It seemed like the fall of 1976 had sprung from nowhere. The air had a good bite to it, and it seemed as if the colors had busted out overnight.
Outdoor after-school activities were shortened as the daylight hours faded away.
My time outside was so limited that it felt like an eternity before I could watch my favorite television show, Black Sheep Squadron.
Those two hours from dusk to prime time television viewing had to be filled in some way by this impatient 11-year-old.
I longed for just a few short moments more to hunt around the lake, or maybe just wet a line from one of the old quiet boathouses.
But daylight savings time and cold temperatures were all working against me.
Homework was out of the question, and reading, building models, drawing, and board games with my brother and sister had become stale.
I had to find some way to keep my mind interested ‘til Pappy Boyington and his pilots made the skies of the South Pacific clear of enemy planes.
Thank goodness for our family’s old tape recorder that had become a great means of entertainment for my brother and me.
We invented our own radio program and as a pair of DJ’s we interviewed all sorts of characters and played goofy music.
We spent countless hours the next few months cloistered in our room with a record player, fake voices, and guests ranging from Count Dracula to old man Adiron-dack Hermit.
When we had the chance to play back our antics we would laugh so hard that snot would burp from our noses.
We amused ourselves until the tape got chewed up in the old cassette deck.
Our favorite gift from our mother that fall was a 10-pack of blank tapes that she purchased in Utica.
She must have understood how much we enjoyed spending our time recording—plus it kept us busy and out from underfoot.
The buttons and gears of that old unit were certainly worn as we tried in vain to record over the segments of our program that we felt needed/improve.
The chips and pops that accompanied the beginning and ending of each segment were evidence of our crude attempts at piecing a half-hour show together.
Once we completed a program we would force our sister to listen to it, which prompted us to add even more commentary and laughter.
We didn’t care if she enjoyed our humor or not, we just continued on and went back into production.
Those old tapes of our childhood voices are long gone.
But every fall when the days grow short I think about those dark evenings when we eased our boredom until the tapes ran out.