Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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When I was asked to write on radio and television under communication, I thought who listens to radio or watches T. V. more than I? The T.V. is on whether I''m watching or not, and it''s not shut off until I hear "Good-night and Good Morning" and the test pattern comes on! And I awake every morning to the radio which is my alarm clock. But - what in the world can I write about? I vaguely remember when Grandad Chudley had a crystal set with one set of earphones and what a thrill to hear music when they were set on my head! There really was more static than music - the reception was not good. I only remember listening once - and I can''t recall how long Grandad had the set or what happened to it afterwards. A few years later we got a battery operated radio - what a pleasure - everyone could hear it at the same time! Batteries needed for the radio were quite expensive and it seemed they were always dead - just when we wanted to hear something important. Iremember trying to be very quiet and trying to stay up and around on Saturday night to listen to the "Grand Ole Opery" which came on about midnight. I seldom got away with my late night plans. There was a weekly program that our Mennonite neighbours enjoyed and they used to come over in the evening to listen but I cannot remember what the program was.

After I was married, radio was a great source of entertainment and company for me. How I used to rush with dinner dishes and other necessary chores so I could sit and listen to "Ma Perkins", "Guiding Light", "Pepper Young''s Family" and "Big Sister" - a whole hour of soap operas! I really darned a lot of socks and accomplished a lot of embroidery and other handicrafts during that hour of relaxation! A friend told me that her uncle used the car battery for the radio. One day an annoyed uncle who was all ready to go to town except to put the battery in the car, waited impatiently until a program his mother was listening to was ended! I do not remember when it became necessary to obtain an operating licence for the radio but I believe it would be in the early 30''s and it was $5 for each radio in the home. It would be in the early 50''s when we had a caller - a gentleman from the R.C.M.P. He asked ifwe owned a radio - I couldn''t deny that - it was going full throttle behind me! Could he please see our licence? No licence! Both Raymond and I had planned on getting that licence but I expect neither one of us had that extra $5 when we went to town. Anyway, our caller gave us a slip and said he''d see us in court, along with our neighbours! How embarassing! - but we got the message and a radio licence was the first item on our list after that year! I don''t know when this expense was cancelled! I often think how much it would cost us now, should we require a licence for each radio in our homes! I cannot recall Grandad Tweedie having a radio until I was much older - probably in my teens. Grandma used to holler at me to be QUIET while Grandad was listening to the news and weather. In those years I was more interested in their gramophone which they had purchased in the late teens or early 20''s. It had always been around from the time I can remember. It used the cylinder type records and the Tweedies had boxes of them - which included a lot of Harry Lauder records - a popular singer of the day. I really enjoyed listening to those records and some humorous ones they had! Hydro came to the rural area in 1946 or later and I imagine it would be in the 50''s before we got away from a battery operated radio. What a "stepup" to just plug the set in and forget about it! No more dead batteries in the middle of an exciting program! I think I could do without a lot of things but I believe I would miss my radio the most - especially if I didn''t have a television.

Television was another wonderful invention.

There are so many educational and entertaining programs. Even the advertising was entertaining when we first got a set. CKX-T.V. (Brandon Station) keep telling us that it''s 30 years old so it would be 1955 when the first program was televised.

It would be 1956 when the first T.V. was purchased in our neighborhood. What a thrill for the elderly lady of that household! Wrestling was her favorite program and she would get quite involved. I''m sure if women had been involved in that sport in those years she would have been a candidate! We got our first T.V. a few years later - and how quickly chores were done up so we could watch a favorite program! I remember how disgusted my grandmother Tweedie was when an ad for kidney pills was shown on the tube. "No need for the like of that, for everyone to see" was her comment! What would she think ifshe could see the advertisements and some of the programs now? I do think television is really good for shut-ins, lonely and elderly folks who are unable to get around much. Maybe the rest of us would be better off ifwe got out more instead of sitting in front of the "box". However, our Manitoba winters encourage most of us to stay at home and how convenient to be entertained - just by flipping a button!


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