Friday, March 16, 2007

'56 Mercs zooming through the night. PEOPLE SEE US EVERYWHERE!

All this nostalgia, for the Fifties and Sixties lately--'51 Mercs racing through the night, Conway Twitty on the air,
PEOPLE SEE US EVERYWHERE (little rejoiner from the back seat: "They think you're a f*cking square."); car coats and A&W's and roller skating waitresses. "Haven't you a girl like little Sheia, blue eyes and pony tail?";
Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The Teddy Bears. TO KNOW KNOW KNOW HIM IS TO LOVE, LOVE LOVE HIM.

Boogie cuts and boxcar hair for the guys, everybody's a Fonz, trying to stay cool in the back of the theatre,
your cigarette intact, but five guys are piling on you anyway, wanting to "polish your ivories." Blackboard Jungle, and Rebel Without a Cause (What was all that about anyway?)--All those days before Don McLean's AMERICAN PIE.

We were innocent, violent, rock'n'roll loving, coming back from the drive-in, "the fingerbowl", indeed holding up our fingers for our friend to smell--wishful thinking, really. Fifties crude. Who put the bop in the bop-she-bop-she bop? and the crude rejoiner, "Who put the meat in the Meteor?."

The condom in the wallet, almost always never used, the wrapper frayed. The falling in love, Rick Nelson
playing the soundrack for our love lives, which were largely nonexistent. The guys would brag to each other, but only one of five was really getting any. And those that were getting it were soon married and it was off to the Steel Company of Canada or Dofasco for to pay for baby's booties.

We were in some sort of penal colony, barely allowed to rock and roll, and Elvis was shown only from the waist up.

H-bombs were going off all over, one of them knocking out the earth's magnetic field for a full fifteen minutes.

Sputnik, and Laika the incredible space dog, Russkies at your doorstep and maybe even barefooted African troops.

Jim Crow ruled, nobody was voting in Alabama, and Chuck Berry was always getting arrested, though he could play guitar just like ringin' a bell.

And then the 1957 recession, and all the boys were joining the Service and George Diefenbaker here in Canada
and nuclear-armed Bomarcs, and H-Bombers flying over Winnipeg while Diefenbaker was sayin "No nuclear arms over Canada."
It was a mad time, but we were young, and sure to have our way.

And did we not have our way by the Sixties. The summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury the sit-ins and the love-ins.

Little bourgeois girls sitting on cold Yorkville Avenue steps, just to be part of the scene.

Long-lost classmates hardly recognizable from the drugs and booze. "I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now."

Sex, drugs and LSD. People hanging out of locust trees in the morning, all of them on MDA.

Mandala: "Love-itis got a hold on me."

Steppenwolf. And Burton Cummings. AMERICAN WOMAN.

What in hell was all that about?

American Graffiti, that's what it was all about.

But eventually, all the empty-handed soldier came home.

When childhood was over, the things of childhood had to be put away.

And now we reminisce.

It was a simpler time. It was a grand time. Everybody had money. You could afford to eat in restaurants. Beer was 26 cents a bottle. Everybody had reefers.

And your mother decked out as if part of the B-52's.

Daddy Let Your Mind Roll On!


Josie said...

Ivan, this is wonderful. Omigosh, car coats and A&Ws. I still love car coats. And A&W. I don't know if you're able to open the jukebox, but omigosh, you will definitely be back at the A&W.

Do you remember Brenda Lee singing "Where is that someone somewhere meant for me?" The title was "I Want To Be Wanted". Ha! I've played it about six times. What memories.

BTW, you were too cool for school. You mean to tell me with those looks you weren't "getting any"? I'll bet all the girls were after you :-)


islandgrovepress said...

Got at that "jukebox" you'd sent, Josie.


I don't believe the fidelity of this gadget.

Yes, Brenda Lee. Weren't we all in love with her. Felt as if she were singing just for us.

...My mother kept pulling the phone out of my hands. Darn two a.m. phone calls. You need to go to sleep, Boychik. Heh.


EA Monroe said...

Ivan, you and Josie! I swear Retro is in the air! That's what I was going to post about this evening!! Oh, well, I'm going to throw a Sock Hop and play Spin the Bottle anyway! I'm off to post-land now that Blogger is blogging again!

I agree with Josie about the cool cat in the photo, too!

islandgrovepress said...

Hey, sock hops were great.
Man, did I have a protracted adolescence! Now and then my college would have a grand sock hop and there were so many girls from Fashion Design, happily outnumbering the guys in Journalism, which was co-ed in the first place. The fashion girls were, of course were knockouts to look at. Nothing like our bluestocking girls in Journalism.
And St. Michael's Hospital, almost next door, had all these bored nurses between shifts. Bachelor heaven!

Yeah, throw a sock hop.
I'll slow dance to "Oh Donna" with you.

...I think we're waking up the kids!


Sienna said...

This is cyberspace time-travel, amazing stuff...such a different life.

Handsome photo Ivan, intense eyes. You look like you are about to pounce.

Way too cool. The 50's music is so much fun. Sock hop? must be a dance.
I think Australia had a mashed potato?


doubting thomas said...

Wow, what memories you invoke, Ivan! A shibboleth of age is the word "retro". For some of us these things are happy memories, for the unfortunate young, these things get the label retro. While reading your post, I was propelled back to a high school gymnasium is a small midwest town. I was a nerd who soldered things like radios together and listened to shortwave radios. The sock hop happened after every home game. I didn't go to the game because I was more interested in listening to faraway programs on the radio; a radio that cast a yellow glow in my darkened room. I went to the sock hop because that was where the girls were. Oh, those nubile heart breakers! I stood in the shadows wondering if this was the week I could muster the courage to actually ask a girl to dance. Before I knew it, "Sleepwalk" was playing. The last dance. Now or never. Never. Lights on. Walk home.

islandgrovepress said...


Sounds like both you and E.A. Monroe have some memories!


You actually take off your shoes and hop around in socks at the gym while a rock band or DJ is playing.
...keep those notes coming.


Josie said...

Socks hops were the best.

Well, you can rock it you can roll it,
You can stop and you can stroll it at the hop.

Too much fun!


Donnetta Lee said...

No offense! Some of things my hubby remembers, but I don't! Ha! I didn't experience sock hops or the jukebox. I do remember a little of Brenda Lee. My teenage awareness really begins more with the Beatles, the drive in theatre, teen magazines, Twiggy, and all that. I weighed in at 93 pounds, had long long straight hair, and wore the short short dresses and gogo boots. I do remember, as a little girl, Gogie Grant (sp?) and Peggy Lee. Mama used to play their songs on the piano and we sang together. Ah. Nostalgia. Donnetta

islandgrovepress said...


Let's go to the hop!


islandgrovepress said...


You remember Twiggy?

Well I certainly do, and who didn't/doesn't like the Beatles.

I remember sitting in a basment pad in Mexico after receiving a very first copy of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band. I was 29, and still with the scene--protracted adolescence again.

I was especially taken by one line,
intrigued, actually: "The girl with colitis goes by."

I had to play the track three times to realize it was "the girl with kaleidoscope eyes."
I would have thought that a girl with colitis woould be somewhat noticeable at a beach. Heh.

But that Seargeant Pepper. Wow.

Even Mick Jagger bemoans the fact he could never produce an almbum like that.



Donnetta Lee said...

Oh oh oh. Sgt. Pepper. What an always classic! I used to save up my pennies to get a whole dollar to buy the 45s. Then, my family usually got me a whole record album for birthdays and Christmas. My son has managed to get me every CD so I don't do without my Beatles music.

I was big on American Bandstand and later, Where the Action Is. That's where I first saw Paul Revere and the Raiders and turned Ms. Lizzy on to them. What wonderful times we had.

I also spent time at the A&W, but it as a little girl and Mama took us there.

Well, I have to go do the Mashed Potato as hubby is getting hungry!

Twist and Shout! Donnetta

islandgrovepress said...

Hey Jude.


Donnetta Lee said...

Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah

Nah nah nah nah

Hey, Jude.


Josie said...

Ivan, I'm playing some of the jukebox for the Munchkins, and Freddie really likes Bill Doggett's Honkey Tonk. He loves the sax. There's hope yet :-)


islandgrovepress said...


Yeah, it's that original Boogie pattern (not disco) that seems to grab young and old. Later used much by the Bill Black Combo. The sax really wails. Oh God. Another memory. Bittersweet!


islandgrovepress said...


Hey Jude, Jude, Juddy Juddy!


islangrovepress said...


Everybody's Irish today, right?

Happy St. Paddy's from

Ivan O'Prokopchuk. Heh.

EA Monroe said...

heehee. Has Donnetta been drinking hot toddies??

JR's Thumbprints said...

Well Ivan,
There's absolutely no resemblance between the younger you and the present I, that is, unless I'm sitting in a hot tub at 1,000 paces away. As for A&W, I believe Al Taubman had a hand in it.

islandgrovepress said...


Al Taubman? The mall king of Michigan?

I am getting the sense of being Malled.

There was some scandal about Al Taubman selling paintings.

Thought I'd seen you selling prisoner paintings. Heh.

But it's like my pal Alan Baskin of Baskin and Robbins.
Came to see me one day and dropped a box of toothpicks on the table.
"What's this?"
"It's my brother. He's in the lumber business...small scale."


islandgrovepress said...


Hot toddies.

But the night is still young.


Sela Carsen said...

I've begun to feel very, very young. *gg*

islandgrovepress said...

Yeah, I know, Sela.

I am FN- 99, that is to say, Friggin' Near a hundred years old!

I don't mind ladies telling me,
"You're showing your age, you bitch", but I get extrememely nervous when I'm told this by professional athletes or even convicts!
Ah Peter Pan.
Dick Clark forever!

Hey, you must really be on pins and needles as your Samhein Publishing, the ladies who published your NOT QUITE DEAD--is about the be allowed to hunt with the big publishing cats. That kind of certification will do your career no harm at all.
And NOT QUITE DEAD shortlisted as award-winning work by the Reviewers International Organizartion--that must be quite a thrill. But, as in the song, "Needles and Pins", that's where you probably are.

Myself, I hate those wating periods. Many years ago, I was very nearly accepted by Stanford University for a fellowship, waited, and waited, and was finally turned down by Wallace Stegner for not being an American. He also said I was a better journalist than a novelist. Of course, I was a pretty arrogant kid in thos days. I came across Stegner, author of Big Rock Candy Mountain and said, "Who the hell are you? I never heard of you."--I had just had a short story and five poems published in Canada and I was feeling my oats.
Damn. That would have done it!
Roadrunner and Coyote syndrome.

Ah well, the great philosopher Arthur Shopenhauer had his "The World as Will and Idea" turned into butter wrappers as these sold better than the poor man's book. One of the greatest (and oddest) philosophers of the l9th century, sells ahout ten copies and the rest sold off as butter wrappers.
...Anybody who doesn't raise a horselaugh over this, has no heart. Heh.

Thankd God for the internet!

Cheers and congratulations.


Sela Carsen said...

Thanks Ivan! Since my stuff is e-published, however, it can't even be sold for butter wrappers (flavor-protected!). Someday, I'll write a "real" novel. With lots and lots of words in it. On paper and everything.

islandgrovepress said...


I love clever people who get things.
And being published by Sanheim was a pretty clever thing to do.

Full speed ahead!