Old game-show memories

A few weeks ago while talking to one of my doctors, I mentioned I usually get up as early four or five in the morning. She looked puzzled as she asked me, “Why in the world do you get up so early?”

There’s really only one reason. It’s because my old body has things that need attending to in the early hours. Once I’ve finished with those — the bathroom and pouring myself a cup of coffee — I just may as well stay up and enjoy the beauty of the sun rising. It always suprises me that I’m still here to do that at the ripe old age of 93, for which I’m very grateful.

There isn’t much in the way of television early in the morning, so I first check the news. Then, unless something unusual has happened here or worldwide, I turn to the game show channels. There are tons of 30- to 40-year-old shows then. It’s interesting to watch as people talk about events and people from so long ago. All too often the participants are now long gone.

This brings back many memories watching shows like Match Game, Card Sharks, Press Your Luck and Whammy. How I wish that the producers of the newer shows would bring back something similar to these oldies but goodies! They also go through phases of showing tons of old programs still being shown like “The Wheel.”

It’s wonderful to watch these all over again.

One thing always happens. It bothers me when it does. It’s the ignorance of people — when asked questions that everyone should know — answer with something ridiculous. I watched, bewildered, as three or more contestant can’t answer simple questions that any blue-blooded American should know. Nobody should be unaware that Pearl Harbor happened on a Sunday. There should be no question that Johnson became the president when given the oath of office in Air Force One.

They should know that Truman said “The buck stops here,” and it was Teddy Roosevelt that said to “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” The one that really got to me was a so-called intelligent woman in her 40s, when asked to name one of the original

13 colonies said “Michigan!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. All of this remembering brings back a lot for me.

We all have memories of times, events or of people that slip into our minds, seemingly out of nowhere. This often makes us smile, or laugh or cry. It could be an event, a person, a view out of a window, or a movie. Perhaps even a glance from a building high in the air over a city on our first visit? We all have those times.

As my son Doug asked me what I was going to write about this week, I’d just been watching a movie that showed a scene from a building in California overlooking the Pacific. That quick view made me smile and laugh. First of all was the thrill I had when we had first arrived in Santa Barbara after that memorable trip from Philly in 1964.

We got lucky, my five sons and I, to be shown a brand new apartment that had been built high on a hill overlooking the town. From the balcony off of the living room we could view that glorious blue Pacific Ocean, the islands out in the water and the boats that always seemed to be enjoying the day. It was a tiny two-bedroom place, but it was all we needed.

I recall thinking then “What have I done?” After paying the rent, buying second hand furniture and food for perhaps a week, I had about $100 left in my purse. We didn’t know a soul except for the landlord and one neighbor. The people at the grocery store were strangers, I didn’t have a job, Doug was just out of High school. Don, Jr. just finished his first college year in Philly. I was scared.

At that time I realized, “Well here we are, let’s get to work.” Doug got a job the next day at the Santa Barbara Inn, I got a waitress job, Don, Jr. got a job washing cars and had signed up for college courses. The three little guys, 7, 9 and 11 had started school. A hundred such scenes can bring forth a hundred different memories for all of us. Which ones do you remember? Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at news@lahontanvalleynews.com


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