Dear Grandma

God, I have no idea what year this was written. Was I 12? Yes. Tuesday June 12th was 1957. Elementary School: William Jennings Bryan. I’d bike to school, as it was only 4 or so blocks away. “Spaggeti” (sic) was one of the standard meals. Spaghetti, apple pie and milk. Damn, is that the All-American meal or what?

Docie was the kid across the street, who was a year younger than me. His brother Gilbert was just a little guy at that time. His mother used to say of Gilbert that she could tell if her precious was lying or not just by looking into his eyes. Once we tested the theory. We got Gilbert to tell a bald-faced lie to Mom. She failed the test.

I never did the Lemonade stand, being more adventurous – at last as far as naming was concerned. I was rakin’ in the dough back then. Sad to say, I have no memories of Karen, my Prom date. I do remember going to the “after-party” because as I was walking there a fly flew into my mouth and I swallowed it. I remember that like it was yesterday.

We had fun we danced then after the Prom we went to a party at a girls house we had a lot of fun.

The difference between just “fun” and “a lot of fun” must have been the game of spin-the bottle we played. Seriously.. C’mon, this  was 1957, ok? My first kiss!

And damn if I don’t have an image of that “bike hike” to the park that we took back then. It’s a snapshot, not a film. And, as I said “we had fun”. Priority #  1 appeared  to be FUN. Nothing wrong with that, huh?.

Further on along in my letter to Grandma (the 2d page is not reproduced), I report that my father bought me a 3-man pup tent and that the ‘kids on the bloc’ started a club called the “Night Raiders Club”. I should say there were no hoods involved and the name perhaps carriers unfortunate connotations, especially since my mother and Grandma were from Georgia. I think the only time (other than the backyard) that I ever actually camped in that pup tent was a cub scout outing to a Miami coastal island. A badge earning experience.

Besides the 1:00 o’clock meetings every Sunday, there were the piano lessons on Tuesdays at 5:00 PM. My teacher’s name was Irma McDaniel, but my father called her Hattie (Gone with The Wind). Irma had a Julia Child style voice, and was very proper. My lessons were metronome style. Tick-tock. She was actually a good teacher, but after a few years, I switched to another teacher because I wanted to develop a more contemporary sound.

I update Granny on my first dog, Domino (black and white spots, though not a dalmatian). Just a small mutt. She was a good doggie.

Lastly I give Grandma what was probably my first movie reviews:

Monday we went to a drive-in theater and saw Toward The Unknown, that was pretty good but the other one we saw, River’s End, was pretty corny because in one scene the man burned 1,000,000,000,$, BECAUSE his girlfriend was cold.

I think I meant a million dollars. Well, glad to see my healthy skepticism was being shaped even at that tender age. Ha. Before  Top Gun there was Toward The Unknown (1956) and before Ton Cruise there was William Holden. I assume the “corny” film was the one made in 1940, though I’m not sure. It would have been typical of double features back then: one fairly new one, and an oldie. The most improbable synopsis for the film is here. The 1940 version was the second remake of this film (1920, 1930). Hollywood was somewhat in love with Canadian Mounties around this time. Sergeant Preston of the Yukon ran on tv from 1955 through 1958 (three seasons).

Grandma’s place in Columbus Georgia was where we spent most of our summers, at least when I was this age. As I got older, we did different things.  My father was a musician who was with a big band on Miami Beach his entire career, at least after the early, road carousin’ days. During the off-season, the band moved north, so that my mother, my sister and I took the train (Florida East Coast) to Georgia and spent the summers there.

This letter was written just before our annual trip in 1957 I would assume.



Filed under Sketches

5 responses to “Dear Grandma

  1. PatD

    Tues – 6:01 and 40 1/4 sec!!!

    Love it.

    That was great.

  2. Excellent! And you know, I can see the kernels of your present writing style in that — I knew it was yours before I finished reading. Then again, I’m kind of micro-focused on such things…

  3. chazzw

    “My kernels”. I had the same thought. What with the sorta and stackin’ and buckin’. I guess I wanna (heh-heh) write the way I speak.

  4. PatD

    Quite the little artist, too!

  5. chazzw

    Whoo-hoo! I’d like to take the credit, but ‘ya know: that was just stationary.

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