I had a conversation with my mum about what TV was like for her as a child and growing up. My mum grew up in the Sutherland Shire with her 2 brothers, sister and mum and dad. When my mum was growing up colour television was already in homes and had been for two years. So unfortunately she had no cool stories of what it was like to experience black and white television and the development of television media before the colour TV.
When I asked her about what memories she had of watching television and the television in the house while growing up with less than 30 seconds hesitation she replied with a smile on her face “What do I remember about television as a child? Mostly I just remember that because we only had one television and I was the youngest, I never got to choose what we watched and because our television had a clicker to change the channels instead of a remote I was always the one who always had to get up to change the channel”.
Television played a bigger role throughout her early childhood than it did as she grew older and spent much more time outdoors and with friends. So although the TV may have not have played a big role while growing up it definitely played a significant one and she has plenty of memories that in one way or another involve the household television.
My mum recalled weekends, particularly early Saturday mornings, being the only way she was able to choose what was watched on the TV and so on these mornings she would get up and sit on her beanbag on the floor of the rumpus room and watch the morning cartoons until the rest of the family got up. She told me as a child she remembers watching a lot of old school Play School but as she got older her favourite show became Danger Mouse. She was excited to tell me that recently a reboot of the show had started to air for a new generation of children.
She recalled fondly sitting with her siblings some days after school when they weren’t sent outside to play and watching television till their dad got home and then choosing what to watch became his decision from then onwards. From MacGyver to M.A.S.H in my mum’s words she had to ‘endure’ it all because if she wanted to watch television that was what she watched whether she liked it or not.
Finally, I asked her if there were any moments watching television that she remembered particularly and instead of answering with what I expected would be her response with something like watching her first Olympics, she replied “I do remember when I was about nine and the whole family sat down and watched a movie called The Emerald Forest together. I can’t remember what the movie was about or anything that happened in it, but I just remember sitting around with my family and watching”
Not only has the television itself become incredibly different in relation to size, shape and quality but the ways people as a family experience television has changed as well. I know in my home personally, it is very rare that I sit down with my family and we watch TV together, having a TV in my room ensures I always get to decide what I watch and thanks to the remote I never have to get up from the comfort of my bed to change the channel.