Her mother liked to listen to the BBC on a huge wooden radio curved like the arch of a cathedral, a Philco she had brought down from Canada after her father died. The radio was almost chest high to Samantha and divided into segments. The upper panel was a midnight blue rainbow of all the frequencies, AM, FM, SW1, SW2, and so on, the numbers silver against the curve of the rainbow dial. That dark curve nestled within the cathedral arch like a rhyme. A large black tuning knob as big as your palm moved an amber needle across the rainbow. The needle moving like a caravan through storms of static, unintelligible broadcasts in lost languages, the high pitched chirps of Morse code, and echoing signals that she used to imagine were the dispatches from ships at sea.
There was a center panel of cherry wood narrower than the top and about two thirds of the way up from the floor. Swirls of burnished woodgrain floated like auburn honey within the panel. It was beautiful to look at when all the other lights were out and the cherry wood was illuminated by only the spill of the pale orchid light from the tuning panel.
Beneath the cherrywood a broad expanse of silver-blue speaker cloth was pulled taut behind sunburst spokes of the same cherrywood. If you looked closely at the speaker cloth you could see it pulse and sigh in the exhalations of the great paper bellows of the speaker behind it.
It reminded her of an Easter lily the silky way it sat there.
Usually her mother listened to the BBC Foreign Service on which pompous British men spoke the news in low tones and later earnest English women announced elegies by French composers. Today she listened to the Newburgh all-news station which twenty past and twenty before every hour carried breaking news for the mid-Hudson valley, today headlined by the recovery of a drowning victim from Wappingers Creek.