The Melodies of love and Nostalgia
I woke up early this morning thinking about Jerry Blavat. May he rest in peace. Somehow, I don’t think he is resting but rather hosting rock and roll shows behind the pearly gates. Blavat was just starting his career when I was a teen. He wasn’t famous yet, but he was known. We knew him as “The Geator with the Heater". Those of you who read my stories know I like to reminisce because I know that type of nostalgia brings happiness to us once-upon-a-time teenagers. Blavat was the master of nostalgia, a Philadelphia Icon, and I am sure many Philadelphians will miss him.
Thinking of him made me hungry to listen to some old-time rock and roll. You know, the music our grandparents said would send us to hell. “Alexa. Play 1960s rock,” I asked my ever-present Echo machine.
The music began immediately, and after a minute or so, my mind was wandering back to a time when I was between the ages of 14 to 18 years old. (1958-1962). These are tough ages for a guy and, I guess, a girl as well. For a guy, there is an awaking that tries to take over your life and makes you do things you never thought you would. Things like dancing the Twist (Hey Chubby Checker) and the Mashed Potatoes, hanging out on Snake Road watching the submarine races and giving up a night of drinking with your buddies to go to a chick flick with someone you were sweet on.
I’m not sure if girls back then truly understood the power they had over teenage boys. I’ll let you Kensington ladies talk about that. When once I would go hang out at my dad’s poolroom, play stickball with the gang, and look for an old guy to buy me booze, I now found myself also making out in the back of a car when heading home from Wildwood, helping to babysit and sneaking into a closet during a party. Oh my, my life was changing.
At every stage of my life, music played an important part. I didn’t know it then, but one day when I was in my late 70s music would bring back some sweet memories of the passage from a boy to a man. When I was a preteen, it was songs like Rock Around the clock, Tweddle Dee, Mr. Sandman, and Unchained Melody. In my Early Teens, it was Tom Dooley, Good Golly Miss Molly, Purple People Eater, Yakety Yak, Book of Love, Great Balls of Fire, The Stroll, Peggy Sue, and Splish Splash.
In my middle teens, it was Tossin’ and Turning, Michael, Crying, Take Good Care of My Baby, Hit the Road Jack, Bristol Stomp, and Blue Moon. By my late teens, I was in the U.S. Air Force, living in California, and the songs were Surfin USA, He’s So Fine, My Boyfriends back, Wipe Out, Surf City, It’s My Party, and Do the Bird. From 1964-1966 I was living in Vietnam courtesy of the USAF. The songs were Wooly Bully, Satisfaction, Downtown, King of the Road, I Got you Babe, Unchained Melody, Like a Rolling Stone, California Girls, California Dreaming, Last Train to Clarksville, Bang Bang, If I Were a Carpenter, and Nowhere Man.
So, so many songs, most of which I did not list. For every stage of my life, there is music that will bring back the best memories of that time. They truly are the melodies of love. The love of family, the people who touched your life and the love of life itself.
What are your favorite songs from your old days, and what do you associate them with?
The photos I included are from Philadelphia. I didn’t put names, so I’ll let you guess. If I missed your favorite, post a pic and some words in the comments.