Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Who: Michael Trotter of The War and Treaty
Where: Nashville, Tenn.
Recommendation: Embracing childhood nostalgia and taking time to make memories with your loved ones
Well, I must be honest: I've been going back to my childhood lately. I've discovered cool apps and channels that cater to entertainment that was a little bit more healthier for the brain like The Andy Griffith Show, Leave It To Beaver, Laverne & Shirley, Three's Company, Sanford and Son, Family Matters and one of my all time favorites, Mama's Family.
I've also binged-watched series I love like Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel and Bonanza. Of course you will say, "Michael, that's not TV from your day," but I beg to differ. When I was a young lad I spent a lot of time with my dad watching reruns of those westerns and with my mom watching reruns of those shows I mentioned prior. I watched the reruns so much that I thought it was regular TV programming. And now that I'm 38 years old, I remember the actual setting of those days as well.
With mom we'd be eating tuna fish and crackers, drinking Welch's grape juice and eating Mars bars as dessert. Mom would be sitting on the couch and I'd be laying in my favorite spot of the house in the corner by a heater vent with my blanket. We'd play this game to see who knew the most commercial jingles and we'd sing them and laugh so hard we'd cry tears of joy.
With dad we'd be in the TV room in our house waiting for Little Joe (actor Michael Landon) to sock some stranger in the mouth for getting out of line. Or waiting for some big tough guy to waltz into a bar and pick a fight only to find Hoss (Dan Blocker) standing behind him ready to give him a thumping. During commercial breaks Dad and I would do our Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) impressions and we'd laugh at each other so hard we'd both start coughing uncontrollably. Dad would be in his recliner and I'd be laid out on a pile of blankets I'd lay on the floor. We'd be eating turkey sandwiches or corned beef sandwiches we'd get from Harvard Deli in Cleveland, Ohio.
With my siblings we'd rush to the living room to get daily lessons from Family Matters. One episode I remember was when the cops had wrongly accused Eddie Winslow (Darius McCrary), and his dad Carl Winslow (Reginald VelJohnson) would come to his rescue. That's where we first learned about police brutality, but the show also showed a side of the black family I hadn't seen before. It showed fathers hugging and kissing on their sons. It showed no yelling in discipline, but education was key, even in chastisement.
My opinion of discipline changed because of that show and I find myself dealing with my little Legend (eight years old) like Carl and Eddie. So you see, we weren't just watching TV but creating intimate memories that will last forever. Use this time to create memories with your beautiful family. That's all the mental health you need.
Michael Trotter performs with his wife, Tanya Blount-Trotter, as The War & Treaty. The band's latest release is the single Jealousy/Hustlin'.