Dear Eliana and Gehrig,
Good morning, my sweethearts. Well, your Mom is full of stories about you guys these days. Seems, Miss Eliana, you have your first tooth coming in and, Master Gehrig, you have figured out how to race your sister to the bathroom for your evening bath. Fun and exciting new adventures await you everyday as you approach the end of your 9th month. Soon you will have spent as much time in the world as you did in the womb. How amazing is that?
I love all the great pictures your Mom has sent us of you two. My favorite shot is of you, Gehrig, as you lay on the floor face down and naked, while your mischievous sister grabs your butt and laughs. Naked time is so important, but, Gehrig, you are going to have to stop pooping on the floor and then rolling in it. Not good. Poop is to be deposited in the diaper and later in the potty. Now a lot of babies play with their poop. Won’t cause serious harm, but if you keep it up your Mom might not let you cruise around in the buff anymore and that would be really sad.
Of course, I am sure this won’t be the last time you two do something that shocks your Mom. She gets excited when you run a temperature or have a sniffle. It doesn’t take much to set her off. So please go easy on her.
Back in 1950, when I was five years old, my Dad bought a second-hand black and white television set. It was our first television. Even though CBS started broadcasting some shows in color in five East Coast stations in June, 1951, there were about 10.5 million black and white TV’s in the
USA (about half
of them RCA units) and very few color sets.
I loved that TV, but my bedtime was 8:00 PM and that is when “I Love
Lucy” came on. My Mom would tuck me into
bed and then she and my Dad would watch TV.
I used to sneak downstairs, ever so quietly, and hide behind my Dad’s
big chair and peek around to watch Lucy.
When the show was over I would sneak back upstairs and tuck myself back
in. I did that every week for a long
time then got busted when I fell asleep during one of the shows and they found me
behind my Dad’s chair.
Anyway, when I was about six and a half in 1951, our used TV went on the fritz. It stopped working and my Dad didn’t want to spend the money to have it fixed. He wanted to save up to buy a new one. We endured weeks of no TV. Like you, Eliana, I was an inquisitive child. I was fascinated with things mechanical and loved to play with my
logs and Erector set, making things and figuring out how they worked. One day, I went to my Mom and told her I
thought I could fix the TV set. I have
no idea what in the world she was thinking, but she told me to go ahead and
try. She probably thought I was just
going to play with the knobs on the front of the TV (no remote controls back
then). She went back to her house
Well, I went into the basement and got my Dad’s tool box. I pushed the TV away from the wall and, with a screwdriver, took the back off the big TV cabinet. In no time I had every tube, capacitor, power supply and bundles of wires spread out on the family room floor. I inspected everything and was starting to put the whole mess back together when my sister, your Aunt Sandy, came into the room and started yelling at me to stop. My Mom rushed in and the look on her face was priceless as she saw hundreds of parts strewn all over the carpet and me buried inside the TV cabinet “fixing” the problem.
Obviously, she was shocked that I had gotten into the TV and removed all of its components but I assured her I could get it all back together and working and, again, she believed me. This kind of brings me to my thirteenth pearl.
Thirteenth Pearl: Speak With Authority…If You Believe In Yourself, People Will Believe You
I had no idea how to fix a TV set. I never had even seen the inside of one before. But I just knew if I could get into it, I could figure it out. And that confidence in myself spilled over into my communication with my Mom. She believed I could do it because I believed I could do it. It was a lesson learned early that has served me well all of my life and I developed a knack for always speaking with authority, even in times of doubt. People that know me really well, like your Granny and even your Mom from time-to-time, can tell when I actually know what I am talking about and when I am not so sure, but most everyone else just assumes I am correct.
Now, I am not saying you can go around espousing anything you want and just because you say it with authority, people will always believe you. You better know your stuff. But on that day in 1951, I had my Mom, a grown woman of forty-six, believing a six-year old could repair a television set. Ask me some day if you are curious as to whether I actually got it working or not.
I love you guys, bunches and bunches, and I am saying that not only with authority, but with all my heart!