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Loyal Traveling Television

When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships.  ~Andy Warhol

With Christmas behind us, many people are putting their new gifts to use, especially the electronics.  This year, my sister got me the iPad3 with retina Display.  Boy was I surprised!  I didn’t expect that at all, and a really gracious gift it was.

Ryan & Aunt Heather Piper with old TV
Me & Ryan with Ryan’s “new” TV- not my sister’s.  He eventually blew it up when he decided to take it apart to see how it worked, he forgot to unplug it.  1980’s

While I was online reviewing accessories for my new toy, I got into talking to my friend Kelly.  She was helping me pick out the perfect messenger bag for toting my iPad.  I have no idea what made me think of it, but the memory of my sister’s dedicated television set just shot in my mind, no doubt due to the sheer humor of it.  Perhaps this walk down memory lane is so amazing because of the world of disposable goods we live in, but regardless it’s a tale worth sharing.

On the previous thought, let me rant for a few.  Everyone is used to getting rid of what they have for the desire of something new.  Personally, I think that’s a shame in most cases.  What really cracks me up, are those individuals who purchase the items that are old because they are retro and now the trendy thing to have again, when in fact, they probably had the same thing years prior and paid a lot less for it originally.  I will admit I have fallen into this trap a time or two, but for the most part I’m pretty content with what I have and I never feel the need for the newest, or something perceived as better or bigger or flashier or whatever.  I’m a pretty practical person and I love items that will be of use.

As with everything there are exceptions to the rule.  If I had serious loot, I mean Mark Zucherburg moola or Warren Buffett’s checkbook, I would have the grandest of all art collections.  Even though I am simple, I do appreciate the finer things and especially those that represent beauty and history.  A Caspar David Friedrich would certainly be at the top of my list since he is one of my favorite artists.  Admittingly, one of my biggest indulgence wishes would be to own a piece of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelery collection.  I do love jewelery!  Did I mention it’s an investment piece that has longevity?  So in my mind a practical one.  Perhaps that’s the secret formula to my justification of purchases, will it have longevity?  Maybe, but what about items that are not suppose to last for decades, literally?  Again that’s why God made us all different, so we have to rely on one another to survive.  Plus I think it makes the world more interesting.

Now I’m back on track to outline my sister’s loyal TV story.  Way long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, Nicole and I received a color television set for Christmas.  Who’s TV set it really was, I have no idea, but we did get it sometime in elementary school, mid 1980’s.  Back then, it was a special thing to have a color television in our room, at least in our family.  We loved it!  The screen was probably a foot square and maybe 18 inches long with rabbit ears and no remote control.  Believe it or not, it was fresh off of the store shelves and represented a new shiny toy for us.  It meant more than something new, it mean TV freedom!

We only had the one large television set, which resembled a piece of furniture in the house.  It resided in the living-room.  The actual TV set was color, encompassed in a fake wooden box with rabbit ears sticking out of the top.  Only having a single TV unit in the house made watching our choice of shows far and few between.  Not that there was a lot to watch on TV back then, but the evenings were owned by dad.  The shows included the news and I’ve seen every episode of National Geographic and Marty Stouffer!  Reflecting back on it now, I really did enjoy those shows.  I am a big fan of the NATGEO channel, Animal Planet and the History Channel, as is Kyle.  But being young and not having an option, I didn’t welcome such shows into my list of favorites and put my nose up to them.  To not make it sound like we were always chained to undesirable shows, I must give a shout out to Saturday morning cartoons.  That was our time to watch whatever we wanted, up until noon.

Nicole-Penn-State-Graduate-Aunt-Heather-Piper
Nicole graduates from Penn State with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering 1997

Nicole and I set the TV up on our desk and pointed it toward our twin beds, which ran parallel to the room.  We made sure we both had full access to the small screen while stretching out.  In our minds, this was the life!  We struck gold!  Now in the evenings or anytime mom and dad were watching something we didn’t want to view, we could retreat to our room and change the channel.  The TV was not beneficial when Nicole and I couldn’t agree on anything, but again lucky for us there weren’t a lot of choices.

That TV brought whole new worlds to our small corner of the globe.   Nicole introduced me to Saturday Night Live, she was always a night owl in the summer, perfect timing for the show.  To this day I remember watching Love Connection hosted by Chuck Woolery over our summer vacations.  We loved that show and would take most of the afternoon to plan for it, preparing snacks and making sure the TV was on the channel so we wouldn’t miss a beat.  Before MTV came to fruition, we would watch a music video show that was on late at night, can’t remember the name.  This was as hip as we could get, still about a decade behind everyone else, but we didn’t care.  Sometimes, Ryan would accompany us, pick a bed, and join in on the fun.  That was the perfect rainy day, lazy day, sick day, avoiding work day, gift.

As time passed, the TV would be moved around in our bedroom, but always positioned in plain sight.  That is until we reached senior high school.  Nicole was involved in her activities and I had colorguard, winterguard and my Friday Night Bonkers’ plans.  So no one had time for the now outdated and too small TV, but we always kept it.

Once Nicole went to college, she decided to take the TV with her.  This rejected but once loved piece of electronic, accompanied Nicole for two years at Penn State McKeesport before lugging it all the way up to main campus.  Come to think of it, I believe I was the one who physically moved it.  Then, while at Penn State main, the TV followed her to her different apartments before she graduated in 1997.

After that, Nicole moved home for a brief period, getting a job in her field locally.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when she brought the TV back!  It made a full circle over the course of five years.  I wanted her to get rid of it but she refused and that trusty TV was still working.  At this point that television set was roughly 15 years old!  What name brand?  I have no idea, but I was sincerely impressed.

Mom-&-Jake-Aunt-Heather-Piper
Mom & Jake… check out the old TV & VCR behind

Then, within a months time, or so, Nicole got a job in Maryland.  Yep, you guessed it, the TV set traveled with her!  Being in shock, that first of all the TV still worked was one thing, but that my sister wanted to haul this outdated television set with her, was another baffling thought all together.  She did, with pride!  Having your first apartment outside of college and your first real job, I get it.  After all she really didn’t have anything, she was basically just starting out her life.

Then Nicole moved to Tucson, Arizona, where she remained for around five years.  Did I mentioned she moved there on a job promotion?  Staying with the same company all that time and making her way up the corporate ladder, Nicole kept her roots.  Let’s take inventory.  TV set still working and with Nicole?  YES!

Now I’m going to fast forward a few years, when Nicole lived and worked in West Virginia before landing to present day Virginia in the D.C. Metro Area.

First Nicole live in a townhouse, where her TV set had a place to call home.  By this time, we’ve all gotten used to this television set, so when visiting Nicole, wherever she resided, we started to look for the TV.  It’s funny but once when mom was talking to Nicole, dad yell out, “Ask her how her TV is doing?”  I cracked up over that comment.  Good one dad!

In recent years, now that we’ve hit the twenty first century and Nicole bought a house, one would think she would have dropped all dead weight, especially since her purchase of a brand new flat screen TV was welcomed in her living-room.  Nope!  Nicole kept that TV around.  But I’m not talking about putting it in storage.  It always had a shelf and was still used!

On my first trip to stay at Nicole’s, after moving into her house, I must say I was completely dumbstruck, as were mom and dad who were with me.  Kyle didn’t seem to think anything of this TV or our confusion.  Nicole seriously had this television set sitting on a shelf in her bedroom.  I was dying!  We all stood around and gazed at it as if we were in a museum and weren’t allowed to touch it.  I swear I saw the TV give us a defiant grin.  If you would have seen me, mom and dad standing there staring at this ancient piece of electronic, which projected entertainment from the eighties, you would have thought we just witnessed a miracle.  Dad even rolled his eyes!  Too funny!  Nicole laughed and showed us how it still worked, although the on/off switch was no longer there so she had to plug it in and unplug it to power off.  It still had the rabbit ears!  Now, that was dedication on my sister’s behalf for keeping this old TV around.

Eventually, the inevitable happened.  We got a call informing us the loyal television set, fired up for the last time and then turned off forever!  Wow, I must say mom and dad got their money’s worth.  That happened a few years ago, so I would have to guess the TV set was about 28 years old when it retired.  Not too shabby!  Maybe we should have given it a proper burial, but at least we always have the memories!

Published inCommon SenseEducation & LearningFamilyMilestoneNewsPatienceReminiscingTravels

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