Monday, July 30, 2007

Hairspray and the 60's

So I went to see "Hairspray" with LC#1. I remember the original John Waters version. Of course the concept has since gone on to Broadway and now the musical is bigscreen. I love Motown and R & B and some of my earliest memories of music were what my Mom listened to on the radio and the hi-fi. The movie was fun and has the redeeming theme of people working together to bring integration to a dance show, and a touch of the coming of age in changing times.

After I left the theatre, I started thinking about the 60's. I was born in 1963 and was early school aged and living in the Midwest. My mother always had on a dress of some kind. The house was always picked up in time for my Dad to come home for dinner. When my parents socialized, the kids ran around like crazy while the adults smoked and drank. As kids we got to slurp the foam off of the beer. We would play all day in the development and you knew you needed to be home for supper and you should never be farther away than you could hear the whistle to come home. We did not have eight million channels on the TV. I remember borrowing the neighbor's station wagon to go get our first color TV for the Super Bowl. My Dad worked in retailing and we got a discount. We didn't have a lot but we had enough. I sang in the cherub choir at church with the white robe that had the really big sleeves that looked like wings if you stretched out your arms. Our church was not built yet in 1963 so I was baptized in the school gymnasium where the congregation was meeting. We had a lot of pancake suppers to pay for the construction. When we went into the big city to shop, I wore a dress and gloves and I had a patent leather purse on a chain for my offering to take to church. We watched all of the space launches. I still have the glass they gave out at the Texaco gas station for Apollo 13. On Sunday after church and dinner, we would take a drive and end up somewhere with ice cream.

But... my Dad bought a rifle because he heard there were race riots in Indianapolis and he was worried. When we took vacation to the Outer Banks, in 1970, we drove across the state of North Carolina. We drove through lots of small towns and I remember asking my parents why the black people got off the sidewalk when the white people were walking by. And my Southern relation would talk about how someone was a Negro, but they were clean, good looking or smart "for a Negro." And good upstanding men in my grandfather's church were in the Klan.

And I did not see or know a single person of color in my wonderful world. Even in college in Pennsylvania, old evils survive. My sorority was the target of a whole lot of ignorant behavior for allowing an African American woman to be a part of my pledge class. If only it was as easy and had the great soundtrack of "Hairspray."

2 comments:

David said...

Life in Indianapois back then was pretty much the same as it was where I grew up.

I remember the riots of 1967 in Detroit. I was 7 years old and really couldn't understand how the "war" on TV was as close as Detroit. It looked like another world on TV.

Diane said...

I don't think we had people of color where I lived in the 60s...it was pretty homogenous... but I remember reading about the race riots and being afraid... of course Vietnam was all a part of that too... protests (even at my jr. high)...
brings back memories