If you look back on the video cassette tapes that my father documented our childhood on, you see some footage of me standing and starring into a TV screen. I’m four feet away with glazed look and a slight lean forward. The TV enraptures my 4 year old brain and I am too weak to fight back. I am told this was some of the last days of cable tv in our house. I think this was a wise decision. My parents obviously saw a danger here and the cable was canceled.
After the cable went we were strictly on a movie diet of entertainment and, being a religious family, that meant only classics. Ben-hur, The wizard of OZ, Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane, Treasure island (1932), Abbot and Costello and Gone with the wind. If they predated the 1970’s, with some limited exceptions, we had seen it. I would watch the same black and whites over and over again. These movie’s pop into my head from time to time or a quote I’m reminded of when someone talks. They have become some part of me. They were my moral compass as a child, educating me about a world in grey.
Childhood, more often than not, is destroyed quietly. We read something or a friend informs us on the truths of the world and we take it in and add it to what make sense. We breathe in…and then out. Not every story is romantic. Not every battle is glorious. Reality isn’t a good story and it is rarely ever black and white.