Everything I Need to Know I Learned From My 1970's/1980's TV

Ask me who my favorite teachers were... that's easy! My third grade teacher Mrs. McNamara, my high school American History teacher Mr. Olson and my college theatre professor Lilli Ann.

But the earliest memory I have of a teacher is one who was warm, sometimes fuzzy and always there for me -- after school, in the evenings and especially on Saturday mornings.

This teacher was my big, boxy, 1970's RCA brand television, and it taught me a lot.

To read.

My grandmother and mother both tell me that I learned to read watching back-to-back episodes of Sesame Street and The Electric Company. I was plopped down in front of these two programs daily. Mr. Hooper, Big Bird, Letterman, Spiderman, Morgan Freeman and those syllable silhouettes taught me well.



Because of him:


The Preamble to the Constitution.

I can recite this to this day because of Schoolhouse Rock. But if you ask me to recite it, I will sing it. You've been warned.

Snacks are Good Things.

Time for Timer! This yellow top hat-wearing blob taught me that cheese and crackers could be fun (wagon wheels!) and a homemade popsicles from an ice cube tray could also be fun (sunshine on a stick!)


And these guys from "The Bod Squad" told me a "saturdae" was as just as good as a "sundae." I didn't and still don't agree with them.

Oral hygiene is important.

Because you certainly don't want to be a yuck mouth. Oh, and if a bunch of 1950's-style greasers tell you to exercise your chompers really chew, chew, chew, you oughta listen.

Olden times.

Little House on the Prairie taught me about living on a farm in the 1800's. It also taught this big-haired '80s girl that good hair has always been important, even for Pa back in Walnut Grove.


All about the 1950's.

Thank you, Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley.



Strong women.

Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, Alice, Maude.



Diff'erent Strokes, Good Times, Family Ties, The Jeffersons, The Brady Bunch!


So thank you, childhood television. I salute you. I learned a lot from you.

Mostly, thank you for not having the ability to use a Tivo or DVR and fast forward through any PSA's or Schoolhouse Rock shorts between my Saturday morning cartoons.

Otherwise I never would have learned to not drown my food or that nuts and raisins combined could become a healthy snack known as nutty gritty.

I also would have risked missing the joy of unpacking my adjectives, learning all about nouns, adverbs and interjections and that three is a magic number.


Lori's website, Drawn to the 80s, is where her 5 year old draws the greatest music hits of the 1980's. Her blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about beauty products, music and her Mick Jagger obsession.