Sunday, April 12, 2015
THANK GOD NO ONE HAD A CLUE...1961
I am the prototype baby boomer. Right down to the date I was born. 9/7/48. Just a couple of years late of being the baby boomer poster boy. But I was close. Mighty close. I was also a happy accident, and a blessing I think? I came ten years after my brother and sister. Think mom and dad had a fun New Year’s Eve in 1947? Let’s move forward in time to 1961, when I was 13 years old. What a time. America was on a roll and everyone had 2 cars in the garage and a chicken in every pot. There was plenty of factory/manufacturing work for all the men returning from overseas after winning the big
one, WWII. America was in heaven. Cookie cutter suburbs popped up like crocuses in the spring. It was big time boom time for the USA. The creation of the true middle class began after this war and they never had it better. Not like now. Not even close! Even the policemen were friendly, or so it seemed. I would have a very, very different attitude on police a few years down the line though, right? We had moved from Detroit City proper in ’52 when I was 4 years young. My little slice of heaven was to be in the tiny downriver suburb of Lincoln Park, Michigan, bordering the south of Detroit. I was to live here till I was 18. It was a deliciously innocent time. If ever I was a normal person these were the days. I played baseball in the Babe Ruth league, became an all-star 2 years in a row. We used to play every day in the summer. I even played against Fred Smith, MC5 guitar player and we didn’t know it. We had not met yet. We used to have BB gun fights with trash can lids as shields, wore football helmets, and sunglasses. What a riot! Nobody lost an eye. My grandparents owned a small farm in, of all places, Hicksville Ohio. Yuk, yuk. I would go there for 2-3 weeks every summer and turn into Huckleberry Finn. Drove the tractor disking the fields prepping for the planting of corn and soybeans. Used to roll my own Bugler cigarettes and had a ball. Bet my parents loved me even more when I was gone. I was in 8th grade then. I had a crush on a gal name of Francis Burns and I would ride my bike past her house as much as ten times a day. Talk about the original stalker. Well she thought I was invisible. She was into the football players so I joined the football team. I was a right side linebacker on defense. We played this all black team from a school called Divine Child. They were all twice as big as we were and their fullback creamed me, ruining my right knee till this day. What a ball. Later on in high school when I was in the MC5, Francis warmed up to me, but I was on my way then and she had her chance. You snooze you lose! My older brother and I would have what we called, “Novena Fight Night” when mom went to church every Tuesday night for an hour. He would get on his knees and we went wild wrestling and knocking everything over. My older sister Donna, was always afraid we would break the huge picture window in the living room and never failed to squeal on us. Of course we put everything back in it’s place before mother came home. What a ball.
There were no malls then. There was only Hudson’s downtown which I loved to go to with my mom and it is funny to me today what The Five did to Hudson’s when they would not stock our record. (Post upcoming on this) Strange how things work… My father used to work 2 jobs. Dinner was at 4:30 sharp every day. He would woof down his dinner after working 8 hours at a factory then zip to his next job, another machine shop, and put in four more hours. I rarely saw him and he NEVER hit me. Hell, I was afraid of his voice alone. He worked those two jobs to send his three children to college. I pulled all A’s and B’s. Got Sister Elizabeth (gorgeous nun) in trouble one day in my middle school. She liked me and another fella named Larry as we were classic teacher’s pets. She asked us over to the convent to give us some cookies for helping her cleaning up her classroom. She had her habit off and we actually saw her hair! That was totally unheard of in those days. She got reprimanded and Larry and I got a glimpse of her beautiful, long, shiny brunette hair. What a ball. Larry and I were altar boys at this grade school, Christ The Good Shepherd. But we also did things like cleaning erasers and blackboards just to get out of the daily morning masses all of us had to suffer through. The masses were entirely in Latin and was it ever so boring. So, one day we were cleaning the home room class for Sister Elizabeth and we found a stack of cards with everybody’s name on them and a number at the bottom. It was everyone’s I.Q. score from the SAT's we had recently taken. What a find! Did we ever have the dope on our homeroom class mates as we copied them down. What a ball. So, there you have it. The 13 year old Dennis. There is much, much more, but you get the overall idea. As you can see, I was pretty much a normal, well adjusted prankster, drummer and all around American boy. I already had the rock n’ roll bug, and was playing at weddings at 13. Who would know what fate had in store for this little bugger. If my parents even thought I would wind up on a high performance search and destroy team as the MC5, I think my drums might have magically disappeared one night. Thank God no one had a clue. Hell, not even yours truly. This post was fun. I hope you liked it, as I wish to give you a little more insight into the life and times of a rebel in his earlier years. Cheers everyone, MGT