BECOMING MY MOM
It was 1956; Elvis was going to be on the Ed Sullivan Show. My brothers and I had seen Elvis on “The Steve Allen Show” weeks before. He had several top records playing all over the radio. The “Ed Sullivan Show” was big time. Everyone watched Ed on Sunday night. Elvis appearing on the “Ed Sullivan Show” was excitedly anticipated by everyone; everyone except my mom.
Mom had never heard of Elvis. On the night Elvis was to appear on Ed’s show she was baffled by the palpable electricity in the air at the Ed Sullivan Studio. Finally Ed made the big introduction, “Ladies and gentlemen, right here on this stage (what other stage Ed?) We have a young man who is generating a lot of excitement with his unique singing; ladies and gentlemen…..ELVIS PRESLEY!!!
Elvis appeared, the teenage girls, who somehow took over the entire audience, squealed and the show began. Elvis strummed the guitar and gyrated as only Elvis could as he belted out “Hound dog.”
“Oh honestly, that’s awful” my mom exclaimed with utter disdain, “Who is that?”
“Mom, it’s Elvis, everyone has heard of Elvis, he is the hottest thing around!”
“Well I think he is just dreadful.”
Dreadful might have been the worst thing mom cold say about anyone or anything.
“And the way he is wiggling up there, Shame on Him!”
Mom saved the shame-on thing for only the most dreadful people.
With that, mom turned off the TV! She turned off ELVIS!! Dad didn’t flinch. “That is just awful,” he chimed in. My brothers and I said nothing. This latest sensation for whom we had waited all week to watch on the “Ed Sullivan Show” was apparently just dreadful. How could we argue to watch when mom had just declared “Shame” on him?
The next time Elvis appeared on Ed’s show mom relented. We could watch, but she would not enjoy the act. Ed made sure the TV only showed Elvis from the waist up, this might have tempered mom’s disgust, but she could never get over the squealing teens.
“Honestly…that’s just awful!”
Several years after Elvis, and after several other “Latest Sensations” like Fabian and Rickey Nelson, mom seemed somewhat numb to the teen idols and the teen squealing.
Then came Ed’s introduction, “Ladies and gentlemen…THE BEETLES!!”
Let the teen squealing begin, let the mom commentary follow.
“Honestly, who are these people? Are they girls? Their hair is awful!”
“Mom, they are The Beetles! They are only the hottest thing since Elvis. They have four songs in the top ten!”
“Well I think they are dreadful!”
Mom was so out of touch with pop culture it was embarrassing. I had no idea how she could be so out of it.
Play the tape of months and then years ripping off the calendar to 2012.
Mrs. Cranky forced me to watch “The Grammies.” Singer after singer came out and performed and my response to each was the same:
“Honestly, that is just dreadful! Who are they?….Who is that?….Is that supposed to be singing?....Who is Minnie Montage?....Why is she doing that exorcist stuff?....That is just dreadful….SHAME ON HER!!!
OH CRAP!! I am turning into my mother!