Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Hometown Radio Station (Plus a new quilt!)

I was thinking about how each of us could probably make a soundtrack for the different periods of our lives.  One for growing for teen angst...young adulthood...midlife crisis...the golden years.  I'm pretty sure the soundtrack to my "growing up" years could be summed up in four letters: WSMI.

courtesy of

WSMI is my hometown radio station (106.1 FM, if you're ever in the mid-Illinois area).  It's been around for decades, providing locals with high school sports, weather, boil water orders, agriculture news and, of course, all the country classics.  And it was always on in my house growing up.  Always.  The voices of Stan McCaslin, Terry Todt, Randy Prange--complete strangers to me--were as familiar to me as those of my parents and siblings.

It wasn't until college that I realized that my relationship with my hometown radio station may have been a bit...different.  For instance, I thought everyone ate their breakfast before school while listening to the radio guys read the obituaries.  "98-year-old Erma Jones of Fillmore passed away Thursday.  Funeral services will be held Saturday morning at Bass-Patton Funeral Home in Hillsboro.  Friends may call on Friday from 4-6 at Bass-Patton...[pause]...87-year-old Gerald Smith..." etc.  The consistency of it was strangely comforting.

Or maybe this one.  On snowy nights, my brother Adam and I had the same intense prayer as every other kid in town.  Please PLEASE let tomorrow be a snow day.  Where did we turn for an answer to our prayer?  WSMI.  We turned up the radio as Stan came on the air: "SCRAM! School Closing Reports for All of Mid-Illinois!  The following schools will be closed tomorrow due to inclement weather: [...] Greenville, Highland...("Please PLEASE let him say Hillsboro!!!")...Hillsboro, Jerseyville"[...].  I'm not sure if it was the intensity of our prayer to the radio gods that did it, or the crystals and rabbits feet that we clutched as we listened to the announcement.  I'm convinced it was the crystals.

Whenever I drive to my hometown, I'm always happy to get within the listening limits of WSMI, and be welcomed back with the voices I grew up hearing.  I don't even mind the country music so much anymore.  I've come to listen to it by choice, although on St. Louis stations now.  Back in the day, I detested it since we heard it so much.  "Country is awful!  Change the station!  Let's listen to something better!  Hanson!"  Of course.  I think Dad is proud that Adam and I have adopted his love for twang.  Poor Mom.

After a couple of days with my family and WSMI over Christmas, Michael and I headed out west to spend time with his family.  It was there that I presented my newest big quilt to a wonderful lady, my mother-in-law.  It was a real treat to see her open it.  And now I present it to you.

Kitchen Window Quilt, Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman

Close-up of fabrics
Back of quilt, modeled by Paul Terry

Currently, I'm working on finishing my mom's Christmas quilt (more of a country style).  I was in the beginning phases of quilting, when--alas!--part of the machine broke.  The new piece should arrive in the mail soon, and hopefully I can present my mom with her belated-but-finished country quilt in a couple of weeks!

As I quilt, perhaps I will listen to WSMI online.  Or this, which would also be included in my "growing up" soundtrack:

Never gets old.