We have no television in our African home, by choice as much as anything.
But there are plenty of DVDs on the living room shelves, including The Waltons, something we watch as a matter of routine on Sunday evenings. Liz and Jon are especially eager to find what happens to their namesakes – Elizabeth and Jon Boy – and we’re all happy to wind up the weekend so relaxed, all five of us squeezed on our master bed, laptop in front of us.
In this case we’re in front of Season 8. The episode is called The Journal and it’s about Jon Boy’s publisher who has come knocking because Jon Boy, who has been MIA for some time after reporting from the European warfront, sent the publisher a fresh book manuscript about his war observations before he went missing.
The show’s producers brought in some real war footage, stark black-and-white clips of bombers and crumbling buildings and babushka-like women with scarves on their heads pushing baby buggies through the rubble.
And then it’s bedtime and I ask the question, ‘So were those scenes of the war real?’
Two of the three kids got it right, that yes, it was all real. At which time I asked, ‘So what did you think of what you saw?’
‘Those poor people,’ Liz said in all seriousness. ‘They didn’t even have colour television.’