I passed by an antique store, or a consignment shop. On Broadway, right around Republican, or maybe a bit north; the street has changed so much in 30 years, gentrified in a gentle way, maintaining the ambience somehow, old buildings still intact and newer ones sliding in next door, unobtrusive to the rare visitor, just new.
So the store is gone, as of course it is. Maybe it was even a repair shop, with a window display of…whatever, and whatever is what I wanted.
I walked on Broadway for hours back then, knowing my way past Ernie Steele’s and Seafirst Bank and Charlie’s, the bar of choice, with Baskin-Robbins on the south corner and Pagliacci just north of us, where at that time you could get a slice from a sidewalk window. I stood at that window all those years ago, exchanging small talk with Tony Ventrella, a local sports anchor on our NBC affiliate, who was hungry too.
“How ya doin’? he asked.
“Good,” I said.
I’ve run into him several times since then, over 30 years later. Once he introduced my wife at a Christmas show, pronouncing our last name correctly, affable and polished as always. A nice guy.
But I was talking about the antique store, or whatever. My parents came for a visit that year, June 1984, early pregnancy for us and mostly sunny skies for them, and Dad and I were taking a walk when I saw it in the window.
A few weeks later I’d take a second job, moonlighting at a hospital near our new apartment in Northgate, which would have changed everything. I would have spent the $100 bucks then, a lot of money for misplaced nostalgia, because in the window was a Philco television console.
Before my time. Last model like this, I think, was produced in 1960, but I’d seen pictures and I wanted it.
I’m not much of a collector, sticking with broken furniture, Fletch novels, and dust, but it called to me, this relic that might or might not have had a “It Works!” sign on it. For some reason. I wanted it.
It was not to be, though, and I could just gaze and dream. I think my father, for a moment, considered shelling out the big bucks for me ($100 was still a lot of money, in 1984, to a middle-class professional who’d already spent a fair amount of money this trip), and now I suppose both were wise decisions. What would I do it, and where would it be, other than resting on eBay?
Broadway hasn’t changed in significant ways over the past 30-plus years, although it’s certainly different. I think a massage parlor is now in that location, but it’s a classy one, probably offering manis and pedis and green tea facials. The new storefronts and pricey offerings are a counterweight to the other relics, brownstone apartment buildings from the 40s or maybe earlier, set back, east and west, from the main drag.
I could have talked to Tony Ventrella about the Seattle Sonics, around that time (let’s assume it was late April), and looking at the roster from that season shows me familiar names, and birthdates. Most of the team were my contemporaries, both in the late 50s or sneaking into the early 60s, with a couple of older players to add weight and wisdom. Tom Chambers, Jack Sikma, Danny Vranes…I remember these names. Five years removed from their NBA championship (the last Seattle one before the 2013-14 Seahawks), they ended up 42-40 that year and lost in the first round of the playoffs, but we could have spoken of this.
Or the Mariners, with their 74 wins that year, still more than a decade away from a playoff, also carried some still-familiar names: Dave Henderson, Spike Owen, Ken Phelps, southpaws Jim Beattie and Mark Langston, and Mr. Mariner himself, Alvin “Don’t Call Me Al” Davis, whose first game as a Mariner I saw in the Kingdome.
Or, in fact, the just concluded NFL season, in which the lowly Seahawks, under new coach Chuck Knox and new quarterback Dave Krieg and new running back Curt Warner, stunned the league by making it to the AFC Championship game, 60 minutes from a Super Bowl. It was a remarkable time.
I was 25. Everything was remarkable.
It’s that Philco that came up this morning, for no reason I can think of.
Except it was an artifact, from a hop, skip and jump before my time, and even then I knew that technology was turning that box into a Model T, for serious collectors only, but I still wish I had it.
And sometimes I still wish I were there, walking down Broadway with my 47-year-old father, showing him my new home, listening to his musings of wanderlust, knowing I’d already wandered and lusted, and at that moment for an old TV, just because it was old, and even at 25 knowing that this day would come.