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The way it was

Story ID:9908
Written by:Monte Leon Manka (bio, other stories)
Organization:retired
Story type:Poem
Location:corona CA USA
Year:1932
Person:Battery down Chelsea Kansas Kid
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My, How Times Have Changed

Long ago before TV
All you had was radio
You picked your programs carefully
No electricity, doncha know

That old radio battery
For shame
Would usually go down
In the middle of a baseball game

We learned to watch the last two innings
So at least it was exciting
As we huddled around
And our fingernails we were biting

Expecting that old battery to peter out
When it went down
It might be a week
Before we went to town

And get that old battery regenerated
By the local radio man
Who had new batteries for sale
He wanted a fortune for one of them

When I was about eight or nine
The REA came by the farm
Now we were electrified
Even got an Radio alarm

We listened to the news
And all the baseball games
We listened to some guys talking
Don’t even remember their names

Got Jack Benny
Heard Dennis Day sing “Danny Boy”
That little guy had a great voice
One program we did enjoy

After the chores
After Supper time
After the Homework was done
Well before nine

We gathered round that old radio
“Amos and Andy” We listened in awe
On Wednesday, I think
Got the news each morning from Wichita

Dad loved that dying cowboy music
So we listened to Del Rio Texas, Oh dear
A very powerful station
Came all the way to Chelsea loud and clear.

When a lightning storm
Came through, we unplugged the radio
Didn’t want to lose
Our main entertainment, doncha know.

There were times when
The static was so bad
Couldn’t listen to your favorite station
Or your favorite comedian, very sad

Dad set up an antenna
The top was thirty foot off the ground
On the north side of the house
It did improve the sound

I could listen to “my” music
Not dad’s dying cowboy stuff
After finishing the chores
Dad would change back to his dying cowboy stuff

You could write Wichita
And make a request to play a certain song
We wrote them and asked them to play
“Red Sails in the Sunset” for Mom

You remember
Red sails in the sunset
Way out on the sea
Oh carry my loved on
Home safely to me.

I’m sure you remember this song
Mom was so pleased
She sang these words
As she scrubbed the kitchen floor on her knees

That electricity
Made a big change on our farm
We could do so many more things
In the winter time electric heater kept the dining room warm.

Today that seems so primitive
We all lived through it, though
But that’s the way it was
Sure enjoyed the electricity and that Radio.

Monte L. Manka 08-02-2014