Television watching, drawing and not watching

Pearl and Kristin watching TV.
My sister Pearl and me, watching TV.

Both of these are from the house at 5397 Oregon, Detroit. I have no idea what Pearl and I are watching but it seems to have our interest.  I did the drawing below in my sketch book for one of my drawing classes a few years later.  You can see several other photographs of my mother and sister and me watching (or not watching) tv in the header above.

The corner of the living room on Oregon.
The corner of the living room on Oregon.

When I left home, I didn’t have a television until 1973 when my sister gave us a small TV so we could watch a program that she produced. We continued using that television until it was stolen in 1978 when I was at a prenatal visit. It was so wonderful not having a TV that it wasn’t until the 1990s that we got another one. That one was built so that we could watch videos, which is what we did for a long while.  I think it was several more years before we actually started using the television part of it.

Right now we do not have a working television. We do have a large computer screen that is hooked up to Roku and my computer and we can watch movies and videos that way now. We even catch a few television shows sometimes.

Click for more Sepia Saturday offerings.
Click for more Sepia Saturday offerings.

24 thoughts on “Television watching, drawing and not watching”

  1. Some great pictures here of watching or not watching TV, but I really like your sketch in particular. So much wonderful detail. You are quite the artist, obviously. How old were you when you did it?

  2. I went through a period of a few years not long ago when I didn’t watch any TV, just DVDs sometimes. And it was pure bliss. I am back to TV watching now but it’s driving me a bit mad. The adverts are the worst part of it, they make me feel like my life is being sucked away! A few times lately I’ve just shut the TV down & enjoyed the comparative silence, and it’s been awesome.

  3. Love the expressions on your faces in the photo, and how close to each other you’re sitting. Your sketch is terrific–and inspiring to me, since I am trying to start sketching in a small way.

    I hardly watch television, and only pay for basic cable service because in the valley where we live you can’t get a signal otherwise. We have Apple TV (Mac’s version of the Roku) hooked up to the TV and I use it most often to project slide shows onto the big screen. I also watch movies and programs through Netflix and from the BBC on my laptop computer.

    When we lived in a group house and two of us were about to have babies, I remember having a big argument because one of the fathers had come into a big old TV and I didn’t want it to dominate the living room and become the default entertainment. In the end we kept the TV in a curtained closet and only wheeled it out when we wanted to use it. The little ones could watch rented/borrowed videos or approved PBS programs, but not all day every day.

    My father has the TV on most of the time, but only watches tennis and news shows on MSNBC, and listens to music on classic arts showcase. (Oh, wait, he also watches the reality show Naked and Afraid–during which time I leave the room.)

    1. I always wonder why my grandkids sit in a pile. I guess I sort of did it too.

      My uncle Henry used to have the TV on a lot in the evenings. When he started coming over to our house for dinner every night, he started staying afterwards and as we had a tv, he would turn it on to watch his evening programs – Seinfield, Friends and can’t remember what else. And that’s how TV gained a foothold in our house in the 1990s.

  4. That is a great sketch! You clearly had more determination than I did in resisting TV.

    1. My Cleage grandparent’s tv was always on, even when nobody was in the room. Like they didn’t want to miss anything. We keep internet radio on a lot here. Or music.

  5. I’ve had a good time comparing your drawing to the photos. Good job on the wings of the sofa, especially! I remember those wheely tv carts — I’m sure we had one at some time.

    1. I wish I still had that sofa. And it’s a wonder those wheely carts didn’t fall over. I guess if you actually wheeled them around, they might have.

  6. You look almost mesmerised, which I guess is what TV does to us. Well done for holding out so long.

  7. I love the banner photos! Definitely, watching, not watching tv. Most of all I like the easy family time portrayed. Also like the sketch, but then I don’t think there has ever been a sketch, painting or writing that you have shared that I haven’t liked.

    1. Those banner photos must have been taken around Christmas time in several different years. We always got at least 1 new game that we played often during the holidays.

  8. Love the header! But I’m especially intrigued by your sketch. Makes me want to spend some time back with pencil and paper again. It’s been years! Oh oh, I feel a creative direction coming on! And that’s because I also don’t watch any TV any more…just the computer with Netflix and PBS.

    1. I should sketch too. When I look at the photos I did during that time of various rooms in the house, I wish I’d continued over the years and had a book full of sketches of all my various homes.

  9. Love the sketch of living room! Books, magazines, tv, radio receiver, etc. Very “lived in,” which is how living rooms are supposed to look as far as I’m concerned. I’m not much of a TV viewer –the news has turned into “entertainment” and the American “entertainment” shows are ridiculously awful. The only good TV shows are on public television — we get lots of BBC stuff there, too.

    1. The news is so depressing. I do watch some BBC on my computer connected big screen. Lately I’ve been watching tai chi qigong shibasi and related videos mostly.

      My living rooms always look well lived in, that’s for sure.

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