Summer days centered around TV

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers

Hispanic comedian George Lopez jokes about abuelitas who keep track of time by the order of their favorite TV programs. For example, abuelita says, “When Judge Judy is over, that’s when I take my medicine.”

The summer days of my childhood also operated around TV time for many years. I remember Grandma Emma perched upon her Lazy Boy chair, never missing “The Edge of Night” and “Price is Right” on those hot summer days.

When I would walk past her and see the sands in the hour glass sifting down on the TV screen as her favorite soap opera began, I knew it was almost time for us kids to come and gather around the tube for “Brady Bunch,” “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Partridge Family.”
Sometimes Bob Barker drew us around the tube a little early when he’d make big announcement, “Come on down!”

I don’t watch daytime TV much anymore. I’m just not into the talk show circuit, which is all there seems to be on daytime TV now. Dr. Phil is the only daytime show I like, plus, I have plenty of other things to keep me busy these days. But I do remember a time, during my elementary schools days, when my biggest dilemma in the evenings was, “Should I do a couple of laps around the driveway on my purple tricycle before or after ‘Bewitched?’”

I always watched the nose twisting, twinkling Samantha and Tabitha and had it timed, sometimes, where I knew just how many times I could circle the driveway on my trike before the commercial break was over. Then I’d be back in the orange and green flowered vinyl chair in time for the rest of the program.

It was during those early days, though, that we really had the timing down. We’d play outside during “Edge of Night” and sometimes “Price is Right” and right about the time we needed to cool down, it was time for “Brady Bunch” and Gilligan. Those were our sitcoms of the day.

There was no remote control either because there was no need for channel surfing. The TV stayed pretty much on the same channel all day, until Grandpa Madrid came home from work.

After that, it was time to head back outdoors, and then it was musical chairs in the living room. Grandma Emma would head to the kitchen to cook dinner and Grandpa Madrid would come home from work and take over the Lazy Boy to watch the news and his favorite game show, “To Tell the Truth.”

I’d tune in and out of this show. The only part I really liked was the end, when the announcer would say, “Will the real _______ please stand up?” And it was usually around that time, too, that Mom and Dad would get out of work and take us home, usually in time for “Bewitched.”