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Kountry Life Memories

When I was a small boy, my grandmother had remarried and moved away to a different neighborhood. My mother, 2 brothers and I moved into her now vacant home. Her house was located on the side of a hill, which to 'flat-landers' would probably be considered as 'on the side of a mountain.' It was a very nice place to live in times of good weather… a couple of nice Catawba trees to shade the front porch in the heat of the day and the 'most wonderful' night sounds of any place that I ever lived. The crickets and katydids put on a nightly concert ….some times louder and other times softer… My older brother by three years, was at 'that age' that he had to listen to the radio when he went to bed….one of those things I guess, that is embedded in the soul of teenagers……one of those 'do it or you will die' things. Back then, FM radio stations were non-existent, at least in the part of the country that I lived in…and radios were the size of a small dishwasher today....... every night, my brother would twist the knobs of 'the radio'…Knobs which were shoe-polish brown in color, and he would stare intently in the dark, at the little red hand that moved behind the dimly lit glass face that was painted with numbers and hash marks. He would turn the dial back and forth…stop and listen to a voice semi hidden behind the heterodynes of two interfering stations…he would crank the dial some more and perhaps you would hear a voice say ''WO-WO, Fort Wayne, Indiana…he would crank to 'WLS in Chicago, 890 on your radio dial', stopping momentarily to listen and then continue on until he found the right spot on the dial….The spot where a big , booming voice would say…'W C F L, Chicago, the Voice of Labor'. AM radio stations, as anyone who listened to them at night at that time will remember, the stations faded 'in' and 'out' periodically, especially in the summer when the ionosphere that bounced the signals back to earth was higher above the earth due to the heating of the sun through the day. I can remember WCFL fading out, ...always in the middle.... of the only song...that you wanted to hear during the whole night. It always seemed that just when the song was ending, the signal strength would increase and the voices at the other end would seem like they were right in the same room with you again.. But, there was something exotic about those far away places like Chicago, Fort Wayne, Cleveland……exotic and magic to a kid that hadn’t ever been more than a couple of counties away from where he was born …Anyway, to finish this story, I always had to get up each night and turn the radio off…..After my brother finally decided which station he wanted to listen to and got into bed, he usually lasted about five minutes before sleep overtook him and he would begin to snore….To this day, …I can close my eyes…and I can hear …..… 'W C F L, Chicago, the Voice of Labor' and the sound of my brother snoring…. and the sound of crickets and katydids after I turned off the radio. And when I rolled over onto my side, I heard my own small voice say 'Goodnight brother!'

Gary Warner, from WV, entered 2003-07-10

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