Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

A fistful of pennies

OhmygoshOhmygosh, I cannot believe this still exists:

Easter Straker's Birthday Chair - Lima, Ohio

Photo: Allen County Museum

Honestly, it doesn’t match up to my memory, but then again, I’m pretty sure I was only three (maybe four) years old when mom took me to the local TV station in Lima, Ohio so I could climb into the Birthday Chair and stick my hand in the Penny Jar. I had seen other kids do this on TV – it was a locally-hosted kids’ show – and the fact that I was going to be ON TELEVISION just blew my preschool mind.

Of course, I didn’t actually get to see myself on TV, but I think I remember Dad telling me he had watched, and I tried to imagine what it had looked like on that black and white TV in our living room.

I remember only snapshots of the experience: Only the faintest memory of host Easter Straker, and over the years, the chair had morphed in my memory into something like one of those red and gold Santa thrones. I have a vague recollection of finding it odd that the studio was kind of a plain room with just this one corner decorated for the show. But I do remember reaching into that penny jar, and being disappointed that my fist couldn’t scoop up a jingling mini-pile of coins, Scrooge McDuck fashion.

My post about Giant John brought the memories to the surface again and inspired me to do a quick Google search for something like: Lima + Ohio  + TV + show  + birthday + chair, and I was just amazed when it returned that page from the Allen County Museum.

Better than a fistful of pennies.

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May 8, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, Family history, Television | , , , | 2 Comments

Giant John

I’m pretty sure this is the first book I remember reading, or having read to me.

Giant John by Arnold Lobel

And yes, this is my actual copy, which I’m pretty sure I’ve had my entire life.

It goes back so far in memory that I have no specific recollections to connect to it – what it triggers in my brain are vague but encompassing sensations of times and places and the feeling of a particular era.

Giant John by Arnold Lobel  - castle

It’s the early 1970s, Lima, Ohio. My parents rent a house on North Main street, and we have a black-and-white Zenith TV in our front room, and a convertible VW bug in the driveway. The soundtrack of the time includes “Band on the Run” and “Billy Don’t Be A Hero.”

Though I’m sure both Mom and Dad read this book to me countless times, I still hear it in my grandma Joan’s voice. She has a slight Midwestern accent, and her librarian’s cadence and careful enunciation is mixed with a storytelling grandparent’s sweetness and tone of wonder that ends every sentence with the unasked question, “What do you think is going to happen next?”

I’ve written a lot about growing up in the 1980s, but over the past couple years, I’ve realized how much I absorbed from the early-to-mid 1970s, and how bits and pieces from those times are lodged in the back corners of my mind. I’ve been meaning to mine that territory a bit more, and Giant John has been there the whole time.

May 6, 2012 Posted by | 1970s, Books, Family history, Ohio | , , , , | 4 Comments

   

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