Friday, June 01, 2012

Summer Morning in the 60s

     I'm lost.

     When I allow myself, I can fall completely into a nostalgia world. It's the 1960s and my mind is happily consumed with remembrances. It feels slower. Lazy in a good way. People didn't value hurriedness then as they do now. Summer was a luxury we looked forward to in the new green month of May and grew bored with in the August humidity. Our first week out of school held the promise of Pop-Tarts in front of early morning kid shows. 

     Weekdays invited us into the clubhouse of the Captain as he jingled his keys on that big metal ring. He'd hang them up and greet us warmly as Mr. Green Jeans sauntered in to join him. Dancing Bear never spoke, Bunny Rabbit was silent but mischievous, and Mr. Moose created ping-pong ball rain. Captain Kangaroo didn't holler, act wildly or use flashy graphics. He may have been corny, but we looked forward to him every morning.

     On Saturday, my younger brother and I would be the first ones out from under our cowboy blankets and in front of the color console television. Sometimes, the test screen would still be on with a mysterious Indian head. 

      Then came the shows we'd waited for. Tarzan swung through the jungle saving Jane, Boy and Cheeta from elephant stampedes and crocodile jaws. When the mean hunters in domed safari hats threatened to catch Tarzan in nets, he would let loose with a cry to the wild animals who would run to save him. In my mind,  Johnny Weissmuller is forever the wild man of the jungle. Later, we'd stand on the swing set outside and practice our Tarzan yells. My brother was convinced our collie responded, but I think it was more to get into the shade.
     We barely had time to stir our Nestle's Quick into our milk before hearing, 
"Kelloggs, 'The Greatest Name In Cereals', presents: The Adventures of Superman. Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! ("Look! Up in the sky!" "It's a bird!" "It's a plane!" "It's Superman!")... Yes, it's Superman ... strange visitor from another planet, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Superman ... who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way! And now, another exciting episode, in The Adventures of Superman!"

     That was the cue for my brother, blanket tied around his neck, to jump off the sofa landing with a belly whop onto the stuffed ottoman. 
     After making sure the world was safe for another week, we whistled along to the next introduction waiting for the smartest dog on television to lead his boy to a heart-warming adventure.

     By then, the percolator was done and Mom sat on the sofa in her gingham robe sipping Maxwell House. Dad had already downed his cup while reading the paper. He was outside, trimming with metal hand clippers before joining the other dad's in a lawn mower symphony. 

     It was now officially Saturday morning and we hurried to dress in play clothes. We didn't want to miss the kick-ball game or Cops and Robbers on bikes. It was summer after all, and we couldn't waste a minute. September would arrive in a blink. But, until then, we'd fill our days with heroes, shady lemonade stands and daydreams.