The Incredible Story Of Marion Stokes, Who Single-Handedly Taped 35 Years Of TV News
I recently had the Santa talk with Sadie, which is a post for another time (she threatened to kill me in my sleep, ha ha ha #1992nbcminiseriesworstfearnightmareLOL) I’m sure will never come. But it’s weird watching the magic drain from your child’s eyes, magic you put there, your magic. She’s fine of course, and the different kind of magic is in her eyes now and focused on Phoebe, making sure Christmas never dies and such. And it makes me reflect on my own history with Christmas, which used to be such a huge deal for me, I mean, huge, pre-Santa, post-Santa (if there is such a thing). And I think I’m beginning to get back that do-nothing joy of Christmas morning a bit, though nothing like my own childhood of course, which is totally impossible. But if there was one thing that could get me there, I mean right back there, as there as you can get, maybe even further—that clock-less miracle moment stretched to an infinity of no school and nothing but pure toy pleasure (a new Nintendo and 10 games and a snow day and pizza and your mom napping and 2 p.m. forever) it would be stumbling all “sure ma’am, I’ll help you with that, and hey, Merry Christmas… oh wow, those a lot of boxes, you’re getting rid of them?” onto effing 35 VHS years worth of local news. I mean, holy Lord. Of course I’d actually need some fantasy computer digitizing presents for Christmas. And I’d need to start a blog where I somehow didn’t care about what anyone thought about what I thought about anything, but you let me worry about that part, heavenly daydream Santa. You put me in VHS Valhalla and I’ll find a way to get over myself.
Why am I this way? Why is that such a turn on (9. slang a person or thing that causes emotional
or sexual arousal)? I remember reading some Christian angel warfare novel (non-Peretti) when I was 14 or something and the main character first person angel’s name was Recorder and I remember really identifying with Recorder. I mean, you should see my room, my office, and I’m told I’m officially like, in the one percent of individual Carbonite users in terms of storage, most of it photos of strangers — or at least photos. And home movies. And writings and screen caps and scans, and I guess I should just stop thinking about it. That’s who I am. And the woman in this story, according to her kids, was just religiously committed to recording and keeping the local news not (solely?) because she was some OCD case, but because she was straight up convinced that what she was doing had worth beyond making her feel good, that it would be used one day, needed one day, vital one day. Which is totally how I feel. Which I know is hoarderrific, I guess, judging from the psychologists on the hoarder shows — I mean, that’s what you do, hold onto it because you think you’re going to need it. And I do that, but only stuff with sentimental value, and only because then I think I can make art with it—a constellation of reference points to connect. Some sort of wonderful novel based entirely on the freshman year folder in the closet i never use, stuff like that. I mean, i actually have plans to write a novel entirely about a church trip based only the cinematographically nauseating video i took of the trip. I think it’d be awesome. And going back to the news stuff… because, yeah, of course it was news. Because there’s something about that local TV news. There’s a vibe to it. I think I actually wanted to be a meteorologist growing up, like Jerry Tracy. It was awesome to keep up with who was new, who was leaving, who was moving to a new station, who was–oh man, is that Mike Royer?–getting baptized, bragging to people that my mom froze or helped freeze or whatever Janet Hall’s bra when they were both in high school together… a few years back I even wanted to write a novel about the local Birmingham news market or whatever… and oh MAN if only that woman lived in Birmingham, I could TOTALLY do it! DO YOU KNOW HOW AWESOME THAT WOULD BE? I WOULD BE THE FATHER OF ENTIRE NEW LITERARY FORM.
God bless you, Marion Stokes.