A seasoned granddaddy spins stories and this is mine…. I was born in the year 1954. On the day of my birth my father, Frederic, met my mother, Bebe, at the naval hospital in Philadelphia where a surgeon and a nurse delivered me in the usual manner. And yes, I was promptly spanked, admired for my loud voice and sent home to grow up. One of thousands of similar births that day, one of millions born that year, one of the multitude living on this planet, yet one of a kind. Perhaps the first of a kind?
The last Schwinn cruisers made in the USA rolled off the lines in Chicago in 1954. Bernard Hinault, a French cyclist known as the “badger” was born this year and went on to be a five times Tour De France winner. The same year Joe DiMaggio married Marilyn Monroe probably by badgering her as she filed for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty 274 days later. General Motors produced its 50 millionth car. The United States Senate justly condemned Joseph McCarthy and Hollywood ruled the best picture was On the Waterfront with Brando taking home the Oscar. Shake, Rattle and Roll was hot on the airwaves and Mister Sandman made it to the top of the US charts. Archie Bleyer received credit on the platter “as knees player by”. The New York Giants swept the World Series from under the feet of the Cleveland Indians who were heavily favored. Willie Mays made the sensational running catch in the first game and characteristically lost his hat when making the throw. Rocky Marciano defeated Ezzard Charles-the only man to ever last 15 rounds of his pummeling. Rita Hayworth wooed us with her better known curves and Lustre-Creme Shampoo brought out her highlights. Few people know that her likeness was painted on the first A-bomb tested after WWII. BaBaBoom!
The average American income was $3960, a new car cost $1700, a new house was $10,250 and a gallon of gas was 22 cents. Whoa baby….just go back and reread the last sentence and let the numbers sink in. Bing Crosby crooned us to feel healthier and younger by drinking Minute Maid Fresh Frozen Orange Juice. Lost to obscurity Clarinetist Artie Shaw dubbed Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby “the first hip white person born in the United States”. I guess that makes me much further down the list than I originally though. Still…what a year! 1954.
68 Years later and it’s the year 2022, with a born again GrandDaddySpin. Not in a religious sense unless a mixture of irreverence, sarcasm and OK boomer wisdom constitutes some sort of tent revival. Everything has accelerated toward this interesting stretch of highway called the present moment. I retired from my work and GrandDaddySpin LLC., Rita, Rocky, Joe, Bing, Ezzard, Archie and Marilyn have all passed on along with countless others leaving us all with memories and nostalgic hot flashes. Collectively the world is living under the 5th wave of a seemingly endless ocean of pandemic illness and we cannot agree on a consensus of acceptable behavior to surf the future waves. Our social contracts appear to be written in invisible ink fading before our eyes. AR-15s have replaced Daisy BB and paintball guns as the training choice of right wing children. Precocious children are convinced they want a sex change by the age of five. Adults can’t figure out where to let children go to the bathroom. We have fistfights on modern jets. Personally I want to know what happened to the Mile High Club and leg room. We elected a grifting game show host with the apparent sophistication of a walrus President of the USA, impeached him twice for behavior that made Nixon look slimly innocent and he walked away grinning. He did warn us he could shoot someone in broad daylight and never be convicted. Some interesting people have labeled him a gift of God which is perhaps the only reason these people could be found interesting. We are now approaching the first shameful anniversary of the sacking of the Capital by conspirators whipped into a frenzy by dubious co-conspirators who continue to sell products and pillows hoping we will all rest easy at night with all of this. Ironically this disgraced unmasked ex-president reminiscent of Jim Jones continues to control a significant segment of the US population nostalgic for the USA described in the opening paragraphs of this blog. Holy hossenfeffer where’s the Lone Ranger, Silver, Tonto, Lassie, Maxwell Smart and Jesus when we really need them??
Might I suggest a re-boot of sorts. Not the sort recently suggested by a right wing troll from Georgia masquerading as an elected congress woman. I was hoping for something more enlightening such as the inner work demanded of a collective Russel Brand movement. Carpe Diem perhaps….but less violent…more like grasp the significance of this moment. Real interior work with less emphasis on selfish opportunism and consumption, less emphasis on ideology and coercion, less emphasis on correctness and politics. Let’s dissect and examine, create and compose, expose and depose and finally learn to appreciate the miraculous behind and in front of our eyes.
Each one of us is living art, painted into a vibrant landscape not of our own composition that is, until we realize this one thing…. taking a lesson from Willie Mays… hearing the call batter up and perceiving the crack of the bat, focusing on the ball, moving with all our might, perfecting the over the shoulder catch, responding confidently, making the play….characteristically knocking our hats off….then smiling to the public with the sincerity and love that this moment truly needs as we kneel humbly to pick up our wrinkled, sweat stained hats.
That’s how I suggest we play this game.
What do you think? Please feel free to let me know.
One thought on “Beginnings…”
I love it, John! And I look forward to finding out more about my youngest male cousin and his life.