I consider myself an “early boomer” having been born a few years prior to the defining year of 1946—the beginning of the baby boomer years.
Oh, yes, I remember the drive-in movies where the experience was more about how many people you could pack into the car and still be admitted in. We all went as a family and with as many friends as we could round up. Most friends wanted to go with us because of my mother’s picnic basket, chocked full of drinks and home made goodies; however, the best thing in the basket was her “grinders” made with all different meats, cheeses, olives, fresh tomatoes and lettuce tossed with her oil and vinegar mixture. I have never had a better grinder, hoagie, submarine, or whatever you want to call it, in my life.
As a family we had cookouts on a grill barely large enough for my mother’s “percolator”, played croquet and ball on the front lawn, and a game introduced to us by our Dad called “Harley Over”. He always led the pack. The night would be topped off with a very competitive game of Canasta, and I mean competitive. You would have thought the winner was to receive a cash prize.
I had a wonderful family life!! There was, however, a time during the years of 1954 through 1956 that stand out in my mind as clearly as yesterday that were exclusive of family.
For 1954 was the first time my girlfriends and I heard of The “King”—yes—the one and only Elvis Presley. I couldn’t wait until Friday night when I would go to my girlfriend, Jeannie’s, home. Her parents went out on Fridays, and Jeannie, Joan (her sister) and I would meet at her house. We had a couple hours by ourselves. I lived about half a mile from Jeannie, and I would run the whole way there. (Those were the days when you walked, ran or rode your bike to your friends’ homes.)
We spent the time giggling, calling friends, and talking about boys, of course, but best of all was getting to play the King’s newest records. Jeannie bought all of them as they came out. She had an old, portable record player, the kind where you could insert the round adapter in the middle to accommodate the small 45-rpm records. You know what I mean; don’t pretend not to remember. From the first time I heard him sing, I was in love! I couldn’t get enough Elvis. When he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, I watched him awestruck! You may remember that because of the censorship rules, he was not shown on camera below the waist. That was because of his “gyrating pelvis” according to the media. I didn’t care; I thought he was “it”! I walked around in a daze picturing myself as the perfect wife for Elvis. The media had him all wrong. All he needed was the right wife, and, of course, I was the one for him. Much to my chagrin, I proclaimed this to anyone who would listen.
In later years, my mother certainly reminded me of this statement, snickering, when I told her I had a date with a new boyfriend. She would say, “what about Elvis”?
Well, I don’t care. I, to this date, think, he was by far the best singer and entertainer ever!!!