Grammy Karl used to say, “The woods are full of them.”

All by itself it is a profound statement.

I am carrying on by applying this to things as I go along. Courier-Gazette Managing Editor Christine Simmonds recently brought in a very tidy old Sony Dream Machine clock radio. Hers has the wonderful fake wood. Turns out most of us currently own one, or have had one.

With the fake wood.

The woods are full of them.

I too have a Sony Dream Machine with fake wood. Mine still has the sticker on the side that alerts us to the fact that this is, “simulated wood.”

So noted.

Clock radios are a phenomenon that go back to the 40s. My first one looked like a white kitchen spaceship and did not have the snooze button feature.

We are so far ahead in the world now with the fake wood and the snooze button – a Dream Maker. It works most of the time for me. If I hit the button and go back to sleep it will create a very light sleep state that allows me to remember what I was dreaming about when the music comes back on.

A typical dream has me climbing endlessly until finally I reach the top of whatever it is, and I find myself stuck with no way to get down.

It is a salesman’s dream.

I would say 90 percent of the time, I just wake up. My radio is tuned to the radio station two blocks over on Gay Street.

I get very good reception and there is a foghorn on the hour.

So, I get right up. The best for all concerned. The wife, myself and the cat all are better off with me up.

This fake wood thing is a form of kitsch that I believe is meant to reassure us and make ordinary objects look authentic.

Automobiles in the 90s had wood trim on the dash and around the doors. I can remember the Buick LeSabre with the wood trim dash, shaped to look like a bookshelf. The simulated wood had the look of a fine clock radio.


In the early 60s the Maine State Prison pumped out kitsch like no one’s business. My dad was a prison guard with first dibs on buying these gems. Among them were a child’s rocking chair (real wood) with the name “Glenn” painted skillfully in brush script by a prisoner.

My favorite was a little house made from burnt matchsticks. It had a lift off roof to allow a piece of incense to be put inside.

Once the incense was lit and the roof placed back on, the smoke would rise out of the chimney.

The final piece is a remarkable fish carving, mounted on a tasteful wooden plaque. I rescued it from the cellar game room at the family homestead. The paint on it is very lifelike.

It is a rainbow trout.

Not to be confused with a Trout Mask Replica.

It now has its place of honor inside studio G at the Grass-Ranch.

Glenn Billington is a lifelong resident of Rockland and has worked for The Courier-Gazette and The Free Press since 1989.

Real wood – fake fish. Photo by Glenn Billington