Listening to the Radio on Sunday Mornings

Val MillsStarred Page By Val Mills, 23rd Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

Radio in the 1950s was the dominant home entertainment for many families. One writer remembers the Sunday children's programme.

The Radio in the Kitchen

Today's children have difficulty imagining life without television and internet. But such days existed, when radio was the main form of entertainment and other items such as cameras were far less sophisticated.
A big old radio dominated one corner of the kitchen in the house I grew up in during the 1950s. The room we called the kitchen was more like a combined dining room - family room of today, where most of our family activities took place. A warm, brown colour, the radio stood on a small table and had a chair alongside it. I never saw anyone sit on the chair beside myself, but maybe my mother did when nobody else was around.
The radio seemed to emit music and stories all day long, at least when my father was at work. I loved that radio and often sat on the chair with my head leaning against it, eager to catch every word or note of every story or song that gushed out into the room.
My favourite time in my earlier childhood was Sunday mornings, when the children's programme was on.

Sunday Morning Children's Programme

On Sunday mornings, when my parents and older brother all preferred to stay in bed and my sister was still too young to join me, I tiptoed alone out to the kitchen and turned the radio on. Still in my pyjamas I sat on the chair, entranced by the man who appeared to be speaking to me and all the other kids who were listening. He knew exactly what to say to capture his listeners.
A mixture of stories and songs filled the room and I became lost in a world of sound. Never having seen television, no images were needed to fire my imagination. I created my own visual images in my head. Although I was lost in the atmosphere of radio, my parents knew exactly when the session would finish and my mother appeared on cue to prepare the family breakfast.

A Mixture of Stories and Songs

Some of the stories became regular favourites, such as Flick the Little Fire Engine. I've just done a Google search on Flick and am astounded he continues to win the hearts of kids around the world.
Another favourite was Waltz of the Flowers, where mice disguised themselves with flowers and scurried down the hill to avoid the prowling cat, all to the music of a Tchaikovsky and The Nutcracker.
Sometimes the announcer would read a list of names of children who'd requested a song or story. I longed for name to be called, but was too young to realise I had to send in a request to the radio station.

Childhood Doesn't Last

We all know childhood doesn't last forever. As the sixties emerged the young child I was transformed into a teenager, more interested in lying in bed on a Sunday morning than getting up to listen to the radio. My teenage radio years consisted of listening to the latest pop music on the Thursday night request show, a far more acceptable time to be out of bed for a teenager.
During the 1960s my family purchased their first television and the radio gradually lost it's popularity in our home.
I think back now of the wonderful family times spent listening to the radio. Unlike with the television, we were allowed to talk and comment on what we were listening to, conversation being encouraged rather than banned.
Radio encouraged us all to follow the words of a song, or imagine the story in our heads. Throughout my teaching years I've noticed children's listening skills deteriorating. Could this be because television images require less concentration than words and music on their own?
All families had their traditions and listening to the radio was one of ours. The 1950s were sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of radio. Looking back on the family scene in our kitchen, I can understand why.


1950S, Childhood Memories, Life Stories, Radio Programmes

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author avatar Val Mills
Self-published writer, coffee drinker, enjoying life. Also found at and

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author avatar Retired
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Sounds like some wonderful memories!

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author avatar Retired
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks for sharing. reminds me of stories my mom tells close her family was, all gathered to listen, together.

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author avatar Songbird B
24th Mar 2013 (#)

As a child, I recall my mum and dad being great radio listeners, and all through my school years too. Even today, one of the first things I wake up to is the radio..What a wonderful personal share this is, and it brought back some happy memories for me too my friend..\0/x

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author avatar M G Singh
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Nice post, though I never listen to radio on Sunday as that is my golfing day

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author avatar Susan Jane
24th Mar 2013 (#)

Great star page that has evoked so many happy memories for me of those times before television snatched our interest from radio. My love of music came from sitting with my Dad listening to all types of songs and instrumentals broadcast in the fifties. There were also those serials to tune into after school - Superman and Hop Harrigan were our favoruites. Then, later in the evening - Blue Hills and When a Girl Marries - radio soapies. How I long for those wonderful times.

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author avatar Shirley Shuler
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Val, it's wonderful to look back on such great memories :).

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author avatar C.D. Moore
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Brought back memories.
Thanks, Val

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author avatar Delicia Powers
27th Mar 2013 (#)

Just lovely, thank you Val...

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author avatar Djbrat
28th Mar 2013 (#)

sooooooo loving this ♥

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
30th Mar 2013 (#)

always loved listening to the radio especially Dick Barton, Special Agent!!! in the days after the war! thanks for this wonderful trip down memory land xox

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