A Clear Memory – UHF Antenna (1985)

I woke up this morning with an incredibly clear memory from my childhood. Something I hadn’t thought about in decades, but for whatever reason it came up now. Probably because we are starting to approach fall and it triggered something (Fall/winter always has the most memories pop up and the most nightmares).

Back in 1985 at a ripe old age of 13/14 (I had a birthday at this apartment) we lived for part of the year on Lombard and 32nd Street in Everett. It was in a converted mansion and we lived up in the attic apartment. A large 3 bedroom apartment with a cool turret for one of the bedrooms (not mine), that had a servants entrance under the bathtub (I will tell that story later).

This is me at the time, within a couple of months of this picture.

I believe it must have been April or May of 1985 and we had only been there for awhile when we got up on a Saturday morning. My siblings and I were out in the living room and I was messing with the TV. We hadn’t had reliable tv in a long time (and I don’t think at this time we had EVER had cable, it was always rabbit ears… not just because I am old, but because we were poor. Cable was common for most of my friends, but we hadn’t had it.

We couldn’t afford a car, this is us walking home. Myself with head in my hands, my dad, mom and little brother. My sister was taking the picture.

So that meant our choices were very small. We got Channels 4, 5, 7, and 13. However my dad had gotten us one of those weird round rabbit ears for UHF. We didn’t even have the rods, it was just a piece of metal that was circular that you directly attached to the back of the tv (not even as good as the picture below, just the round bit with no base or antennae).

Just that round central wire, no base even. One of those cheap $.79 ones.

It was exciting because for the first time we got the “cool” cartoons that morning like Thunder Cats and some of the other UHF cartoons (on channel 22 baby). I remember looking out of the front window (we could see the string of Cascade Mountains) and the light had that sharp quality in the early morning when it was still sort of cold. I guess this could have been in September, but I don’t think I was going to Everett High School, I believe it was still North Middle School so it would put it spring of 1985, not fall. For some reason though, that quality of light and the sharpness is still with me (oh it might have been fall because I think it was about the same time that fall was coming and I would watch the spider webs with dew on them, sorry weird side tangent there).

A picture from one of the three panes of glass in that window. You could see from Mt. Baker to Mt. Ranier when it was a clear day.

I looked over and saw my mom helping my dad into the living room. They had been drinking the night before (same old same old for us) and we were asleep before they got home (I was the baby sitter since my sister was only 9 and my brother 4). I noticed my dad was hurting pretty bad and I ran over to check on him.

My mom had pulled his shirt off and his back was covered in boot mark ¬†type bruises, a lot of them. My dad explained he had gotten in a fight with a guy, the guy had multiple friends and like my father always was, he wouldn’t back down and took on them all. My mom later said she thinks at least one of the other guys he fought with went to the hospital, but it resulted in my dad and a boot party.

I remember sitting on the living room couch with its darker patterned stuff cushions. I looked over at my brother and sister and made sure they were ok. I then remember going into the kitchen and pouring water into a bowl so I could help clean his back up. I vaguely remember my mom not really wanting to do it and my dad was too hurt to fix himself so I did it, but that is sort of a vague memory so it may not be 100% accurate on that point.

Here is the couch from two apartments before. I believe it was the same couch (and that was the neighborhood stray Reprobate who came in and sat with us).

Just the memory of connecting the antenna to the tv before all of this and seeing the first episode of Thunder Cats I watched (and honestly I found I didn’t particularly like it) just seemed a weird memory to crystalize for me today. Although a ton of other memories of that apartment kind of washed up as I write this. Some good, some not good at all. Maybe I can put some time down to write more memories up. Its important to me to record what I can, as time slowly erases or at least buries them.

There is my memory for the day. I should do this more often and fill more pages up.

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