15 March 2013

Published March 13, 2013 by rochellewisoff


I dare you to write more than you see with your eyes. I double dog dare you!


March Birthdays Among Us (That I know about)

Bill “Zed Man” Webb – March 1

Janet “Sustainabilitea” Webb – March 15

If there are more out there let me know. 



Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)


Make every word count.


  • Copy your URL to the Linkz collection. You’ll find the tab following the photo prompt. It’s the little white box to the left with the blue froggy guy. Click on it and follow directions. This is the best way to get the most reads and comments.
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**Please exercise DISCRETION  when commenting on a story! Be RESPECTFUL.**

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🙂 My story will follow the prompt for those who might be distracted by reading a story before writing their own . I enjoy your comments. :)

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Copyright - Lora Mitchell

Copyright – Lora Mitchell

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Word Count – 100


            Just the right balance of tin foil on rabbit ears chased away the ghosts and the black and white Zenith’s fifteen- inch picture wouldn’t flip during my favorite show.

            “Hey, kids. What time is it?”  

            “It’s Howdy Doody time!”

            Mute clown Clarabell chased Buffalo Bob with a seltzer bottle. Antics of the puppet population of Doodyville delighted me.

            One horrible Saturday Howdy said, “There’s no more show. It’s time to go.”  

            Then Clarabell spoke for the first time.

            “Goodbye, kids.”

            I sobbed, inconsolable, crushed by my first real loss in seven years. Even now the memory brings me to tears.




124 comments on “15 March 2013

  • The name “Howdy Doody” lives on. I felt how crushed you were in this short story, and I loved how you described the simplicity of the set and the scene that brought kids laughter.


  • That would be pretty hard for a kid, especially back in the day when it wasn’t like there was a lot of other programs to choose from. You wrote it so well that it makes me sad it was cancelled and I’ve never even seen it.


    • Dear Björn,
      It was a very long time ago and I don’t expect many Friday Fictioneers to remember the show. But we were all children and I suspect my experience is a common one. Glad you liked the story at any rate.


    • Thank you, Jen. Howdy Doody was simple, innocent and without special effects. And we didn’t grow up with computers, cell phones or any of the other technologies that I can’t imagine being without now.
      Thanks for dropping by with your comments.


  • I love the opening lines about tin foil and rabbit ears, but I’m not sure how I feel about admitting that I understand, that I remember such contraptions from my own childhood… Thanks for making me feel old, Rochelle!🙂


  • awww… i have to admit, i don’t know the show but i can almost feel the disappointment you must’ve felt! “Goodbye, kids.” — i’d sure hate to hear those words.. At the end of every kiddie show, the characters would usually say “Until next time..”


  • To a child, the ending of a much-loved anything–television program, book, vacation, whatever–is very difficult and you deftly made us part of that, feeling your pain and remembering something that made us feel that way. We didn’t get a television until I was in high school, so I didn’t watch much unless at a friend’s house or my grandparents’ farm. I do remember foil on the rabbit ears, though, which continued much later than 1960. You’ll have to ask Bill his story about rabbit ears. 🙂

    Two small things I noticed: fifteen-inch needs a hyphen (I can hear you shouting, “One more word” even from here) and “Hey, kids” need a comma.



  • Dear Rochelle,

    I sense such sadness in your story. I know that you feel today, the same way you did when first heard the news. It was like your childhood was ending. The normalcy of the simple act of watching a t.v. show was gone. Your world was set off kilter and wouldn’t be the same again. Funny how that loss would prepare you for others that you would have in your life.

    Fondly, Renee


      • I’ve been told that I can tap into the feelings of a person. Silly huh? I think I just know that sense of loss that you feel. We all feel at one time or another.

        Love, Renee

        PS I can’t even explain the euphoria I feel about becoming published. I have no idea if the short story will sell. I don’t really care. I’m happy that someone thought enough of my work to publish it.


  • Your atmosphere in this autobiographical piece was persuasive! It engendered my effort and I expect more. Out of interest, I think the hyphen is debatable and ”voluntary” – referring to Janet’s kind suggestion, but I may be wrong.


  • We didn’t get those shows over here so I couldn’t identify with the characters in your story. It seemed to me that the kids’ shows continued long after I’d stopped watching them, and so it came as a surprise to turn round one day and find that they were history. So I could identify with the sentiments. It was still a loss, but more of a regret that I hadn’t appreciated them whilst I could. Nicely done Rochelle, and a great take on the prompt.


    • Dear Sandra,
      I suspect that more than a few FF’rs won’t recognized or identify with the TV characters which is why I included the video link. That you identified with the sentiments is the whole point of my memoir. A story of loss and a child’s grief. Thank you for commenting and liking.


    • Dear Pete,
      Color TV was in its infancy in 1960. Howdy Doody was broadcast in color that year. Alas we still had a black and white set. Don’t think my parents sprang for a color set until the late 60’s. So I’m dating myself.
      Thank you for your compliment.


  • Hi Rochelle,
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I, too, was part of the Howdy generation, watching on a black and white in the slums of Tulsa. I can still sing the Howdy song, not that anybody would want to hear that. Nice, sweet piece of nostalgia. My story also relates to something cultural that was a formative experience. Ron


  • I am having difficulties accessing Abraham’s site. My Crome Google software alters me to potential malware and will not let me access from the link here or in my e-mail. Could you please let Abraham know that I appreciated his visit and tried to return the favor. But I cannot risk malware on my home computer.


  • I remember the days of fiddling with the antenna, trying to reduce the snowstorm on the screen enough that you could actually see the picture. I was part of the Captain Kangaroo crowd, although I was particularly partial to Mr. Greenjeans who wore overalls (I wonder why they didn’t call him Mr. Greenoveralls?)


  • One thing that’s so interesting about these prompts is seeing how everyone interprets the picture and I love how this one took you back to that time of your life. I miss kid’s shows like this and the cartoons I grew up with and just last week I broke down and bought a bunch of them on Amazon so I can relive them a little bit. Anyway, this was not only an excellent take on the prompt but a nice recreation of times gone by.


    • Dear Michael,
      I, too, am fascinated by how many interpretations come from one picture.
      Thank you for your kind comments. Those old shows were entertaining, though simplistic and innocent by today’s standards. I’m not so sure I call it progress.


  • Hi Rochelle, I became the best at fixing the rabbit ears just right to get the sharpest black and white picture. Howdy Dowdy was over by the time I was interested in TV, I was Soupy Sales gal. Great nostalgic piece. I meant to tell you last week, great stain glass background.


  • A really effective tale of loss, it’s strange how it’s always the little things that can affect us the most. losing something you have grown up with can be as bad as losing your self in some respects. Nicely done🙂


  • Rochelle,
    Of all your stories this is my favorite. This is a story of a little child learning about loss and coping with it for the first time. The mute clown speaking for the first and only time when it means the most…It’s touching, a piece of history and a part of your past. Well done! Love it!



    • Clarabell speaking??? First time I’ve heard that, but oh, how touching it was that the clown finally had a voice. I’m not old enough for howdy doodie, but I do remember Uncle Al and Captain Kangaroo and ohhhh how I cried to hear they had passed away. Such a touching tribute to a much beloved show.


      • Dear Tom,
        Thank you for your warm comments. Always nice to have written someone’s favorite. And yes, very vivid memory. I know where fictioneers but there’s nothing fictitious about this story.
        Yes, Buffalo, Clarabell spoke. That’s what made me cry buckets. And Doodyville was dark for the first time in 13 years. If you don’t know already, Bob Keeshan who went on to be Captain Kangaroo was the original Clarabell. The world suffered a loss when he died.


  • I felt the same way, no, worse when M*A*S*H 4077th ended it’s series. I cried for weeks! It was like loosing a family member. Through everything it was the only thing that was dependable. Now, I have it on DVD, but I still watch reruns every night.


    • Dear Buffalo,
      I was and am a huge M*A*S*H fan. My first excursion into story writing was M*A*S*H fan fiction under the pseudonym “Bigelow”. It can be found online on two different sites. Not the greatest writing but entertained myself. I was also depressed when it went off the air. Thanks for commenting,


  • This has got to be the biggest leap from the prompt. You leapt from the crappy tinfoil around the plant to the old rabbit ears we used to use, all the way back to the Howdy Doody Show, which I have to admit I am of the age that grew up with it. It seems to me that everyone hated ClaraBell, but maybe we all hated Howdy Doody! I know we all loved Princess Summer Fall Winter Spring and Flub-Adub!


    • Dearest Lindaura,
      I have to be honest. I didn’t notice the foil wrapping around he plant. When Doug pointed out the fact that it was a TV screen behind the lily and not a window my mind just went to television. Started reading about TV’s history and decided that my own memoir was the perfect story.
      Honestly I don’t recall how I felt about any of the characters, other than the fact that when I was seven it had been on the air my “whole life,”
      As for leaping from the prompt…glad you noticed.😉. Thanks for commenting.


  • Doodyville sounds like fun. Isn’t it strange what memories stay with you? I loved the description of the tin foil on the rabbit ears – we had an array of coathangers and sticky tape!


    • Dear El,
      Hope you clicked on the link for the video. Doodyville was a fun place for a kid in he 50’s. Nothing slick or technical, just marionettes and silly human characters. I think we used a few coathangers, too.😉
      Thanks for dropping by and commenting.


  • Dearest Rochelle,

    What a beautiful story. I read every comment and think you have touched on a universal experience in this modern age. From Bjorn to Ted to Tom and more, all seem to have experienced loss in a significant way when their favorite characters run on the tube has ended. You captured a seven year old’s innocence and her grief was palpable. How you manage to write these great stories while driving the bus is beyond me. Well done.




    • Dear Doug,
      Your kind words bring a lump to my throat. It’s amazing how the little things that happen to us as wee ones stick with us for a lifetime, isn’t it? While I don’t really remember much about Howdy Doody, that day is etched in my mind and on my heart with crystal clarity.
      As a writer, to have my work completely understood on an emotional and cerebral level is a high compliment, particularly when that understanding comes from another writer whose work I respect and admire.


    • Dear Perry,
      I honestly don’t remember a lot about the show. Mainly I remember the farewell and my reaction to it. However the next week Howdy was replaced by Shari Lewis and Lanbchop so I survived the trauma.

      You had a Winky Dink screen?You lucky duck!
      Thanks for dropping by. See ya next week.


  • It took me a couple of reads to get the tinfoil and ghosts part (I can be a little slow sometimes) but once I was in the groove I really enjoyed it – just in time to feel the shock and loss and come down with a bump at the end. Nice piece.


    • Dear J,
      I suspect you’re too young to remember tinfoil and ghosts that plagued the early TV screen. The important thing to me is that you felt what the child felt. Thanks for commenting. I’ll be by to read yours soon.


  • My dear Rockstar ~ I remember that day as well and also shed a few tears. What really hit me however, was the memory of the tinfoil wrapped around the rabbit ears. We had to pay our brother a quarter to sit still by that tinfoil like a soldier, holding our breath until the end of our favorite shows. Thank you for posting my “Lilies in the Window” photo. Lora


    • Dear Lora,
      I’m so glad you came out of hiatus to read and comment. Nice to know I’m not the only one who cried the day Doodyville went dark. What did we know from cancellations? We were children.
      I love the visual of your brother manning the rabbit ears. Thanks for sharing your photo. As you can see some interestingly diverse stories sprang forth this week.


  • Hi, Found you and the concept of FF a couple a days ago. FF seemed a great concept. Wrote my first story for FF and put it up on the link. Just was confused where would one find the latest photo prompt.. Is there some link/page ? I assumed this to be the latest photo prompt. At what days times are the new photo prompts put up ? Lot of questions yeh !

    On your story, I never heard of the show but the essence comes across very nicely! One feels nostalgic🙂


    • Hi Shreyank,
      Welcome to Friday Fictioneers. Glad you found us. You’ve also found the link page and the latest photo prompt. I put the photo prompt up on Wednesday. It will always be up on my blog page. Also I will post the picture on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FridayFictioneers?fref=ts.

      Thank you or your kind comment on my story. Since Howdy Doody was cancelled after 13 seasons in 1960 not many under a certain age know of it. To me being 7 years old at the time it had been on my whole life. And nostalgia is what I aimed for.

      Generally as implied we write flash fiction but occasionally some of us share a memoir or two.


  • Wow, it must have been a shock to find out that Clarabelle could talk!

    I remember those days of fiddling with antennas – it was especially annoying when it turned out that the TV worked just fine as long as somebody stood there holding the antenna in the right place, but if you let go and stepped away, even though the rabbit ears didn’t move, the picture went sideways again.


      • And having said that, I’ll say this for those of us who may have gotten the picture “wrong” I maintain that a prompt is merely that. I still maintain it’s how one interprets it that powers their story. Doesn’t matter what it really is. However it’s nice to know what it really is.


    • Dear Atiya,
      I can’t say that any of the other shows I watched as a child had the same effect either. If you click on “Epilogue” right after my story it will take you to a short video from CBS Sunday morning that will give you a nice, short history of the show.
      Thanks for dropping by with comments.


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