Hank and Ike

by kfrego

We were lucky enough not to have television until 1955 or 1956. Before the television all of our news was obtained by radio (AM only) or newspapers. For many years our family radio played on the kitchen counter wherever we lived. The radio was big, heavy, and a light green color. The knobs and all the trim were real chrome. The radio had great reception and sound for the early 1950’s. The radio was usually on from early morning until supper time.

My memory distinctly recalls two profound events shared with my Mom while listening to the radio. The first event was the sudden death of Hank Williams. The radio station dedicated the day to his songs, news updates on his death, and interviews with people who knew Hank. My whole day was spent with Mom listening to the radio coverage. Everybody knew Hank’s music prior to his death. Many of the songs were viewed in a different perspective after his death. The day spent listening to the radio with my Mom seems like yesterday, but it was Jan 1 1953.

My second profound radio memory was the inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower as president on Jan 20 1953. Mom explained what the inauguration was all about as we sat listening to the old green radio. The inauguration was one of those events which instill a sense of pride and patriotism in a young boys mind. Politics wasn’t even part of my vocabulary, but the president and the celebration were something special. The parade descriptions, speeches, and band music made it a very memorable occasion.

The days of radio as the primary source of news and events were a different place and a different time. They were a memorable part of my childhood…….and you’ll find me listening to NPR today hoping to find a trace of the 1950’s.