June 16, 2014

Summertime, Summer Hours, and the Ghosts of Memories Past

And every night we'll have a dance
Cause what's a vacation without romance
Oh man this jive has me in a trance
Because it's summertime

- - The Jamies - Summertime, Summertime, 1958

It's going to be the "Summertime" Issue of American Digest for a bit. That means this page will not be updated daily as usual but will, I suppose, languish at times.

To announce this shift in a way that was a little bit entertaining and more than a little bit irritating I thought I'd find a clip of The Jamies obsessive/compulsive ring-a-dinga doo-wop ditty from the Stone Age of Rock, "Summertime, Summertime" (Otherwise known as "Earworm in a Can.")

YouTube, as usual, did not disappoint and served up this ancient artifact of long extinct teens dancing in a disappeared studio on an evaporated afternoon to a tune now mostly, and gratefully, forgotten.

While looking at this odd clip, I noticed that it used visuals that were slowly degrading until snapped up into this current digital version. Looking at these dancing shadows and time-smudged images was like gazing into the pool of a slowly dissolving memory of my own; one more than 50 years old. I would have been 13 in 1958 and it was likely that I actually watched this on my family's old and large black and white television. In some long ago suburban home that still survives but with a different family. One that seems to have an inordinate love for rock gardens.


It may have been American bandstand or it may have been one of the imitators. Most likely Bandstand. Soul Train was later and now a train I rode.


These images seem, in their blurring liquid state, to mimic my memories of those years... all fading back down into the soup of the mind as the neural circuits that formed the original memory were copied and copied and copied and copied again as the years piled on.


Now, like these images, that memory is not the crisp copy it once was. It's more like some xerox copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. I'm told that closer to the end all these ancient memories crisp up again. I think that's just one of the many things said to blunt the long slow slide into age and oblivion. For now, I think I'll pass.

For now I'll take comfort in the knowledge that, as the Bard says, "Golden lads and girls all must,: As chimney-sweepers, come to dust."

That and the fact that once again it's.....

summertime summertime sum sum summertime
Summertime summertime sum sum summertime
Summertime summertime sum sum summertime
Summertime summertime sum sum summertime summertime...

Posted by gerardvanderleun at June 16, 2014 12:31 PM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Don't forget, there was "Hullabaloo" and "Shindig"

Posted by: Cletus Socrates at June 16, 2014 5:41 PM

Not to worry. Have a nice summer and we will catch up on a weekly basis.

Posted by: sTevo at June 16, 2014 6:14 PM

1958, a very good year. Seems like I came into this world that year. The music is familiar as is the picture of the house in the suburb. Looks like SoCal. We used to live in a house just like that with an Olive Tree in the front yard and a Fig Tree in the back yard and a rock garden atrium.

Posted by: Mike G. at June 16, 2014 6:33 PM

A song that never left my memory, as fresh now as it was then.

Posted by: Estoy Listo at June 16, 2014 7:00 PM

Gerard: Enjoy yourself. Take time to smell the roses, or whatever else blooms over by you. We will struggle along, commenting as best we can on what articles you toss over the railing for us.

I know, we can comment on each other's comments. I am studying up on polysyllabic words and endeavoring to come up with something more witty than celebrating
Assholes Get a Punch in the Face Day. Perhaps I will be helped along by the more astute and articulate of the readers, shrug.

Posted by Mike James:
chas•ma•ti•cian (chăs-mə-tĭsh′ən)
n: A person skilled or learned in punching people in the mouth who rate it.

Posted by: chasmatic at June 17, 2014 12:34 AM

I have memories of those times too, like yours they are faded and smudged. Except that I do maintenance on them regularly, so they get freshened and ready for the flight line. Some day when they are needed. But freshened with a tool kit and supplies, not exercised and pushed, and not experienced again really. That shit hurts too much and I am a coward.

Posted by: Dan Patterson at June 17, 2014 5:56 AM

I was born in '46 so the fifties was my decade of innocence. They were not all good years.
The sixties was full of bad years.
I don't remember the good times of that decade so well and the bad memories are like a rock in my shoe.

The bad days I have now are better than the good days I used to have.

Posted by: chasmatic at June 17, 2014 6:13 AM

These blurry images are so touching--it was so very long ago that we were so carefree and danced so blithely. But the song is completely familiar-- Songs make their little tracks in the mind, and it seems they are simply indelible. Summertime!

Posted by: hopehare at June 17, 2014 1:02 PM

The video is definitely from American Bandstand. I recognize Kenny and Arlene as well as John and Justine.

Posted by: Linda P at June 17, 2014 6:48 PM

"Well, Dick, I'd give it a six. The lyrics are catchy and you can dance to it ..."

Posted by: chasmatic at June 17, 2014 7:16 PM

This NHL jerseys comment has earned a good hard punch in the face.
today is Assholes Get a Punch in the Face Day.

Posted by: chasmatic at June 18, 2014 7:30 AM

My uncle's name was Louie Lozko. We all called him "Letsgo Lozko".
He raised bantam chickens.
During the Great Depression he had to sell his accordion to pay for chicken feed.

Posted by: chasmatic at June 19, 2014 10:25 AM

That blonde was hot! Wonder if she is still around?

Posted by: cactusbreath at June 21, 2014 10:09 AM