Saturday, 4 February 2012

My Grandmother's Radio By Bobby Stevenson

He delivered it, all pleased with himself, the night of the electrical storm which stretched all the way across three counties.

Old Jake had nothing else to give his sister, my grandmother, on her wedding day.

It lived proudly in the corner of the room and worked its way into being part of the family.

The night my father was born, my grandfather cranked it up to a full ten and couldn’t understand why the folks on the radio weren't sharing in his joy.

The day my uncle died, I guess he was about seven years old, my grandmother couldn’t understand why the newscaster still kept talking as if nothing had happened. Didn’t they know? She wept.

When my grandfather went away to war, the radio was her friend, it was never off, it made the house seem busy, she said.

When the radio told my grandmother that her husband was coming home, she lifted her skirt and danced on the table when no one was looking.

That day, that black September day, in New York City when they flew the ‘planes into those buildings. Well that was the day we switched the radio off.

For good, we said.

When they cleared out my grandmother’s house, the radio was sent to the garage and that was where it stayed until I found it yesterday.

I've cleaned it up and changed its heart so it can play all the new tunes and talk about the new world - about the new joys and sadnesses.

I think it’s time I started listening again.


  1. Beautiful story. I stopped listening to the radio after 9/11 too. Then one day, I got to work and discovered that a plane had crashed in Rockaway and I'd had no idea. So I started listening again, but not for too much longer.

  2. Thanks Jen, I realise it's short but I hope it gets my point across - we grew up in upstate NY and we were there the day the Twin Towers opened. I gave up buying newspapers a while back and many times I try to avoid the news. It's not an answer but somehow the world keeps turning weather I've checked the news or not.
    Thanks for taking the time Jen and for the feedback. Take care.

  3. We have a radio in every room of our house, so Philip can listen to it as he moves around. It wakes up with us in the morning and settles us down at night. And when the good old analogue tv signal gets switched off, I think the radio will carry on entertaining us. It'll probably outlive us all...