Tuesday, November 11, 2008
As was the tradition at my school, the previous senior class wandered the halls of high school the day before Thanksgiving. And look at them! Enough to bring many a high school teacher to tears. "All that work we put in on their educations and three months at State and look what happened to them!"
I was recently listening to the Beatles' Revolver and can see a similar transformation. Young clean cut men, previously loyal to their Queen and Capitol Records, smoked a joint and got sour outlooks on life. It sounds like they ate a meal that didn't agree with them. (Or got their tax bills).
Editor's note: One of the icons of the sixties, the cartoonist R. Crumb, has an interesting show of original ink drawings at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art at on the Penn campus. Throught December 7. Wed-Sun. Free.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
One Sunday afternoon I was traversing my way through the comics in the Herald Tribune. I was past "Peanuts" and entering the more parochial world of "Miss Peach" when my father asked if I'd like to take a bicycle ride. This was a new development in family life up to this point so I said, skeptically, "okay".
I rode my trusty bike and my father rode my older brothers'. He was at college and would never (until now) be the wiser. We headed onto Route 80. Scheduled to open the following day, the highway was magnificent and empty. It had a wonderful view of New York and the Empire State Building. We went as far as Bogota.
In Bogota we visited my father's friends. I had a coke and he drank a few beers. On the way back he swerved a bit on the road but I held up the rear. The next day Route 80 was opened up to the trucks and traffic jams for which it would become famous.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
As a twelve year old, Arnold Constables re-emerged once in my life as the location of a special appearance by Cousin Brucie aka Bruce Morrow, the disc jockey. I remember the place was full of kids, and most of them did not smell like perfume. This one girl I didn’t know started talking to me about music. I held my own, showing off my knowledge of the Animals and the Stones. My first exposure to the faster set that traveled at will to see music celebrities.
Bruce Morrow showed up. There was lots of screaming. I don’t remember what he talked about. Presumably it was to promote his radio show on WABC and perhaps a few products.
Today long gone, Arnold Constables in Hackensack is now a campus of Bergen Community College. Bruce Morrow does oldies shows for public television “pitch week”.
Editor’s note: This post is mentioned in the Hackensack Community Message Board. Interesting site for Bergen County history buffs.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Finally the album found its way to FM radio and Murray the K announced that he had, once again, gotten the album first and would be featuring it on his Saturday night program on WOR-FM. Homework done, chores done, I was looking forward to an evening listening to this historic album for the first time.
The radio was on in my room. Murray the K had just started the show and there was a knocking on my door. It was my father.
"Master Mustache, come on, Mr. Mills has the bed he's giving you and we need to bring it over before he changes his mind."
"Bed, what bed, I don't need a bed. I have a bed." Even then, I was resistent to change.
The rest of the night it was up and down Kaplan Avenue. We carried mattresses, box springs, bed boards. It must have taken ten trips. We disassembled the bed at the Mills bedroom and reassembled it in my bedroom. I got to hear snippets of the Beatles behind the grunts and swear words accompanying the bed assembly. My other bed was then removed and planted on the curb.
After the bed was set up, Mr. Mills brought a bottle of champagne which both families drank, sitting on my new bed. Thus the bed was christened.
Finally the Mills family went home and I got to hear the last two Beatles cuts, "the End" and "Good night".
Editor's note: We actually drank the champagne on the back porch.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Saturday, March 8, 2008
The first foreboding that the economy was turning sour started with the great energy crisis. Then came the great recession of the seventies.
ps if you are new to the blog, start from the oldest and work your way forward for best results. So long.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
One day our family had an outing to Freedomland, the ill fated amusement park that was supposed to be New York's answer to Disneyland. Apparently, Mrs. Mills had a sister who sang in a band, namely the Jimmy Dorsey Band, then fronted by Lee Castle. As a bonus, Donald O'Connor was performing on the same stage.
Freedomland was okay, but not great. The best thing there was the tent where the disc jockey from WMCA was doing a radio show in front of a group of bored teenagers.
Outside it started to rain. In the band shell Donald O'Connor appeared and sang "Singing in the Rain". The stage was not sheltered from the weather. Donald O'Connor was a real trouper. No wonder my mother named me after him. The band played. The sister sang. And we all went home, soaking wet but happy.
The other big fair was, of course, the New York World's Fair, amply described in the book The End of the Innocence, by Lawrence R. Samuel. He was on the radio this morning.
The New York World's Fair was a hotly waited for event. I had been looking forward to it ever since hearing about the one in Seattle a few years earlier.
Contrary to it's detractors, for a kid it was great. Futurama was great. The Disney exhibits were great. My mother thought the electronic Abe Lincoln at the Illinois pavilion was real until he stopped talking. I got to go twice, once because my father wanted to go and once because my mother's friends from Ohio wanted to go.
After several hours of touring and tired from the day, my parents sat down at a bench at the fair. Soon a man shyly came up to my father. He almost couldn't speak, then he said, whispering, "do you know where I could find a girlie show around here?"
My father paused. "I don't know, I think the Texas exhibit has some scantily clad ladies." After living with my mother all these years, he had become a Texas booster too. And I heard a new term to increase my vocabulary.
Today there are remnants of the fair in Queens. You can still see the unisphere and the walkable map of New York at the Queens Museum of Art.
Editor's note: We'll get to an explanation of life after the sixties in due time.
Monday, February 18, 2008
The nice part was that everything had changed. "Straight jobs" would be gone. We would all become free spirits picking and choosing among meaningful, insightful, occupations, bolstered by plentiful government grants provided by a free, enlightened America.
The men would become motorcycle repairmen, carpenters, organic farmers, writers, actors. The women would make quilts and pottery and grow flowers. The slums would disappear as black Americans would join the ranks of the middle class and move into our parents houses as we would all live in communes or new cities in the dessert.
The sixties were ending and a new world was beginning. The seventies would be a time of brotherhood, freedom, happiness, and only the "straight people" would be left behind.
Some of the wiser babyboomers were like ants in contrast to the multitudes of grasshoppers. They knew that accounting degrees and MBA's would still be needed in the seventies and that the expectations of the longhairs was a load of hooey. They knew the world could only use so many guitar players. They reasoned since most people never went to the theatre millions of actors would not be able to find work.
And so the sixties ended on a high note of expectation. Keep tuned for in my next post I will tell you what happened after the new year was rung.
Editor's note: I was just browsing the other blogs and Tacky Christmas cards is swell. http://tackychristmasyards.com/
Monday, January 28, 2008
Uncle Bill once said that television is written for ten year olds. (This from someone who thought Pepino the Italian Mouse was the height of couture). And being ten at the time, I agreed with him.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
So my mother goes, "So you're going out again without finishing your homework".
And then my father goes, "You should be getting better grades".
Then my brother goes, "I aced that class when I took it two years ago".
And then I go, "Yeah but I didn't have my ass in my shirt like you did."
And then my mother goes....
Then there was her boyfriend, the underlying cause of the conflict in the preceding vignette. He was good at sports but couldn't get into varsity because his grades were too low. On weekends he managed to obtain beer from New York, where the drinking age was eighteen. He was best avoided in the rush from class to class. He couldn't, however, be avoided in gym class, which were arranged in an apparently arbitrary manner.
Of course, every school also had its "goody two shoes". This type was in the Honor Society, the Key Club, and practiced for his one varsity sport, perhaps tennis. These young people would go to good schools and be your bosses when you got older. They would generally be successful at the game of life, though multiple marriages would reduce their net worth.
The rougher boys had cars that they worked on. The "goody two shoes" had to borrow the family car.
With the social upheavals beginning in the mid sixties, a new crowd of hip intellectuals emerged in high school. Bound for good colleges like the "goody two shoes" and occasionally using go as a synonym for say (to show their street creds) they got good grades but were not trusted by their teachers. They were too hip for their own good. In tenth grade, I was basically a "goody two shoes" but had aspirations to join the hip intellectual crowd.