≡ Menu

Summertime Summertime Sum-Sum-Summertime

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, especially after the last seven months, this page will not be updated daily as usual but will, I suppose, languish at times as do I in the wake of all that has happened since last November 8. For the present, I am in recovery from the past.

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-ding-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 had been melting, fuzzing out, and otherwise 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 my own dissolving memory; 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 today 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 not 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 of mine is not the crisp copy it once was. It’s more like some xeroxed 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 happy-face bromides promulgated 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…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kevin in PA June 23, 2019, 10:09 AM

    Loss of your mom, the Paradise fire, and reckoning with the memories of a lifetime is a plenty full plate.

    Take a break. Re-charge. Take a bit of time to sojourn somewhere that catches your fancy, here or abroad. I suspect that by summer’s end you will be back in full form. Wherever you go and whatever you end up doing, I’m certain you’ll have something enriching to share when you return.


  • Everyman June 23, 2019, 10:36 AM

    Kevin’s advice is spot-on. It’s feet-up and windows-open time. Get refreshed for all of our sakes, for heaven sakes.

  • ghostsniper June 23, 2019, 11:44 AM

    Nicely written. That house could be from a suburban area in Florida of the same time period. Enjoy the summer. We aren’t having much of one, it’s been raining almost constantly for months. Notice the absence of wild gesticulations in the video. In a time when people weren’t obsessed with genitalia like unsupervised toddlers.

  • Rob De Witt June 23, 2019, 12:46 PM

    Carmen Jimenez!!

  • PA Cat June 23, 2019, 2:17 PM

    Alas, YouTube has removed the earworm video. Meanwhile, take good care of Miss Olive, and let her take care of you! Cats are good at that sort of thing.

    And God bless, keep, and refresh you– He’s good at that sort of thing too.

  • Ga Gator June 23, 2019, 3:49 PM

    Love for rock gardens? More likely a hatred of cutting grass.
    Enjoy your summer break but toss out an open thread occasionally
    for all your fans. Cheers

  • Nori June 23, 2019, 4:54 PM

    Wow,what a godawful song. Hope that earworm chews it’s way thru my skull & out the other ear,real quick.
    That rock garden looks like it belongs in a “Japan,Nuked Too Much or Not Enough” landscape.
    Enjoy summer break,Mr V.
    I hear there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues,but I have my doubts.

  • The Usual Suspect June 23, 2019, 6:36 PM

    Think of it, those young women were dressed in a pretty suggestive way, the music was god-awful and what is this generation coming to? And the Beatles were still light years away.

  • Ferkle June 23, 2019, 6:52 PM

    I look forward to your commentary, G. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_enlightenment

  • Ferkle June 23, 2019, 7:12 PM
  • Roy Lofquist June 23, 2019, 7:59 PM

    Ah, nostalgia. I spent most of 1962 in Sinop, Turkey. It was one of the shortest tours in the Army at 11 months. One of the reasons was that the only women you were likely to catch a glimpse of were fully covered from head to toe. Perhaps the only saving grace was our prized Ampex VR-1000 video recorder (Serial number 2).


    Once a week a tape of American Bandstand would arrive on the mail plane. We had a lottery to get in line for the viewings.

    Sinop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX3arxZvHLM

  • Terry June 23, 2019, 8:18 PM

    Take a well deserved break Gerard.

    The link leads to just a tiny sample of what we do in Idaho. This one with help from Lithuania 🙂


  • Marica June 24, 2019, 4:24 AM

    Safe travels. If you find yourself in or around the sovereign state of Mississippi, give me a holler. We’ll serve you up a fine home cooked Southern supper.

  • Snakepit Kansas June 24, 2019, 4:52 AM

    “Gazing into the pool of my own dissolving memory….a copy of a copy of a copy.”

    Gerard, your way with words. Wow.

  • Mary Ann June 24, 2019, 5:03 AM

    We will miss you. Take care of yourself.

  • twolaneflash June 24, 2019, 9:01 AM

    The James Brown Show was filmed in Atlanta at Ted Turner’s TBS studio on Friday nights in the mid-1970’s, and played on tv on Saturday mornings. My wife was James Brown’s attorney’s secretary, so we had backstage privileges. One Friday night I was standing between two tv cameras that were about six feet from the microphone where James Brown was introducing a young singer he had discovered, a fifteen year old boy named Luther Vandross. I watched hypnotized as he sang on tv for the first time. James Brown was a down-to-earth and very approachable man. Once when I was in his Augusta, GA offices, he tried to sell me some beef from his prized Black Angus herd; I couldn’t afford it. “The Hardest Working Man In Show Business”: indeed he was.

  • Lance de Boyle June 24, 2019, 1:58 PM

    That English fella Wordsworth said,

    What though the radiance
    which was once so bright
    Be now for ever taken from my sight,
    Though nothing can bring back the hour
    Of splendour in the grass,
    of glory in the flower,
    We will grieve not, rather find
    Strength in what remains behind;
    In the primal sympathy
    Which having been must ever be;
    In the soothing thoughts that spring
    Out of human suffering;
    In the faith that looks through death,
    In years that bring the philosophic mind…
    …and memories of the pink lips, well-loaded sky-blue cashmere sweaters, smiling eyes, and waving curls of those young goddesses who knew that they were.

  • dr kill June 24, 2019, 3:14 PM

    You have had quite a year. Best of luck.

  • David Wendt June 24, 2019, 4:42 PM

    It was definitely Bandstand. If you pay close attention around the 50-sec mark, a shot of Dick Clark flashes for about a quarter second.

  • Jeff Brokaw June 24, 2019, 7:54 PM

    Recharge and come back tanned, rested, and ready!

  • Vanderleun June 25, 2019, 9:41 AM

    OH I’LL pop in and out when something presents itself. But I won’t be hovering all day/week. As Jack Kerouac once wrote; “Man, you gotta go!”

  • H June 25, 2019, 1:17 PM

    Where else would we go?

    We’ll be checking in from time to time, Gerald. Go and do thou likewise.