Lois and I live in Peaks Village at Calabogie, ON which is outside of the nation’s capital, Ottawa. See pic on left. This is our oldest son’s ski chalet; the Ski Hill being called Calabogie Peaks! Pic on right, taken April of 2015 is of 3 deer. Pic taken out our back window. (Click on pix to expand) As you will observe, we literally “live in the bush”!!
We shuffle once a week in the town of Renfrew, about a 40 minute drive from Calabogie. To-day we had 5 Roll Out Courts in action which is about the norm for the summer months. To-day we arrived at our Chalet about 16:00 and the Garage Door Opener fails to function? One of our “guesses” was that we were experiencing a power failure!! This was confirmed as we entered the Chalet. We fixed our “Four O-Clock Drink” and for insurance purposes, I stoked the fire. Yes, we heat with a wood stove, albeit not quite like the old fashioned cook stoves. Within minutes Lois had water boiling on the stove; potatoes frying, parsnips cooking and some type of meat. We both reflected that just maybe the power failure was “Not That Bad”!! I topped up my dinner with Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Maple Syrup, while enjoying a Cup of Tea!! Can’t get any better than that.
As we sat quietly, enjoying our tea, we both reflected on the absence of any audio?? No fans; no fridge running in the background; no electric clock sounds; no telephone; no microwave; in fact no electric lights?? BUT MOST OF ALL NO TV?? The silence was deafening!! To-day, 2015 04 21 was Budget Day in Canada. We had made sure we were home in time to watch the extensive coverage of this most important day in Canada.
This made me at least, think of the time when we had no TV, no TV at all!! Television hit Canada circa 1952. In 1952 I was 16 years old ~~ almost an adult or at least I thought I was!! Few homes had television. In fact CBC TV made its debut on September 08, 1952. Percy Saltzman was the weather man >> long before all the computer animation which we now have (now being 2007) and I must report that “Percy” passed away this very week in his home in Winnipeg >> 2007 01 18. Percy’s trademark was that at the end of his presentation he always tossed the chalk in the air and of course caught it. The weather presentation was done by chalk in those days!!!
My grandchildren will no doubt wonder how “their Grandpa” survived without CBC!!! In fact CBC Radio hit the airwaves the very year of my birth ~~ 1936!! Do you suppose that explains in part my loyalty and unqualified support and devotion for what has to be our most venerable institution? For the record our family did not listen to CBC Radio, rather our floor consular radio was most often tuned to CFRB Toronto which was and continued for many years to be Canada’s most listened to radio station. It was Jimmy Hunter at 18:30 every evening who gave the News, News that was carefully followed because Canada Was At War!! I must regretfully acknowledge that I also have memories of listening to When A Girl Marries and Portia Faces Life. One began at 17:00 hrs. and the other 30 minutes later.
Television; television that had 2 stations at most, one from Toronto and one from Buffalo; TV that was only in Black and White; TV that required one to leave the chair to change the channel; TV that from time to time required adjustment of the horizontal oscillator or even the vertical oscillator; TV that regularly required adjustment of the horizontal and vertical width; TV that users believed was best viewed in a darkened room ~~ and seldom was casual conservation permitted.
Our 1st family TV came sometime prior to 1952; 1952 is referenced because that is when Canada obtained their 1st TV Network >> CBC. It was in 1948 or 1949 when we got our very first TV; accordingly, we watched Buffalo TV at least until CBC came on the air in 1952. Dad had purchased tickets in support of some charity. 1st place was a 17 Inch RCA Victor Floor Model TV ~~ top of the line. He had placed my sister’s name on the tickets (Phyl being my sister). The TV was placed in the spare bedroom off the kitchen. The curtains were drawn; the lights turned off or very low, and the family hushed as we begin our marriage with Television. A couple of points. The TV Antennae had been erected and had been appropriately directed toward the Buffalo Station ~~ regretfully because my parents believed nefariously that Buffalo carried better programmes than did CBC!!!!! I guess it is true that intelligence is enhanced through the generations!!! He he!! I have a specific memory of inviting the Snowdons, our neighbor, down to watch a Horse Race ~~ perhaps the Kentucky Derby. Remember, TV was novel, TV was new and McCormacks were among the elite with this brand new wonder machine. All sat in quiet awe and wonder until the race had been concluded and the Snowdons left impressed!! Some TV highlights; of the DAY; the Ed Sullivan Show that regularly had Wayne and Shuster, that later was first to have the Beatles perform; Elvis Presley first appeared on the Dorsey Brothers Show; Arthur Godfrey had a great show; and Ted Mack and the Amateur Hour. Note that regretfully I have not mentioned one show from this era that was featured on CBC.
Back to Peaks Village in Calabogie, 2015 04 21. Power remains off at 20:00 as I type this article. I can do so as I have a Laptop with batteries. The Internet is off; the phone is off? Consistent with the message I am attempting to convey, I kind of hope the power remains off the rest of the evening. I think the absence of Power, the absence of noise brings “family” closer together. In our case a family of two at this time, but 80 years ago, this was the norm for many North Americans!! Electricity did not hit the rural areas until the 30s, and the endless number of electrical appliances BEGAN about that time.
Are we any better off with the endless number of “appliances”? It is at times like this, a time when we lose our “appliances”, that gives one the opportunity to reflect; to think about the way our parents or grandparents lived. Question? Will our children be able to “reflect”? They will, ONLY if we ensure the record is maintained, ONLY if we share our stories with them. IF YOU HAVE A STORY TO SHARE, PLEASE SEND IT ALONG!
Power is on which allows me to post this!! Stan McCormack 2015 04 21