My Personal Evolution of Growing Old
The fast-food joints were at first amazing to me
I'm 60 now
I can remember my very-first hamburger. What a taste of manna from Heaven. My sainted mother had learned how to cook this delicacy from one of her sisters who was "the radical one," to mother. And to mother, "radical," did not mean burning American flags, Draft cards, and vandalizing. It simply meant her sister was experiencing what happens to all living things: Change.
My story today is: "My Personal Evolution of Old," and for sake of time, space, I am only going to deal with four areas of my life where I started my evolution from youth to old age: FOOD, MUSIC, CARS, AND FASHON.
These should be enough.
COL. HARLAN SANDERS (right) didn't want to retire at age 61, so he began formulating a "secret recipe of seven herbs and spices," that made Kentucky Fried Chicken famous. When one of his franchise restaurants opened in my hometown, Hamilton, Al., I asked how can a person just walk inside a restaurant and get fried chicken? I soon learned how Sanders did it, and KFC and I still have a rich relationship. Sanders' success is not why I like him or his restaurants, but his determination and "never-say-die" attitude in making a dream come true.
Sanders, before he succeeded in getting his recipe right, failed over 200 times which relates to me when I try to accomplish something new and get so frustrated that I just give-up.
What if Col. Sanders had quit? This is a horrific thought.
Two symbols of my youth
VOX AMPLIFIERS still remains as a loving-symbol of my youth, and the years that I first started appreciating another form of music besides Country. Back in these days, "we" were the "radical" ones. But I never burned my flag or Draft card. I got into rock and roll quickly. Bands like Paul Revere and The Raiders, The Who, and many more--but the common thread that sealed these terrific bands were VOX amplifiers, "amps" to the musicians. If you owned a VOX amp, you were among the kings and queens of a new way to form music from a songwriter's pen. You were it. And you were "in."
SURFERS touched the "adventure" in my soul. And now at 60, I am despondent because I never got to try this new way of youthful-expression. Surfing also gave birth to "Pet Sounds," and the band:
The Beach Boys: The music of my youth
CAN YOU NAME one rock band who became an instant-contender to dethrone The Beatles in 1964 as "the new wave of rock and rock/" No, because The Beach Boys covered that area. With hit after hit, sold-out concerts in and out of the United States, The Beach Boys set their own tone to a style of music that spoke peace, peaceful moods, easy existing and sweet, pure love among teenagers, and some grown-up's who got caught-up in the "wave" (yes, a pun) of The Beach Boys music. I remember my adulterous-appreciation of the band with songs like "I Get Around," "Darlin," "Surfin' U.S.A.," to name a few.
Sure, and to give recognition, there were Jan and Dean, and hundreds of "nearly made-it" beach bands, but none came close to The Beach Boys. And one thing still remains, The Beach Boys still use VOX amps.
Beach rock evolves to Hard Rock, Rap
JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE (Jimi, front, Mitch Mitchell, back left, Noel Redding, back right), were not rock musicians. They were inventors. They took Blues and Rock and formed the result of that union into the rage of the music industry. Hendrix didn't play guitar, he became the guitar. The band was not in competition with The Beatles, The Stones, or The Beach Boys--Jimi Hendrix built his own empire and kept rule over it until his death in Sept., 1970. I always dreamed of playing the electric guitar just like Jimi. In my storage room today, I have all but a few of his LP's. And if my Sony turntable were working, I would be enjoying "Electric Ladyland," his last album, a two-record LP set to be released.
KOOL MOE DEE (center, in photo) was once a part of The Treacherous Three, a hard-rapping trio from Harlem, N.Y., Dee gets bored, or maybe tried of rapping in the shadows of other known-rappers as Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, his forefathers of this scary music. Sure, forms of rap were violent, nasty, and crude. But so is life, Kool Moe Dee once said in one of a million interviews. Then as most successful groups do, a split came and Kool Moe Dee went solo and the rest is rap history. I liked KMD. Honest. I still like 'How Ya' Like Me Now?" and "The Wild Wild West," Kool Moe Dee's signature songs. And he did it without VOX amps.
Cars: a special area of my youth
WHAT TEENAGE BOY born anywhere in the world has not fell madly in-love with first, a hopped-up car that speaks "Rebellious," and then hot chicks to ride with him? I dare say that (except for a small percentage) there aren't any teenage boys who do not love cars. And not necessarily new cars, but any car that will run. He can always con his buddies into giving up a lot of Saturday sports to help him work on the rusty motor and ragged insides.
Oh, how I would have loved to owned "this" car to the right. A Mercury wagon, actually a Mercury Surfer Wagon. I figured that while I featured The Beach Boys, why not feature a car that went hand-in-hand with their "beach rock."
Two older friends of mine in my youth, James Childers and Alan Coons, (real names), were seniors while I was a junior in Hamilton High School (real name). Alan's dad, Alton, gave him a "cherry" 1957 Chevy Belair hardtop, two-door with a 327 cubic inch mill that tore the highway all to pieces. Wherever you saw James and Alan, you saw this beauty of a car. At one time or the other, all of our respective friends took road trips in Alan's car. Can you blame us?
Later on, James' older brother, H.C. Childers, (real name), sold him a '69 Chevelle, four-speed, two door, with a 327 Corvette engine and after James, who was gainfully-employed, did his magic in making his car stand-out. This is what guys do. Girls do not care if their cars look better than another girl's car, but as long as "she" looks better. That's how it works. My friends and I also went on road trips in with James and his "monster" car.
I see Alan and James from time to time now that I am settled man of 60. Both guys almost tear-up when I mention the cars they owned back in our day.
I guess that you are wondering what I drove. I drove our family car: a 1964 Chevy, four-door, automatic, with a Turbo-Hydramatic tranny (transmission in car talk) with Thrush mufflers. My dad didn't like these Thrush mufflers. He said this made his car look like a "hippie wagon."
Mini-skirts: The "heart" of my youth
I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST and do you blame me, guys? Ladies, I searched through many photos of pretty girls in mini-skirts, but chose this girl because she is using discretion in her photo. I will never forget the day when I first viewed Twiggy, the famous London model and film star wearing a mini-skirt. Most people in America thought that the Anti-Christ had risen. And mini-skirt-wearing blonds were his workers.
Let's get out the protest signs and mark on New York City, the fashion capital of the world, to tell them how disgusting this new fashion-trend really is.
I can still hear the arguments against girls wearing this "garment of rebellion," and how it made her look slutty. And granted, some mini-skirts were, even to my generation then, too short and too revealing. Guys, even then, like some women's fashion that forces us to use our imagination.
A few girls, those with pretty legs in my class, (sorry ladies. I just have to tell it like it was), did wear their mini-skirts to class, but had to have the length of them approved by the teachers and principal. The rule was: If the girl sits down and cannot keep her panties hidden, she will not be allowed to wear a mini-skirt to school. Did us guys protest at this rule? No. We all needed to graduate.
But I sadly said good-bye to the wonderful mini-skirt years ago when it went through an evolution of its own. Remember the "Granny Dresses," and "Maxi Dress?" Those too have all but vanished.
But a few die-hard girls of 2014 are beginning their own "Mini-Skirt Resurrection," of their own. I was watching Late Night with David Letterman one night last week and, Jennifer Lawrence, star of "The Hunger Games," was dressed in a skirt that could easily be called a "mini," and she was applauded for over three-minutes.
I didn't applaud or whistle. I needed to be allowed to live in my own house with Pam, my discerning wife.
Seriously. These are just four areas of my faded-youth. My wild, explorative, seeking and living life uninhibited youth. I would have presented a touching-piece of poetry here, but why cry over something you cannot change.
The certain-evolution we all are making from a simple youth to wise old ages.
The only photo I am running that is in my old age
THE DIGITAL TABLET and it has taken America, and the world, by storm. Or should I say, "touch?" You can touch things on its screen and move them, delete them, or save them. Some have iPads, and tablets by other companies, by they are all just a multi-gig computer in tablet-form.
No, they are not a "sign of the anti-Christ." They are just another fad that with time will evolve into another "new and incredible" thing or gadget that will take our breath.
Then a representative, a 60-year-old guy or girl, from their generation will be writing a story like this.