When I was a kid, television watching was a full contact sport.
Our black and white TV was a giant metal box that dominated our living room. It was 50’s brown and sat on a black wire stand that allowed it to be
twirled swiveled for better viewing.
In our tiny house, there were many, MANY more kids than there were seats to hold them.
Dad got priority with the wooden backed rocker as he suffered his whole life from a bad back. He sat on his throne and ate bitter sharp cheddar cheese on saltines, or maybe an apple that he’d peel in one long strip. On really hot summer evenings he’d have half a cantaloupe with a scoop of ice cream in the middle. His snacks were ignored — until the ice cream came out.
Mom, relegated to doing five thousand loads of wash a day, came in and out but she had a reserved place on the couch. Anyone sitting there must immediately vacate the position.
That left two seats on the couch and one other chair…for seven kids. It was full-contact musical chairs, until someone invented “Saved for me.” Don’t ask me why this worked on a bunch of wild animals, but it did. We stood up, put our hands on the chair and shouted the magic words.
And then one day, my older sister calmly walked over to a saved chair and said, “Changes. Saved for me. No changes.”
Kapow! That was a game changer. Now when a kid stood up – to maybe go try for a scoop of Dad’s ice cream – the entire room held its breath. Would the idiot leave with only saying “Saved for me”? Sometimes they would.
I can still remember the feeling of satisfaction of being the one to claim a chair with the statement, “Changes. Save for me. No changes.” Perhaps I can remember the feeling so well because, we still use it to this day.