Radio 1953 – Various East Coast/Canadian Stations – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
You’re way too young to remember – you were probably three at the time. The best you recall was sitting strapped into your car seat, staring out the window and seeing nothing but white. And it was really cold.
The way your Mom put it, years later – your dad was the adventuresome type. Not good enough we lived in the balmy climes of Southern California where it was rumored to have snowed once, by accident, we had to take a road trip to see the Grandparents who lived somewhere in New York state and spend Thanksgiving “the old fashioned way” (whatever that was). Mom wasn’t sold. Driving for a week to spend two days with relatives and driving back wasn’t high on her list of “Must-Do” holidays. She worried about snow – your dad swore up and down it didn’t snow anywhere before December. Mom was suspicious.
Your parents cut a deal – Thanksgiving in Syracuse (dad’s home town) and Christmas in Palm Springs (mom’s high school friends). You had no frame of reference – it could have been Mars for all you knew.
Too expensive to fly and trains took too long, Dad wanted to drive. He liked driving – he liked listening to the radio in the car. Mom was co-pilot and her job was to find stations to listen to, and find another when the signal faded. Her job was also to be in charge of the bucket – since you were no longer using diapers, the bucket was the place you went when you had to go. It saved time, no rest stops – it sat on the floor in the backseat where you crouched over and did you business. Mom sang – dad lit up a Viceroy, spreading a blue cloud over the inside of the car. When you were done, your mom reached over, grabbed the bucket – rolled down the window and tossed your greetings out on to the highway. Quick, easy and hopefully no one was on a motorcycle behind you.
You finally got to your Grandparents house, where your grandmother looks at the three of you with a mixture of shock and surprise (nobody told them you were coming – your dad liked to surprise people). Thanksgiving was your third on the planet so you had no idea that being poked and prodded was a custom around families that time of the year. Mom said you giggled a lot and your grandparents thought it was cute. You also had cousins who stared at you for no reason and said “he looks like a little Russian”.
It all went great until the day you had to leave and drive back – for a place that never snowed before December, it snowed a lot. Your dad’s car was buried somewhere in the driveway and you were buried under four layers of oversized coats because nobody thought it was going to be “that cold”. All you could see was your breath and white snow.
After a lot of swerving, screaming and yelling, you managed to get onto a road that wasn’t covered with ice and slowly make your way back to Los Angeles. You slept and your parents didn’t speak to each other until you were somewhere around Las Vegas. Only the radio broke the silence.
Seems you did a lot of things like that when you were a kid. All the way up until High School. The cars grew up and so did you. But you still remember listening to a faint and distant radio, playing jazz and big band with your dad tapping on the steering wheel.
Here is an hour’s worth of fading, distant, noisy in places, radio from the upstate New York/Eastern Canada area from 1953. Imagine a 1950 Plymouth Suburban.
As you know, we’ve suspended indefinitely our ads in order to make Past Daily a better experience for you without all the distractions and pop-ups. Because of that, we’re relying more on your support through Patreon to keep us up and running every day. For as little as $5.00 a month you can make a huge difference as well as be able to download all of our posts for free (news, history, music). You’ll see a banner just below. Click on that and become a subscriber – it’s easy, painless and does a world of good.