Suzanne, the owner and author of the blog, It Go On, recently wrote a post about winning. She was talking about winning in the sense of raffles, contests and so on. Although I have never won anything worth much, there was a contest I won as a kid that turned out to be a memory I will always look back on with amusement.
Growing up in the 1960s was a phenomenal time. I was told that it was the first time in history when so much was going on all at the same time. The Vietnamese War was blazing and news people were scattering the destruction all over the newspaper, radio and TV. The biggest show on TV at that time was the 6 o’clock news. At least, that’s the way it appeared to me as a nine-year-old. And heaven forbid that I’d even try to stop my dad for watching it.
Luckily, the shows I wanted to watch were on before my dad came home. There was the one half-hour cartoon show that came on at 4 o’clock and then right after that was Bozo the Clown, a half-hour show with real kids in the audience, jokes and guest stars as well as a couple of cartoons.
The Bozo the Clown TV show had an art contest every week. I had played with the idea of drawing something and sending it in just to see what would happen. Each week the contest theme was different. There wasn’t any way that I would send in a drawing for themes like outer space or the Wild West. Forget it. Although I wasn’t a prissy little girl, I wasn’t a rough and tumble one either.
Finally, one week the theme was something I could handle, a scene in a park. This was something I had all sorts of ideas for.
I got out a sheet of flimsy white construction paper and my box of 64 crayons I had gotten for Christmas. The floor in my bedroom was hardwood, which made it a perfect place for drawing. I set my rear end down on the rug close to my bed and laid out my supplies in front of me. I drew rolling hills of grass, light blue sky with two fluffy clouds, tall trees full of leaf covered branches and small flowerbeds with bright-colored flowers in them. I, then, drew my one character in my park, a beagle looking up into one of the trees. I imagined the he had seen a squirrel up there.
I sent it off to the local TV station in a large envelope that Mom had provided. As I walked down the street towards home after shoving the envelope into the mailbox at the corner, my thoughts quickly switched to the game of Spud going on just across the street from my house. All thoughts about the contest vanished.
A week went by without any word from the TV station or the show itself. I was oblivious to it. My mind was on school, piano lessons, and riding my bike.
On the eleventh day after mailing the drawing, there was a telephone call right after the show began. It was Phil, who lived across the street. He really wasn’t a friend of mine in the real sense of the word but he was the older brother of my brother’s best friend, Billy. “Glynis, you won the contest this week on Bozo the Clown! Is your mom going to take you to the TV station to be on TV?”
“Did I really, Phil? Or are you playing a joke on me?
“Really! You won!”
“I have to go. I have to tell my mom. Bye” And I hung up without waiting for a ‘bye’ from him.
The ‘official’ letter came the next day asking if I could be at the station the following Monday to receive my prize on the air. Of course, I went. Mom picked me up from school that day instead of letting me walk home and we went straight to the TV station.
On local TV that day, Bozo himself asked me how I got my idea for my drawing. I told him that I knew I could draw a beagle because I had done it so many times at school. I explained that the grass, sky, trees, and flowers were things that a kindergartener could draw. I felt so grown up talking to him for some strange reason. I received my prize and Bozo shook my hand. That was all there was to it. I sat with the other kids and watched the rest of the show.
The prize was just a small puzzle-like toy but I kept that little thing until I was in high school. What was remarkable was that I played with that puzzle until I was fourteen years old.