He worked hard his whole life on his farm in Maddox Cove and as a fisherman out of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. My grandfather O'Brien worked long days, from 4 a.m. during the fishing season. When he retired from fishing, Granda continued his work around the farm, growing vegetables, tending chickens, horses and cows, plowing, mowing, He always had a nap in the afternoon but his main luxury was the soap opera Another World. In the late 1960s, Granda and Nan watched it every week day. They were fascinated with the daily life of Mac, Rachel and the clan in Bay City.
Granda watched with some skepticism as the cast of characters went about their daily lives but he was not really sure what to think about them. He always asked, "That's not real, is it?" Everyone reassured him that it was not, but Granda kept asking. If you entered the room while he was watching the program, during the commercial breaks, he gave you a synopsis of the latest happenings. Granda really went to another world.
Nan was different. She said with conviction, "That's not real," as if to remind herself not to believe what she saw.
My grandmother often commented, "That's shockin'," shaking her head at the events in Bay City. However, she continued to watch, as did Granda.
Today the fictional situations which fascinated Nan and Granda are played out on reality television and more recently, in the news, in more graphic detail and with coarser language. One can imagine the comments and questions from those two if they could watch television today. My grandparents would be shocked, but glued to the television.