See Ya, Dick

I grew up in Socialist South Texas.    My mother adopted a phrase Arbeit macht frei   (Work Makes ((One)) Free) from the novel of the same name penned by German philologist, Lorenz Deifenbach.

And then the damn Nazis started putting the phrase on the entrance to every concentration camp.

 
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Frau Kendrick was hardly a Nazi, but she had this strange obsession with toiling in the domestic fields.
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You know, as in keeping a house clean.   My mother believed that you will be judged by all the Aunt Bea’s in my hometown by how clean you keep your home.    This was a very big deal to my mother.   So much so, that I wasn’t allowed to go to certain friends’ houses because their mothers weren’t ‘clean’.   That always bothered me–even as a kid, which could explain why I’m an abject slob as an adult.
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My mother had and still has an obsession with cleanliness.   We had a housekeeper, but that didn’t change her mindset that work in fact, made one free and we learned that early on.  We had to perform daily chores and regular Saturday morning rituals with Lemon Pledge, SaniWax, Pine Sol in order to earn the privilege to have any semblance of a  weekend social life.
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Indentured servitude sated with gas money.
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Saturday mornings, especially after Football Friday Nights, could be grueling.  She’d wake up my sisters and me early and the next few hours would be spent dusting furniture, mopping and sweeping floors,  changing bed linens, cleaning baseboards, folding clothes, polishing silver and brass.   We knew if we worked diligently, we could be finished with all that manual nonsense by late morning, just in time to watch Kenny, 16 from Oceanside, CA and Beverly 15 from Burbank listen to a few seconds of the new record found on the back of  a Sugar Crisp cereal box, then give the song, “You Are The One” a total score of 86— you know, for the beat.
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American Bandstand in the 60’s and very early 70’s was appointment viewing.  My two older sisters and I would watch American Bandstand to see what the kids on the West Coast were wearing, what their hairstyles were like and which hunky, handsome  Moondoggie Daddy we could catch a glimpse of and give him the same  “Mystery Date” game commercial reaction that thebrunette chick in dire need of orthadontia,  gives the  handsome Mr. Dream Date guy in the white tux, holding a coursage by placing a hand on the side of our starry-eyed faces and in a breathy resolute sigh, utter the mono-syllabic:
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 …aaaaaahhhhhhhhh…
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By the time I reached High School in1973,  Dick Clark no longer played an integral role in my life.    I stopped watching “Bandstand”.   Never got into any of his TV blooper shows or any of the  TV game shows he hosted.   I never saw him bring in a New Year,  rockin’ or otherwise.
 
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But I have to admit over the years I could never look at the man without it triggering a memory of this particular shelf in my house.
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Be that as it may, I pay my respects to  the passing of America’s oldest teenager.  I toast the successful life of this broadcasting icon;  I pay homage to this never aging living, breathing portrait of Dorian Gray.
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Rest well, Mr. Clark.    After 82 years on this Big Blue Marble  spent introducing us to mega rock groups and one hit wonders,  you’ve earned that right.

One comment

  1. My Saturday mornings were just as instilled in me as yours were in you, except mine revolved around the family farm. It wasn’t unusual to be up at sunrise even after an away game the Badgers had played on Friday night. We would be hustled through breakfast and straight into the fields or the pasture to bring the cattle in for vaccinations, castration of young bulls or simply sorting them out for sale. Our house was never that clean, but we had a successful cattle operation and I thank God Mom and Dad taught us to work! P. S. My house is not spic and span yet!!! It may never be!!!!

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