October 22nd, 2010
In the 1960s and ‘70s my father would scour Omaha’s garage sales for broken TVs that he would repair and sell to make extra cash. “To feed his family,” he would often say. Until I was a teenager, I would sometimes accompany him on his jaunts, helping best I could to lug portables, table models and mammoth consoles, squeezing them into our Buick and later carrying them into our living and dining rooms which doubled as his workshop. I often resented him for having to help out; I would much rather stay home and draw cartoons.
When I wrote about my father’s TV business in my memoir, Inklings, never did it occur to me that I might once again find myself in search of old TVs.
This past summer, as I met with my filmmaking friend, Jason Levering, to discuss ideas for a new book trailer to celebrate the upcoming paperback release of Inklings, it soon became clear what we were going to need: TVs, the very kind I used to help my father carry.
Instead of searching at garage sales, however, I posted on Facebook asking if anyone had vintage TVs we could borrow for the video shoot. Several friends came through with just what we were looking for. Soon, Jason and I were crisscrossing Omaha, loading up my Subaru with historic TVs, the familiar scent of mustiness filling my car, taking me back to those days when I helped my father.
As Jason and I carried the TVs into the film studio, it wasn’t the memory of resentment toward my father that came over me. Instead, I was filled with a rush of love and appreciation for all he did to take care of those he loved.