Saturday, March 20, 2010


This was a ten minute writing exercise.

A trip out of state, to a whole different state of mind. We flew from Iowa to Massachusetts for a week with my cousins. They lived on Cape Cod, on the ocean, where the salt air stung my nostrils and the water, even in July, seemed almost too cold to enjoy. Most of my five cousins were much older. One, much younger. The closest in age, Scott, was just enough older to be past the interests of a kid like me. He was nearly in junior high. My brother was young, maybe three, and not always much fun. So there was down time, solo time, even during a summer vacation trip, and I was drawn inexorably to the television.

My (then) current obsession, Lost in Space, was also airing way out in Massachusetts. But they were at a different point in the series than we'd seen back home. And when I wrote a postcard to Ronnie Dickey, a note to tell him about my trip, it only said this: "They show Lost in Space out here! Penny has short hair on the show. And the Robot is played by Bob May!" These were all astonishing facts. Penny was a long-haired girl in the episodes we'd been watching back home, and with no listing in the credits at the end of the show, we had no idea who stood inside the shell of the Robot. But the TV Guide in Massachusetts gave me the answer: Bob May. And I passed along this precious information to my friend Ronnie, secure in the knowledge that he would find it just as fascinating as I.

It was all about the TV and the space show of the moment. We'd already seen every episode of Star Trek twice or, in some cases, three times, and were thrilled when the adventures of the Robinson family expanded our space-related play.

Ronnie never told me his thoughts about the postcard. But a year or so later, I noticed it tacked onto the corkboard above his desk.

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