Radio by Lois Greene Stone
Illustrated by Sue Babcock
“Turn down the radio!” Lisa yelled. “I‟m trying to do homework.”
“Sure, sure,” Beverly came to the doorway of her sister‟s room. “That‟ll be the day.” Beverly continued standing there hoping to annoy her younger sister. Feeling very grown for her eleven years, she liked being bossy to nine year old Lisa.
“Go away. Please go away.” Lisa was showing annoyance. “Bad enough I had to spend a lot of time with you during the war air raid drills and blackouts, and we still have to listen to President Truman giving his speeches and that‟s so boring, but this is 1948 and the war has been over and I had enough time with you annoying me.”
“I know something you don‟t know.” Beverly recited the words as if she were singing them. And then she moved away from the threshold.
“You always know something I don‟t know.” Lisa muttered. Aloud she called, “Okay, so what is it this time?”
„Pictures.” Beverly walked into the room and sat on Lisa‟s bed. The chenille spread caused white lint to form on her navy blue pleated shirt. “Like a radio show, only pictures.”
“Moving pictures, like a movie, but here right in the house. Our house. Other peoples‟ houses.” Beverly was excited. “It‟s called television.”
“Uh, huh.” Lisa thought this was another wild story to make her believe something that wasn‟t true and when Lisa repeated it was humiliated. But she knew there was such a thing as a television, but only one person in the whole school had it and that person lived right up the street. And she bragged how expensive it was so no one else was going to have that for years and years.
“No. It‟s true. And it‟s huge. It‟s a whole seven inches big.” Beverly continued. “It‟s a DuMont. Just that name sounds romantic.”
“Easier to pronounce than Stromberg-Carlson, our radio thing in the living room. I know the name from dusting around all those letters when it‟s my turn to dust the living room.”
“Got to have a ton of tubes inside to make that thing work. I‟ve learned a little about our radio tubes. Don‟t know what‟ll be shoved around in the living room for this as we have to be able to sit and see it and not just hear it.” Beverly played the big-sister larger now.
“I‟d rather go to the movies than sit around the living room staring at something smaller than my school‟s ruler.” Lisa pretended to not care, but inside was getting excited.
“Well you won‟t say that once it‟s here. Imagine. And I heard Mom worrying out loud about expensive. Really expensive. Bet all the relatives will not just come for her Sunday meals but now to watch television. The girl up the street already has one, but it‟s only a tiny-tiny 3-inches. Ours will be huge!” Beverly began to giggle. She got up from the bed, looked at her skirt covered with the bedspread‟s chenille‟s linty threads and then laughed out loud.
“Get lost. I have school work to do.” Lisa pretended to work in her open composition book. After Beverly left, Lisa closed the door and sat on her bed and began talking to her radio. “I like you. You bring me music and stories and are like company. I won‟t desert you for something like a television where I‟ll sit with tons of relatives, and I‟ll be the one on the floor, and just look and listen to something I don‟t even care about.” She touched the Bakelite case that housed her private radio. “Radio. I already saw the girl up the street‟s thing. All there was was a blob, and her mom said it was a Test Pattern and that was the only stuff I could see all day. There‟d be a program on later but only a few hours a day. Gee. I can turn you on anytime and do that in private. I wonder if anyone will really like television. Ever.”
Author Bio: Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Poetry and personal essays have been included in hard & softcover book anthologies. Collections of her personal items/ photos/ memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of The Smithsonian.
Illustrator Bio: Sue Babcock is the Director of Kids’Magination, the managing editor or Liquid Imagination (www.liquid-imagination.com), and the fiction editor for Silver Blade (www.silverblade.net).