Ice Cream In Front Of The Television Anyone?

November 1, 2018

Once again the Ghosts of Main have brought along some Blevins Street thoughts. My parents purchased their first television when we lived in the Turner house at 106 Blevins St. It was the early 1950’s and the first shows I recall watching was the Howdy Doody Show and Miss Frances on Romper Room, both aired late in the afternoon; after school time, although I did not yet go to school.

Julie Traynor Postcards from the Pine Columnist

Julie Traynor Postcards from the Pine Columnist

I was delighted to see Howdy and his friends in action. Previously, I only knew them in books. I still remember that grainy, snowy black and white picture, which traveled all the way from Grand Rapids to our Marion television antenna, a hundred miles distant. The quality of the picture did not matter to me. I knew what was there. It was the most amazing thing I had seen in my young life. It still ranks right up there with the probable sighting of Santa Claus a year or so later.

Dad first tried a mahogany encased 25” screen television. My parents did not care for the, to them, enormous grainy heads or the light it threw into the living room. They traded it in for a triple hitter; a mahogany cabinet containing a 19” television, am-fm radio and a turntable with a state of the art ‘tone arm Cobra’ needle. The whole thing closed up to look like a buffet in the living room.

This set up was much more to my parents liking. My mother literally wore out needle after needle on the old tone arm. She owned many records and played them during the day when no one was there to complain. She could also do the same with the television. She was an early soap opera watcher, following a couple for years; as long as Alzheimer’s allowed. The folks on As the World Turns were friends and family to her. 

As you may recall, my mom was a great taker of photos. I have a very well photographically documented life…to a point, thanks to mom’s love of photos and scrap books. One of her great legacies to our genealogy is the many photograph albums she assembled and the accurate records about them she kept.

Through the years that television provided a backdrop for a lot of photos, both on Blevins Street and here in the Pines. The television part of the console was on its last legs when we moved, but the other two components still worked beautifully. What by then we referred to as ‘the record player’ came to the Pines with us in 1961. By 1964 it was still on the job. I played my first Beatles album on it…repeatedly, after school. The year I graduated from MHS we posed in front of it for photos.

Christmas wasn’t Christmas unless the Nativity was displayed on top of the mahogany and Christmas music came from behind the closed doors. By the time my kiddos came along the trusty Zenith had played its last and was gone. It was replaced by an aging mahogany console ‘stereo’ from Marion Radio and Electric. It kept Eddie Arnold and Jim Reeves singing in our house for a long time, even after my parents left.

I was sorry to hear of the passing of an old friend of my mother’s, and of our family, the dear, sweet Tiny Alberts, just a few days after her 96th birthday. Tiny’s given name was Edna, although no one ever called her by that. I don’t recall ever hearing anyone say it. She was Edna Alberts only in print. She was Tiny Alberts to this community and that was that.
In the early 1950’s a Dairy Delight was part of what would become the Middle Branch Grocery. Being an ice cream kid, one of my earliest and fond Marion memories is of visiting there for a scoop, served up by Tiny Alberts. I enjoyed the ice cream and the ladies had a chance to visit.

 This is a photo of our brand new Zenith console television in the fall of 1954. Cousin Frank and I are dressed to visit the Uncle Glen kids show on what was then Channel 13.

 This is a photo of our brand new Zenith console television in the fall of 1954. Cousin Frank and I are dressed to visit the Uncle Glen kids show on what was then Channel 13.

When I was older and made regular trips to the post office it was often Tiny Alberts who greeted me at the window. If I had trouble with the combination, it was Tiny who would help. And of course, when I was older still and worked at the IGA, Tiny, and Johnny too, were customers.

I’ve always been happy to see our friend Tiny Alberts and to catch up on things through the years. It was a natural thing when I worked at Christie’s Potting Shed that she and son Dale should stop by when they came to Marion. And back in the day, when Christie sold it, we did that catching up over a big scoop of ice cream. Tiny Alberts was a little woman with a giant heart.

Our condolences also go to the Helmboldt family at the passing of their mom. Lois Holland Helmboldt was a Marion girl, MHS grad, wife, mom and Marion elementary school teacher. She is in the school memories of many a Marion grad. Mrs. Helmboldt was 92.




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