Saturday, May 11, 2013

After School Radio Requests

In the late 40's radio was It.
My dad told me a little man lived 
in the round lit up globe 
and that he was the one talking,
and, four years old, oh yes,
I believed.

The highlight of afternoons 
at my grandma's
was rocking back and forth, 
the rocker pulled out 
into the middle of the room,
while I listened to Maggie Muggins 
and Mr McGarrity.
The show always ended with
"And we don't know what 
will happen tomorrow."
In my world, neither did I.
Me and Maggie Muggins were soul sisters.

Pennies From Heaven, Sunny Side of the Street,
Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe,
and, at twelve, freckle-faced 
and falling all over my feet,
I began to dream.

At thirteen, the sound of Brenda Lee 
on the radio gave me an electric shock
as I recognized we sang in the same range.
All through my teens, my long-suffering family
listened to me rockin' out with Brenda,
wailing and howling with all the angst
of life's uninitiated,
dreaming that someday somehow my clumsy psyche
would at some point, magically,
achieve some kind of grace.

Teen years were sock hops to the radio
during school lunch hour,
and after school request programs.
We dropped our requests into a little box
at the bottom of the stairs at the radio station -
walking, as kids were rarely driven 
anywhere back then -
and they would be read on the air 
from 4 to 5 p.m.:
"Please play Run Around Sue for......well, 
you know who you are."

The 60's was driving around in souped up cars
that are now classic antiques,
boys in duck tails (the hair style of the day),
girls in bouffant "Do's" that got all disarranged
what with all the necking.
In the background or, perhaps, the foreground,
the radio played all the songs of love and heartbreak:
Cold, Cold Heart, Who's Sorry Now?
Your Cheatin' Heart. 
(It should have been a clue 
that love songs were always about heartbreak.
Yet all we longed for was Love, capital L.)
Misty. Chances Are. Blue Velvet.
Soft and dreamy. Girls mooney-eyed, 
lying on their beds dreaming of.........
whatever it would take for their lives to begin.

Beam me up, Mr Radio Man.
Would you like to run that program by me
all over again?
I'd do a lot less agonizing and a lot more dancing.

At Real Toads, the fair Maid Marian set us a simple, intriguing challenge: to discuss the impact of radio on our lives. The radio has been the sound track of my life. In a big way, especially in those pre-tv days when I was a kid.


  1. Sherry, this was a joyful look through a few decades! I love your singing along with Brenda Lee. I was Barbra Streisand, of course... and Dusty Springfield!

    Small things I didn't know, like the DJ request box... by the time I was a teen, I had to call in to request!

    Also, re: the man in the globe doing the talking... when I was three, I remember thinking up, all by my little self, that there was a miniature Frank Sinatra on top of the phonograph needle doing the singing, and that Frank wasn't real, because everyone had their own little Frank. DUH!! Ha ha.

    Great take, Sherry, this made me smile. Amy

  2. This is a wonderful retrospective, Sherry. I really enjoyed reading what radio meant to you while you were growing up. Treasured memories.

  3. oohhhhh i love this! love love! and the wry end: "beam me up," that's from TELEVISION. hah!
    excellent, i so love this stroll... it's wonderful.
    i have a long story with radio, too. i found myself writing something different for this prompt, but will have to return to that story.
    xoxo sherry!

  4. I love this. You captured history, memory, and so very much more.

  5. Ha, these were the good old days. Loved those 'souped up cars' driven by the guys with the ducktails. LOL. A fun reminisce, Sherry.

  6. Sherry, I lived/loved those days right along with you! Splendid post!!

  7. I so enjoyed the look back Sherry of the radio and music in your growing up years ~ I specially laughed at your crooning along with Brenda, dreaming that you have the same vocal range, ha ~

  8. Oh, you certainly took me back. I know where you were!

  9. Wonderful! I was a few years later. Sunday radio was "Have Gun, Will Travel" ... I love how you could make requests at the station. And the cars. This was "Grease"! SO many images, so many heartbreak songs. Yes, friend,dance next time round.

  10. Brenda Lee comin' on strong...

    I'm more of a Golden Earring era kid. Sorry!


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