Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ring-A-Ding-Ding, Baby

For some reason of late, I have been feeling extra super dee-dooper nostalgic.

You may recall from earlier blogs that the Baroness had a childhood richly steeped in liberal doses of pop culture and -gasp- television. Forget those formative lessons to be culled from religion, social action or philanthropy - these were not my parents' scene, man. Papa was far too exhausted after a day of work to do much else other than eat and recline. Maman (dear, sainted Maman) was far too exhausted after a day of buffing up the home life of Papa to do much else other than prepare said meal and collapse in a heap after dishes were washed, put away, sinks were polished, floor washed, garbage taken out, yadda yadda yadda. You get the point. I'm even tired writing this, and will have to retire to the royal bedchamber for a restorative lie-down. How she managed for 40 plus years is a testament to her fortitude. And infinite patience.

Although most "rules" were rather fluid at the home office, one thing was certain - my bedtime was 8:00 pm. No ifs, no ands, and definitely no buts. (While this started to seem somewhat ridiculous in high school, I did not protest in my early years). One of the fascinating features of our rancher-fabulous slice of suburbia was that the layout of the house was such that my bedroom was right at the end of the hall. Its location had the exact opposite accoustics of, say, the Hollywood Bowl. All sound - especially that of the television in the living room - filtered gloriously through into my room. So, even though I was exiled at 8:00 pm, I could still hear everything. Many a night, I would drift off to sleep to the laugh track of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, or the duh.Duh.Duh.Duh-dahhh of Mission Impossible. One night, I was especially entranced by "The Dean Martin Show", as he said during his intro that he would have on his show that night a fellow member of "The Rat Pack", Frank Sinatra. What the deuce? A man who was part of a pack of rats? Yowza. I couldn't wait to see/hear what possible talent this Mr. Sinatra could have. Biting through cardboard? Spreading bubonic plague to the live studio audience? I waited, and I waited until finally all the chit-chat was over and it was go time. What did Rat Pack Man do? He sang. Crap. For this I waited? But after my silent conniption fit, I actually listened to what he sang, and all was forgiven that he didn't display any rodent-like talents. His performance must have left a huge impression, because I tucked up this catchy little ditty in my wee 7 year old brain, and snuck it with me into school the following day.

When lovely, calm, cat's-eye-bespectacled young Mrs. Young called on me for Show and Tell, I belted out a riveting performace of "Strangers in the Night" - complete with most of the "doobie doobie doos". In retrospect, I'm not sure how Mrs. Young kept a straight face, but I distinctly remember that she cut me off before the big finish. Huh. I guess I hadn't been informed about the strict guidelines of Show and Tell, nor was I aware that we lived in a Communist world where music, and the appreciation thereof, were verboten. Because let me tell you, right here and right now, I was kickin' it, and my fellow Grade 1'ers were digging me. And I was digging them digging me. And. She. Cut. Me. Off.

From that point on, my once-beloved Mrs. Young was dead to me. Well, at least until the end of the day. OK, recess. She kept me in, and told me that while she appreciated Frank Sinatra as much as the next person, it just wasn't really appropriate elementary school material. I sighed, nodded as if to agree, and secretly felt great pity for her and the rest of my plebeian class, but let it go.

We exchanged glances. What were the chances? It turned out so right. Dooby, Dooby, Doo.


Lisa said...

The visual on your Frank Sinatra belt-out is fantastic! That song will probably be stuck in my head for the rest of the night ... too bad it couldn't have gotten there earlier. I've been singing Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" song all day at work -- I think some people are plotting to have me committed! ... Babs Peapod

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess Babs: Committed to where? Say, rehab? Say it ain't so, so, so.
Dooby Dooby Doo. :)

i am playing outside said...

what a fantastic tale. it had music, it had the past, it had childhood, it had minor tragedy. it had it all.

Anonymous said...

This would be HILARIOUS to see.
I'm proud to say that us young ones get our performing skills from SOMEONE.
It's certainly not my mom, or dad.
I assume then that it's you. ALLLL YOUUU.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I'll bet that has been one of Mrs. Young's favorite stories to tell over the years. Your description of the whole thing was wonderful. Have you ever run into Mrs. Young now that you are an adult?

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Count IAPO: Intrigue. Mystery. Excitement. Denoument. All without cowboys. What are the chances?

Countess Leah: No, no, no. Hardly ALLLL me. I bet your mom has some showtunes tucked away in her closet. Three words - Jesus. Christ. Superstar.

Countess NATUI: I believe that with some thorazine and a few amps of voltage, Mrs. Young has forgotten the Baroness-induced chaos. Since we were quite nomadic in my early years, I never did see her again - but I did do a family pilgrammage to take my young 'uns to play in the same playground I spent many a musical moment in. (when I wasn't freezing my tongue to the monkeybars...)

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