Growing up in Forks in the 1960s, with the remoteness and mountain barriers, our television viewing choices were few and with an antenna. The placement of the antenna was crucial — sometimes it worked best on the roof, sometimes the ground at an angle.
I remember snowy pictures and the flat antenna wire whipping around as my dad tried to adjust the antenna on the roof, as we relayed the results of the picture quality from the ground below.
All we could get on our rooftop antenna were Canadian stations. That is how I began life as a Canadian in Forks. I was never told I was American, it just never came up in the first five years.
I thought I was Canadian until I attended school. What? No “Oh Canada” but some song called “The Star Spangled Banner”? I was so confused.
Our family television viewing included “Tommy Hunter,” “Don Messer’s Jubilee,” “Wayne & Shuster” and unfortunately “Mr. Dress-up” which I hated and my sister loved. Also, on Saturday mornings curling, which my sister I would recreate with our mother’s broom on the kitchen linoleum.
I was in second grade when one evening while watching Canadian television with my father, the screen went black, there was some crashing and scuffling over the TV speaker and then from the darkened screen came a word, one word, the mother of all cuss words and it wasn’t fudge.
While I did not know what this word meant, I knew it was not a good word.
I slowly turned from the dark TV screen to my father’s face to gauge his reaction to this situation. Looking straight forward at the dark screen he said, “Someone is going to lose their job,” as I turned back to the screen the man that was going to lose his job got the picture back on.
As I attended elementary school it became apparent that I was not Canadian but American, but I still watched my Canadian friends Channel 6, CHEK, Channel 2, CBUT, which my sister and I snickered at, and KVOS which was apparently American but seemed very Canadian.
In the late 1950s, Forks resident Joe Blomgren started the Forks TV Club with the placement of a transmitter at Gunderson Mountain. In 1966, the endeavor became Forks Tele-cable. Seattle stations were added to my Canadian favorites. Blomgren along with his wife Virginia and Arvil Silcox began wiring the town of Forks for cable.
Forks Tele-cable was sold to an out of town company and in 1994 I worked for the last cable company with an office presence in Forks but no one was supposed to talk to us. Customers were supposed to call Bellevue.
One day a call came into our office, where no one was supposed to talk to us, and a woman was screaming because she could not see her soap opera, I apologized and said we were experiencing skip, where other channels bleed over, she suddenly screamed “Liar” at me several times, I said I was not lying that is what it was. I feared she would show up at our office that no one was supposed to go to but she never did.
Finally that cable company was sold and sold again to someone who lived in another state who did not know my love for Canadian television and finally the cable company was gone, my life as a dual citizen was over.
So, with that here is some French I learned on Canadian television — I bid you adieu.