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Monday, 21 March 2011


By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

I grew up with rock and roll. Beginning in 1956, when I was only six years old, my older siblings often played this relatively new music on the radio (whenever Dad was not home).

A young man by the name of Elvis Presley was making a name for himself and he, along with other fellow rockers, were scaring the heck out of many adults including my father. Not surprisingly, this rebellious sound was the only kind of music that I wanted to hear.

Dad despised “my” music. He often stated that Elvis was an evil influence on America’s youth. We young folks would be much better off, he insisted, if we listened to “his” country and western songs.

This was back in the day when many country performers sang in a nasal tone; I would have preferred hearing someone’s fingernails scratch a chalkboard. At the time I was not ready to deal with the themes of cheating lovers, faithful hound dogs, reliable pickup trucks, slow trains, maximum-security prisons and “good old boy” attitudes.

When Dad wanted to hear his music, he made certain that there would be no disturbances from the children. On many Sunday mornings we were forced to sit on the sofa while he placed what seemed like a mountain of long-playing records on the stereo.

While the music played (and played and played) we were forced to sit there; we were not allowed to talk or move. I think perhaps hell operates in a similar fashion.

As the years rolled by and I matured (?), other kinds of music became relevant. I am now the proud owner of several “big band” tapes. I can listen for hours at a time to gospel music. “Elevator” music is fine and, surprise of surprises, I even enjoy country music!

In addition, I enjoy driving my son Todd crazy by playing polka music on the car radio; it is my revenge for his rap stuff.

Although my musical tastes have broadened, I’ve never learned to appreciate either opera or rap. I’ve never been to a live opera, which is just as well. I don’t think I could wait for the “fat lady” to sing. Half the time I can’t understand what rappers are saying; at other times I wish I didn’t understand.

Todd would absolutely drive me crazy by turning his boom box to full blast.

This was especially irritating whenever I tried to take a nap. Hoping to communicate clearly with the kid, I left a note (in rap fashion) on his bedroom door:

Usually it’s cool if your music is goin’ down.
In the park it’s goin’ down.
In the mall it’s goin’ down.
In the school it’s goin’ down.
But here at home, don’t be a clown.
Just turn it down.
If I’m in the kitchen, turn it down.
If I’m in the living room, don‘t make me frown.
In my bedroom, don’t want to hear a sound!

It’s okay to blast your mother.
Go ahead and annoy your brother.
It’s okay to scare the cat,
but in my bedroom, don’t be a rat!
Have mercy on me, ‘cause I’m old and fat.
So turn it down, you circus clown.
Don’t make me frown.
Turn off that sound.
I’m not tryin’ to be a creep,
it’s just that I’m old and need my sleep.
So turn it down. Way down.

Finally, we reached a compromise. Todd promised to never again play rap music while I napped. In return, I agreed to never again play polka music while he is a captive in my car.

Hey, to get something you have to give something.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Mickey - Great story!

My younger son was into 'rock'. I was not. At an early age, he took up the drums. (Not pleasing to us or the neighbors.) Frequently, I had to transport him and his endless pieces of drum stuff to band practices. I attempted to bribe him to take up the harmonica, but to no avail. Eventually, my wife and I became objects of some amusement, as we stood near the rear of halls with our ears stuffed with Kleenex, listening at his rock concerts. - Sandy

Nice to know other fathers round the land were just as awful as mine about rock n roll...I am a l94l person, and always liked my parent's music taste..then in l954 at l3, discovered WWRL on our little kitchen radio it was a rhythm & blues station playing everything from Elvis to the Moonglows and I was hooked...I sat at kitchen table doing my homework & listening away in paradise..until my father's footsteps were heard on steps in hallway..I never moved quick enough to turn to another station and he would carry on like a madman..My mother was good and just kept giving me the it's ok face because Daddy wasn't looking for a debate or update on what was current..My Mother got to love Elvis' love songs & whenever I hear his music, I instinctively remember her humming along, when Daddy wasn't home, of course..I never liked heavy metal which my sons were into, but it didn't matter, my house now, I was still blasting rock n roll...my children still laugh about Mommy the music blaster...thanks for reminding me of that early Elvis craze..he died, but the craze continues...thanks...

I really love the entire note you wrote to your son..."turn it down, you circus clown." made me laugh out loud and scare the cat! It is too bad your Dad couldn't find a compromise for you as a child as you did for yours. I think it speaks well of you that you rescued your musical tastes from the Country & Western torture imposed on you by your father. Thank you for sharing your story.

A terrific story! I hope we hear more of them!

I guess each generation dislikes the music of the following one. I am much older and my music was big band stuff. Benny Goodman, Gene Kruppa, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.

My grandmother was a classical pianist and she hated my music. She didn't consider it music just as I don't consider rap music. I find the music of today to be lacking in melody or correct grammer. But give me Cole Porter's 'Begin the Beguine' and I am in heaven.

Your rap poem was very clever.

Darline: Thanks to my father-in-law, I also am a big band fan. I agree with what you say about "Begin the Beguine."

You should be a rap writer!

It's too bad that Todd is being denied the chance to appreciate polka music!

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