Alex came home last night talking about the story they were reading in school. He talked about how it was a true story, a story about the author’s real life, a story called something like ‘a house and a big wood’. It didn’t take us too long to figure out that he was talking about Little house on the prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And thus began the reminiscing .
I have an oddly emotional relationship with Little House on the Prairie. But it’s one that comes without much depth. I, as many my age, grew up with LHOTP as a TV show staring Michael Landon. But I realized that I didn’t know that it was a book. I didn’t know that it was a true story. And I hadn’t realized the meta-significance of the Laura Ingalls character on the show. When I stopped to think about the story, I can’t really remember what happened, or why the show was important to me. But I do fondly remember it being a part of my life every week.
And see, that’s where the conversation got interesting. LHOTP was the show that was on CBC Sunday evening every night before the Disney movie. We would watch LHOTP and then carry right on in to the weekly Disney movie. When I mentioned this to Faye she immediately agreed: “Oh ya, we always watched the Sunday night Disney movie…but only half of it!”. And we both smiled. Because that’s how it was then. Every week, Disney had a 1 hour spot on CBC. Disney movies were more like a serial than feature films. Every movie was 84 minutes long so that it could be neatly divided into two 42 minute ‘episodes’ (or 1 hour segments in TV land).
It was at that point that I realized that there is so much of that formative period of my life that my children will never experience. We watched LHOTP as much because it was on before the movie as because it was something we wanted to watch. We learned anticipation every week when the announcer came on to tease us into next week. When live TV can be paused, almost every show is on-demand and TV is watched on 3.5” screens as much as it is with family, the rituals that were a big part of my childhood are officially gone. So until next time, when maybe, just maybe we’ll find out what my kids will think back to in 30 years time.