Family TV: Who put the BAD in Badminton?

A Serious Badminton Tournament

by Faith R. Connors, author of Love, Midgie

This is the story of how a game of badminton leads to the purchase of a TV set for the Raymond family of Clark’s Hill (Stamford, CT).

23 Clark's Hill Avenue, Stamford, Connecticut.
23 Clark’s Hill Avenue, Stamford, Connecticut.

When other families on Clark’s Hill get TVs, they turn their dining rooms into TV rooms. Since we do not have a TV, our dining room still contains the same round mahogany table, chairs and china-filled sideboard in the ready for holiday dinners that will continue to be eaten there.

There seems to be no plan for our family to ever purchase a TV until a warm May evening in the early 1950s. That’s when our next door neighbor, Bob, sticks his head through the hedges, and waves a badminton racquet at Pop (William M. Raymond, Jr.), inviting him to a game of Badminton. Accepting the challenge, Pop easily hops up the two-foot high stonewall and pushes his way through the privet hedges into the next door neighbor’s yard.

William M. Raymond, Jr.
William M. Raymond, Jr.

There, standing behind the net at Bob’s newly erected badminton court, Pop takes up a badminton racquet and commences to play a spirited game of batting the shuttlecock back and forth over the net to his opponent, our neighbor, Bob. It is a shuttlecock slapping battle that keeps Pop and Bob on the run. Eventually, Pop’s last smash of the shuttlecock over the net gets him to 21 points, the end of the game. Pop wins the game. Except that Pop is not happy.

Pop, to my knowledge, had never before played badminton however he seems to be quite energetic in batting the birdie back and forth over the net at Bob. Some conversation ensued we know because when Pop jumps down from the wall with both good news and bad news to share.

Back in our kitchen, Pop first shares the good news: He won the badminton match quite handily so he is pleased about that. Running back and forth on the neighbor’s driveway to smack the birdie over the net at Bob, was not a problem for Pop who is in very good physical shape.

Raymond family on front steps of 23 Clark's Hill Avenue in Stamford, CT. (l-r) William M. Raymond, III (Billy), Faith Cottrell Raymond, and Marie Therese Cottrell Raymond (Petie).
Raymond family on front steps of 23 Clark’s Hill Avenue in Stamford, CT. (l-r) William M. Raymond, III (Billy), Faith Cottrell Raymond, and Marie Therese Cottrell Raymond (Petie).

The bad news is more worrisome as Pop tells Mother: “I thought I knew my cars. The Tormets are getting a car I have never heard of before.”

Mother asks, “What kind of car are they getting? They already have a 1950 Ford so it doesn’t seem as though they’d need a new car.”

“Bob says that he and Vilja are in the process of buying a Castro Convertible,” said Pop scratching his head. “That’s really got me stumped. Is it a Ford or a Chevy?”

Mother laughs in amusement. “It’s neither one, Bill! The reason you’ve never heard of a Castro Convertible is because we don’t have a TV.”

“So it’s a new car ad on TV?” asks Pop.

“No,” says Mother, still laughing, “it’s a couch that opens up into a bed. All of the neighbors that own TVs have seen the ads for a Castro Convertible. A little girl in a nightgown appears in the ad and unfolds the couch, opening it up so easily, making it into an instant bed.”

Admiral TV similar to the one Pop added to the Raymond living room.
Admiral TV similar to the one Pop added to the Raymond living room.

At that moment, it seems that Pop began thinking about purchasing a TV. Some months later, a 21” Admiral, plain tin box, black and white, is in position on our living room table and Pop watches TV.

© Copyright 2016 BelleAire Press, LLC

If you are “of a certain age,” these tales will evoke reminiscences of your own growing-up years. For those a bit younger, these windows into the past will validate the childhood memories your parents or grandparents may have shared over the years.


About Tracy Connors

Tracy D. Connors graduated from Jacksonville University (AA), University of Florida (BA), the University of Rhode Island (MA), and Capella University (Ph.D. with Distinction, human services management, 2013). Ph.D. (Honorary), Leadership Excellence, Jacksonville University, December, 2013. Designated a "Distinguished Dolphin" by Jacksonville University, Feb. 2, 2010.

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