Several years ago my social networking queen Sister convinced me to join Twitter.
I’ve never looked back.
Among other things, Twitter is a way to see what’s going on in the world. You can watch breaking news happen. You can see what people are doing, what they’re watching on television, what music they’re listening to, what charities they’re supporting, et cetera.
There’s a lot more to Twitter, but that’s for another post. This story is about me and The Doctor.
Anyway, in trolling around on Twitter I saw people talking about *new* episodes of Doctor Who. I’ve heard of that show, right? Everyone said it was fantastic & that i HAD to watch it.
I asked around and found out that the BBC had revived the series around 2005. A little more research and I found all of the episodes streaming on Netflix. #WIN
Flashback to 1980
I’m about 7 years old. Every Saturday my Granddaddy would watch this crazy British TV show. Because I loved my Granddaddy I wanted to watch it with him.
Now, this was in the days of aerial antennas. Do you remember those? Our antenna was on top of one of the telephone poles that made up our clothes line in the backyard. Every once in a while Daddy would get really annoyed with the TV reception and would decide to go “turn the antenna.” He’d get up on the ladder and we’d form a bucket brigade…
Daddy (yelling from atop the ladder): Is that better?
Mom (in the backyard, yelling): Roonie, is that better? (Roonie was my sister’s nickname)
Sister (in the kitchen, yelling): Sissy, is that better? (Sissy is my nickname)
Me (standing beside the TV, yelling): No, that’s worse!
In St. Joe Beach we mostly had three TV channels to choose from. Two were networks out of Panama City. The other network was out of Dothan, AL and it was always fuzzy, no matter which way you turned the antenna. But there was also a PBS station out of Tallahassee which of course I LOVED because of Sesame Street and The Electric Company. If the weather was good and the antenna was turned the right way, you could watch PBS.
Now, my grandparents must’ve had a better antenna, because all the channels came in a little better at their house. Usually my sister and I could watch whatever we wanted at my grandparents’ house. Well, unless Lawrence Welk was on. Or unless we were there on a weekday and my mom wanted to watch her stories (that’s what we call soap operas in The South). And of course, except for those Saturdays when Granddaddy’s program was on.
My grandfather, Joe Hardin, was the kindest, gentlest man. He was very quiet and introverted, but he did everything with love for his family. He was also one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known. He was a true Renaissance Man. He was an electrical engineer who worked on the country’s first nuclear projects. He loved music and cooking and the arts. He dabbled in playing the cello & the guitar, oil painting, photography, playing chess, wine making, and French cookery. He was an original early adopter. He had one of the first word processors that hit the shelves so that he could more easily translate the Bible from the original Greek into English. And he loved science fiction.
He had this easy chair…it was a wide, low rocker with wooden arms. It squeaked with every movement, so if you wanted to hear the TV you had to be still. It had tufted cushions for the back and the seat and there was a pleated skirt around the bottom. I loved rocking in that chair. I remember Saturday evenings sitting on the blue shag carpet next to Granddaddy in his chair, watching his program with him.
Sometimes the picture was so fuzzy you could barely make it out. I’d scoot closer to the TV, thinking it would help me see better. But it was like an impressionist painting – the closer you got the less sense it made. But back off and you could make out what was happening.
In Granddaddy’s program there was a guy with an English accent and big crazy curly hair. He had this ridiculously long striped scarf. I always wondered why it was so long because it seemed to get in his way. There was this big blue wooden box that looked like a telephone booth. It would somehow go to these different places and when it landed all these people would come out. How could they all fit in there? Well, it’s bigger on the inside, don’t you know?
There was a girl who was always with the curly haired guy. She was small and pretty and I liked her smooth hair (at that time I had short wavy hair that would never lay down). Sometimes there was another guy but I don’t remember much about him. There were always things CHASING these folks. I didn’t really grasp the time travel part, but I got the part about the monsters.
I don’t know where Mom and Sister and Grammy were…they might have been right there. But I just remember sitting next to Granddaddy and trying to figure this show out…
Fast Forward to the Present
Everyone I talk to loves it, so I’m watching the first episode of Doctor Who…Oh, I like Christopher Eccleston – he’s been in a lot of period dramas that I’ve seen. Ok, there are mannequins chasing some kid named Rose and The Doctor saves her. Now she’s going to go travel with him in the TARDIS, which is this blue wooden spaceship/time travel box that’s bigger on the inside…there’s something familiar about this?
I’m hooked after episode two and watch watch watch…I love The Doctor! And Rose is brilliant! They’re always running from aliens and saving the world! Oh, and now there’s Captain Jack Harkness. I like him fine too.
But now, after only a few shows, The Doctor turns into some skinny dude? I don’t like the skinny dude, I like Christopher Eccleston. He’s funny. I like his Northern accent. Why’d he have to regenerate? This is stupid. I’m not watching this anymore.
But of course I do. And I grow to like the tenth Doctor, who is called David Tennant in real life.
So I keep watching. And then one day…I watch this episode called “School Reunion.” The Doctor is posing as a physics teacher in a school where weird things are happening. Rose is a lunchroom lady and not very happy about it (and who can blame her?). And here comes this reporter who is asking questions. The Doctor sees her…he recognizes her…
*I* recognize her! It’s Sarah Jane! Small, pretty, smooth haired Sarah Jane!
And it all comes back to me.
It seems I’ve known The Doctor all my life, I just didn’t know that I knew him.
(NOTE: I’ve still never gotten over David Tennant leaving Doctor Who. I cried like I lost my best friend when he regenerated. I keep trying to like Matt Smith but I don’t seem to be able to. But I’m going to keep watching. It’s a family tradition, after all.)