woodsy the Owl "Give  Hoot!  Don't Pollute!  But back in the early seventies recycling was on the hippie fringe and not mainstream at all.  So we had our stack of paper plates and a stack of plastic paper plate holders that would keep the paper plate from catastrophic failure long enough to eat whatever was on it -piping hot and fresh from the microwave.  I did not realize how enmeshed in my life the microwave had become until I moved from home for the first time when I was 17.  I had graduated high school and moved to Amarillo with the girl across the street, Cathy Clancy.  I was standing in the kitchen of our apartment with a saucepan of cold Kraft macaroni and cheese and not the faintest idea of how to re-heat it for my lunch.  I went to throw it in the microwave when I realized I did not have one anymore and I could not  imagine how I could heat it on the stove without cooking it to death.   I called  Mom long distance ( also a big deal back then)to find out how to reheat food without a microwave.    Fortunately my life without a microwave did not last long.  The staff at Cannon Chapel all chipped in and gave us a nice new ammana model for a wedding present.  I will never forget one of the chaplains saying " A Microwave oven?  Dang!  All I got when I got married was a picture of Jesus at the rock!"

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Just 30 more minutes...PULEEEEZE!

Medical Center
Of course my bedtime  changed over The years but there are benchmarks that stand out in my memory for different reasons.   I remember being sent to bed at a very young age and hating that we had pillows so flat they hardly mattered.  Mom and Daddy had big feather pillows, but Jamie and I had  pillows that were made from a coral colored floral print fabric that when folded in half, and let me say here for the record that not only did they fold in half they folded easily in half,  still had barely enough loft to lift our heads up off the mattress.  When we whined about them and asked why we could not have "real" pillows like theirs we were told that big pillows where not healthy or safe for little children...I am not sure exactly where the danger was, possible suffocation?  Chronic neck pain?  Who knows, but what I was sure of a few years later was that no matter what harm could befall me from an overly lofty pillow there was nothing that the handsome Dr. Gannon of "Medical Center" could not cure.  At this stage in my upbringing I had moved past the 7:30 bedtime of my early youth and had gained a whole hour!  At first flush this seems like a real victory but not on Medical Center nights.  You see, It came on at 8 o'clock  and it was an hour long show.  I always got hooked into the story during those last 30 minutes of my day and invariably I would be sent to bed promptly at 8:30.  I would ask to stay up for the last 30 minutes of the show, but I don't think Mom ever relented.  Her stock reply was that I knew I would not be able to see the whole show, so why did I start watching it in the first place?  This was before the days of a TV in every room, so it was watch what she was watching or go do something else.  It was not lost on me even at that young age what a looker Chad Everett was and I always held out hope that this would be the week she would fail to notice the time.  So I gambled and lost over and over again.  It would seem a sorry and pitiful thing except it lead to one of my all time favorite things...going to sleep with the flickering blue light of a TV on in another room casting shadows under the door. It may be why I still fall asleep to a TV show flickering in the dark every night.