Go outdoors and play says my father around eight on Saturday mornings as he heads to work in the middle of the ’50s, when the brainchild of Philo Farnsworth and company was yet creeping, it delighted me to gallup into adventureland,
My stint at the Idiot Box enough for an episode or two of Hopalong Cassidy, following ten, fifteen minutes of test pattern mesmerization, accompanied by In The Hall of the Mountain King, the original earworm, which teased me and tickled me and finally made
Me feel on par with the happy people fifty years on when I attended history’s most improbable mashup: Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, together with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, who play both the European Classical
Version of Edvard Greig’s Peer Gynt Suite and its adaptation for jazz band by Duke Ellington, alternating movements back and forth the score of players led by Marsalis seated in the midst of the four score musicians under Ozawa’s invisible baton
At Tanglewood, on Mahican land in Massachusetts, two hundred miles from my boyhood home sited five blocks from the mouth of the river that was Main Street to the Iroquois who kept their council fire twenty five miles upstream of Lake Ontario.
Ten years earlier, according to a reporter for the New York Sun, (1833-1950) my father was chased out of his comfort zone by Nazis in an airplane bearing down on “the first Allied airman, on the first Allied airstrip, east of the Rhine river.”* A few weeks later, Hitler was dead, then WWII ended, then the Baby Boom began.
The imagination is engaged, again and again, as I picture that scene – the reporter wrote that the Nazi plane chased my father “right down to the ground” and almost crashed into hedgerows. My dad’s own account remained untold to me; he died in the crash of a small airplane around noon on the second Saturday of January, 1963.
OK Gens X, Y, and Z, my pre- and post-millennial neo-confounded darlings, whether on screen or off, pray tell – what does your Saturday look like?
by Dave Conlin Read
*March 13, 1945 New York Sun.
(From the outset of this poem, which was triggered by a New Zealand politician’s coining a neo-slur that broadcast her disdain to my entire generation, I knew only that it would contain enough proper nouns to amount to a collage that represents my passage through the years.
I had no inkling that it would resolve in such personal terms. My father’s story is an extraordinary one, one of many thousands more, told and untold. Ordinary citizens do not start wars, but they are required to lay aside their ordinary roles and stop the slaughter that a specific number of ordinary slobs and cowards allow from their sinecures in Parliament and Congress.
Somehow, things find a balance, and the fear and loneliness a boy feels after the sudden death of his father is mitigated later in the decade when other baby boomers have to deal with Vietnam twice, first the truth of it and then his father’s version thereof.)