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Prompted By Remembering Radios

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Dad’s radio that often sat on our dinner table

Reflecting on radio, I remember Swearin’ Sid (Dad) and Rockin’ Rick (middle brother), both of whom depended on it to survive.

Reflecting on radio, I remember my father and my middle brother, both of whom depended on it to survive.

For Dad, radio was always about sports. In the era in which sports were not televised, or games were blacked out if not sold out, he was riveted to all Detroit Tigers games, cursing at every error or loss.

For Rick, it was always about music as a way to cancel out Dad’s lectures and Mom’s nagging. He spent countless hours in his room with his transistor radio listening to the Top 100 hits. Still loves that R&R music.

How Rick survived his adolescence

RetroFlash #100

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Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    I have great memories of my dad listening to the Tigers on a transistor radio on our screened-in porch on a hot summer’s day, Laurie (but he didn’t swear at them). You brought me right back there with your imagery. My brother sat, listening to classical music with our mother – entirely different. He wasn’t into sports at all until his own sons got him into hockey, which even today seems improbable to me.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      As you know, Betsy, Detroiters were avid Tigers fans. My grandfather on my father’s side was also obsessed, and even my mother attended many games by sneaking into the stadium. I still have a hard time with most televised sports, especially baseball, because it dominated our family life to the exclusion of other things. I hated eating dinner to the sound of the baseball announcers.

  2. Transistor radios – reminds me of the beach, ballgames, Top 40, getting a tan. The summers of our youth.

  3. Marian says:

    I can relate to this, Laurie, as you’ll see in my flash. Dads, sports, and radios seem to go together, although my dad didn’t curse at the radio. Definitely radio gave me solace, somewhat like your brother, during my difficult early teens.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I think you are totally right about the radio bringing my brother solace, or at least the ability to rebel in a fairly safe way. He did venture into some less safe waters in college, but he came through it and remained a devoted music fan. Ironically, during the pandemic isolation, he also became addicted to watching sports, any sports.

  4. John Shutkin says:

    Terrific RetroFlash reflections, Laurie. As per your comment on my story, I can really identify with your dad and his focus on sports. But I then morphed into a rock and roll guy as I got older. Evolution? Maybe — but I still appreciate a good sportscaster painting a picture of a game with words on the radio. It is not easy.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Thanks, John. I wish my father had been able to expand his interests, but the music he liked to play on the stereo was jazz, big band, and sometimes marches. So sadly not much evolution there. Different generations for sure.

  5. Suzy says:

    Nice RetroFlash, Laurie. While I can’t relate to the sports part, I totally relate to Rick and his r&r. But what about you? What kind of radio did you have, and what did you use it for? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      That’s hard to answer for me until college. I hated the baseball and liked teen junk music of the day. College was a different matter, but that was more about music than radio. My parents hated R&R, and I wasn’t as rebellious as my brother.

  6. Laurie, your RetroFlash is surely about the radios in your family and what they broadcast, but also of course in sweet tribute to your dad and your brother!

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