PHOTO: I’m the bald one looking at the boy. Guess I started early!
It’s Sunday morning around 6:30 am. WTF am I doing up so early! If there is a God,only he/she/it knows. But, I had a dream that I was in Pleasantville, dressed in pouffee skirt, high heels, bullet bra and cooking pancakes for breakfast before I mopped the floors, did laundry and ironing, all of course in high heels. BAM! that woke me up. Panting, clutching my chest—Thank GOD that was a dream. Or was it. Do I live in some parallel universe where a doppleganger is still hanging out in the 1950’s?
I remember the 50’s. I remember them fondly, but of course I was a child then and it was my mother who was the “happy homemaker.” Well, granted, she wasn’t the stereotypical 50’s mom. She looked the part with petticoated shirtwaist dresses, high heels, garter belt and pointy boobs, and she was anything but Mrs. Father Knows best.
My mom taught me to read Tarot when I was 8. We used to play with the Ouija board when I was 6, And, I was a poker whiz by the age of 10. We didn’t go to Church. Well, I did when I could, but that’s an earlier blog. She also had jobs (cue scary music)!! Waitresses mostly, sometimes cocktail waitress. She had one job in a transvestite bar in downtown L.A. That was one of her favorite jobs. She also worked for a while as a taxi dancer. But mostly just as a waitress in what was called then “dinner houses” as opposed to family restaurants. Mom was never fond of children. She preferred cats and ghosts.
Still, this 50’s mom did all the housework, cooking, shopping, childcare, and more with a smile and a song. Dad went to work and brought home the bacon, and of course beer and whisky too.
I guess that dream really pulled out some old memories for me and I realized how times have really changed—drastically! They say (who the hell are they anyway?) that if you put a frog in cool water and slowly turn up the temperature, it won’t feel any pain as it cooks to death. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but you get it. Things for women have changed, but I don’t notice it all the time and go on bitching and griping about having to, damn, put the dishes in the dishwasher when I can’t bribe anyone else to do it.
I remember when it was the LAW that purses and shoes had to match. I remember garter belts and girdles. If you’re under 50, look them up in a dictionary or ask your mother or grandmother. I remember using nearly a whole can of hairspray a day. And, I remember bullet bras. So pointy and stiff, they could be used as a weapon. Madonna understands. I remember my mother saying, “Wait ‘til your father gets home!”
Dinner was always on the table for dad. Sometimes I cooked it because mom was working. Dad’s taste buds were as pickled as his brain so he liked his food simple with a lot of hot chili’s. Fried steak and potatoes were his standard fare. I remember once, when I was a teenager in 1962 (that’s still the 50’s in society), I accidentally fried his steak in Karo syrup instead of oil. I noticed it too late so I just piled on the chili’s and plated it, then ran out of the house mumbling something about meeting a friend. He never mentioned it. Probably didn’t even notice.
In the 50’s high school kids had a class called Home Economics, sort of boot camp training for housewife hopefuls. An excerpt from one of the textbooks will have modern woman hyper-ventilating. One “must do” says that when hubby comes home from a hard day at work, “Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lay down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind. Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.”
Sounds great! I want a 50’s wife. Alas, things have changed. Mostly for the better, but maybe not everything. Now a lot of women who burned their bras in the 60’s and demanded equal rights in the workplace forgot to also demand equal rights at home. I have female clients who are professionals— doctors, executives, brokers, even a hockey player who still do all of the housework, childcare, cooking, and shopping. That’s just not right, even in my doppleganger’s universe.
I am so glad to have been raised in a schizophrenic home where part of my life was typical and part was in the universe of weird. Also, being born in 1948, my life bridged the Pleasantville era with the “Woodstock” awakening, the Vietnam War protests, the sexual revolution, and flower power, who’s motto was get high and drop out.
Now too many of the hippies who were so sure that the world was going to end and that Peace and Love were the only ways to save it are now in Congress or retired mortgage bankers. So much for the mighty love revolution.
What’s your story? One foot in the 50’s? All 21st Century? Married with children? Love your life? Hate your life but don’t know how to break out and become the potato artist you know is locked inside? Ex-hippie like me who still wears peasant blouses and bell bottom pants? Oh wait, those are back in style aren’t they? Still toke up when the kids aren’t watching? What’s on your iPod (or equivalent)? Any oldy but moldy tracks from Joplin, Hendrix? Or Chubby Checker, Pat Boone, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra?
Are the 50’s and 60’s still alive somewhere, even if you are only 23 years old? Remember also that the 60’s really happened in the 70’s and if you remember them all, you weren’t there.
Life’s a gas if you don’t go ape. Groovy. Got to boogie now. OMG! I’m glad it’s 2009. Or am I?