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My Turn: Radio days are back, along with memories, in Lindenhurst

Helen Fischetti, seen in Brooklyn in the 1950s.

Helen Fischetti, seen in Brooklyn in the 1950s. Credit: Fischetti Family

The LI Life story "Radio Takes Center Stage" (Sept. 16) reminded me of the old-fashioned radio replica I gave my mother for Christmas one year.

Being a younger baby boomer, I don’t have memories of listening to old-time radio shows. My memories of old-time radio are WCBS Radio blasting rock and roll — the Beatles or Rolling Stones — from my alarm clock-radio to wake me up for school.

Yet my parents, Gerard and Helen Fischetti, who lived in Massapequa, were of the World War II “greatest generation.” They grew up when families gathered around the radio for home entertainment.

Paying homage to the grand old radio days, my sisters and I gave Mom, who had been recently widowed, a replica of an old-fashioned tabletop radio as a Christmas gift in the early 1990s. The new version resembled the old-fashioned radio almost exactly, yet it was modernized to play Mom’s cassette tapes along with radio stations.

Of course, the new radio couldn’t broadcast such old shows as “Ma Perkins” or “War of the Worlds” — that would be a “Twilight Zone” episode. But I like to think that when Mom looked at the tabletop replica radio — with its circular dome, decorative speaker panels and round dials — it was a snapshot from good old radio days of her past.

Once we gave her the radio, it was kept perched on an end table amplifying the music to reach her wherever she was in the house. I can still hear Mom singing songs accompanied by her piano playing, sewing at her Singer machine or cleaning her house with the radio turned on as background music. It seemed the radio was never off. Mom also recorded cassette tapes of the songs she wrote, sang and played on the piano.

Mom eventually moved to a retirement community in Calverton not far from where Dad was buried at the national cemetery. Mom continued to find companionship in her music. She often listed to the recording of herself on the old-fashioned-style radio. Among them was one of her favorites, “Christmas All Through the House.”

Alas, when Mom passed in 1995, the music died. The radio was turned off for a time — until I took her beloved radio home. I displayed it on my own end table.

Finally, my husband, Bob, turned on the radio to his favorite, WFAN Sports Radio 66AM, and never shut it off.

Once again the radio plays on. What was old is new. In my house, radio days are here again.

Susan Marie Davniero,


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