Originally Posted: 2006-03-24 2:41pm
Drinks with Dino
"I’m moving to Canada." Since the 2004 Presidential election, this phrase rings out in most political discussions. In fact, Canada does welcome Americans. They’ll welcome you with open arms if have a post-graduate degree, own your own business, or already have a job lined up with one of the big accounting firms in Toronto, eh?
These next four years of military spending, education reforms that emphasize standardized test scores over actual learning, and the invasions of a pair of countries I can barely find on a map overwhelm me. I, however, won’t contemplate moving to the Great White North. It’s too damn cold there, and their money has ducks on it.
I have a better plan. I’m moving to another era.
Look in a box of old postcards. This is easy for me, since I live in Palm Springs, where the detritus of yesteryear is catalogued and sold. Retro is very popular where Sinatra’s hangouts are treated like the Stations of the Cross. No question about it, back in the 50’s and early 60’s, this place was the bomb! Swimmin’ pools. Movie stars. Dean Martin knocks a golf ball through your window: he comes over to apologize, and ends up staying for dinner. What a time we had that night! I’ll never forget his story about playing blackjack in the steam room of the Sands Hotel. Oh, did we laugh.
Let’s look at some other towns. How about New York City in the 1930’s? Sure, there was rampant unemployment, but who wouldn’t want to be there for the construction of the Chrysler Building? Especially if you knew a brand-new Gershwin musical was opening next week? Take me there!
Let’s try Los Angeles during the Second World War. All the women all have great jobs building battleships. The music coming over the radio is so good, and it helps you forget that Johnny is off fighting in the Philippines. And the news is heartening! With the help of our staunch Russian allies, Hitler is on the run.
Honolulu in the 70’s. Miami in the 80’s. San Diego in the 60’s. San Francisco in either 90’s – the 1890’s has loose women hanging out in saloons with feathers in their hair. The 1990’s were much the same, only with men.
I’ve decided to move to Palm Springs in the late 50’s. I’m going to go to the library to print out four years of newspapers off the microfilm spools. (Sure, it’s going to be expensive, but it’s nothing compared to the price of a condo in Vancouver.) I’m thinking of starting in 1957 and going to 1961. Each morning, I will smoke my pipe and read one full day’s paper, sitting out on the verandah in my slippers. Oh yeah, I gotta go buy a pipe. And slippers. And a verandah. When I get home, I’ll play nothing but Ella Fitzgerald and Elvis records, and cook dishes like tuna croquettes and beef roasts. Big beef roasts. I have a recipe for – get this – cherry Jello made with Coca-Cola and pieces of Twinkies floating in it.
I will reprogram my TV to just two channels, Turner Classic Movies and American Movie Classics. The radio will be locked on our local station KWXY, which I used to refer to as "the old people’s station" but now I’ll welcome for its nonstop Nelson Riddle with the occasional adventurous foray into Jo Stafford.
Sure, the plan isn’t perfect. I can’t quit my job as a criminal lawyer, so I will still deal with my drunk drivers, methamphetamine addicts, men who beat their spouses, and meth-addicted drunk-driving wife-beaters. A real 1950’s man could only dream of a car like mine, my color television the size of an oven, or that amazing telephone I carry in my shirt pocket. Mr. Nineteen Fifty-Seven would have a heart attack if I took him to Costco. But it evens out – I covet his satisfaction about America’s place in the world and his belief that the future holds nothing but good. He knows we beat the Jerries outta Europe and the Japs from the Pacific. Everyone has a job, and we’re getting television-phones any day now – I know because they showed it at the 1956 World’s Fair! Now if I could just stop referring to people as "Jerries" and "Japs" – that can’t be nice. I also can’t wait for my car that converts into a boat. Saw that one in Popular Mechanics.
So join me, will you? Imagine if all our neighbors moved to the 50’s together. We could probably get a group discount on our cable service – remember? Just two channels. And we could hire a neighborhood kid to ride a shiny red bike every morning, delivering the antique newspaper with a satisfying thump against the front door.
Jimmy. The kid’s name has to be Jimmy.
- this is in or around Fabulous Palm Springs
- no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
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