THE SIXTIES (family style)…CNN SERIES(ly)

60candyphotoTHE SIXTIES…Bob Dylan certainly captured the anarchic mood of that tumultuous era rather well:

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

I for one was so enamored with the radical promise of that decade, having–you know– been born smack in the middle of that explosive experimental time.  Of course my birth and first seventeen years of life took place a wee bit outside society’s fraying and expansive center (like in the epitome of suburbia), but my parents were known to indulge in the occasional joint, so I figured I was entitled to consider myself part of the radical hood.  In fact, Lauren–salacious protagonist of Broken Hallelujah: notes from a marriage and something of my own personal alter ego–details her own brush with the frenzied forces of student driven political and social change, in BH’s chapter, Vanity.  Her “sixties” actually took place in the eighties, but hey, it was in Berkeley, California after all, so, well…anyway…

Fast forward to last Thursday night, May 29, 2014, when CNN premiered its original series, The Sixties.  What an opportunity, I had mused excitedly to myself, to share the cultural and political significance of such an important decade with my three history savvy and book smart sons.  The bonding we would do…the discussions we would have…I was almost giddy with the possibilities!  To make the occasion even more special, even more relevant to that which truly inspires them, I stocked up on nostalgic candy of that very era…Candy Buttons, Fizzies, Bit-O-Honey, and Mallo Cups were all honest to goodness relics of that bygone time, and by goodness my boys were going to indulge while we, as a family, witnessed history (that had been filmed, edited, and padded with lots and lots of commercials) in the making!  I provide for you here, dear reader, a window into the living room of a family–any family, really–experiencing that cherished modern ritual so accurately dubbed “family time”:

Oldest Son–14 (OS):  “Why do you and dad get the comfortable chairs?”

Middle Son–12 (MS):  “I have my computer, in case we need to look anything up…”

Youngest Son-10 (YS):  “Do the Mallo Cups have gelatin in them?  You know I don’t eat gelatin.”

OS:  “You are such a freak–why don’t you eat gelatin?”

YS:  “Because I am a vegetarian, and YOU are a freak.”

OS:  “Well, they do have gelatin.  I am positive, so I will eat yours.”

YS (reading the ingredient list on the Mallo Cup package): “I don’t see gelatin…”

MS (opening his laptop):  “I have my computer, so I can look it up…”

Me:  “Boys, boys…you are missing the show…look, they are showing some of the television programs which your father and I watched when we were your age.”

OS (as if just remembering his parents were in the room):  “Why do you and dad get the comfortable chairs?  It is so not fair.”

MS: “Nope, no gelatin, so you can eat the Mallo Cups.  Does anyone want to trade my blue Candy Dots for yellow ones?  I don’t like the blue ones.”

Me:  “Boys…you are not even watching…look there’s Tiny Tim being interviewed on The Tonight Show!”

YS (tentatively nibbling at the corner of a Mallo Cup):  “Are you ABSOLUTELY SURE they don’t have gelatin???”

OS (exasperated):  “You are a freak.  If you don’t want it, don’t eat it.”

MS:  “Who played Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol?”

Me (not quite understanding):  “The movie of the Charles Dickens’ novel?”

MS:  “Yes.”

Me:  “You know it’s not the same Tiny Tim, right….why are you asking?”

MS:  “Oh, I know.  It’s just that we are learning about Charles Dickens in my English class, and I was kind of curious.”

Me:  “Come on, guys…I am trying to watch…”

MS:  “Good thing I have my computer; I can just look it up!”

OS:  “Who cares who played Tiny Tim…you are such a freak!”

Me:  “Shhhhh….”

OS (rolling his eyes):  “Well, perhaps if I were sitting in a comfortable chair, I could sit quietly and watch.”

YS (excitedly pointing to a commercial for the newly released movie, Jersey Boys):  “Oh, I so want to see that movie!”

All Three Boys (staring at the television in rapt attention for the duration of the ad):………. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

MS (turning back to his computer screen after the Jersey Boy ad is over):  “Terry Kilburn played Tiny Tim.  Blue Dots for yellow Dots…last chance…”

OS:  “We don’t want to trade Dots.  What a freak…”

Me:  “OK, boys, enough…please really focus on the second half…your father and I have been waiting to see this…”

MS:  “Look!  Dad’s asleep!”

YS (loudly–in his father’s direction):  “Dad!  You are supposed to be watching…”

Dad: “ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz….”

OS (quite satisfied with himself):  “See…that’s what happens when you sit in a comfortable chair!”

YS:  “Do you mind if I go read in bed?  I am tired.  This was great–thanks, mom!!  Good night…”

MS:  “Wait, I’ll come with you.  After we brush our teeth, we can look up on my computer where Jersey Boys is playing.”

Me:  “Goodnight boys.  That was, um, fun…?”

OS:  “Yeah, I  am going to bed too…good night.  Next week I call sitting in a comfortable chair.”

Ah, Bob Dylan, perhaps your inimitable words ring as true today as they did back then, in THE SIXTIES, the only difference being in the way one defines unrest:

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

2 thoughts on “THE SIXTIES (family style)…CNN SERIES(ly)

  1. Thanks. So true! Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (where you’ll find Dylan and other 60s icons as well as surprises). Good luck with the book. I’ll return to your blog.

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