Friday, April 04, 2014

***Out In The 1950s Be-Bop Night- Josh Breslin Comes Of Age- Kind Of


From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin


Scene: Brought to mind by the black and white family album-style photograph that graced the cover of a 1950s rock and roll greatest hits compilation. On this cover we are treated to a photograph of a well-groomed boy and girl, teenagers of course, who else would listen to rock and roll in the be-bop 1950s night. Every parent, every square parent, and they were legion, who had any sense at all was banning, confiscating, burning, or otherwise destroying every record, 45 RPM or long-playing, that came through the front door with junior and missy. Reason? Said rock ‘n’ roll led to communistic thoughts, youth tribal hanging together (to the exclusion, no, to the denials of the existence of, parents), bad teeth, acne, brain-death, or most dreaded the “s” word, s-x.

But let’s leave the world of parents and concentrate on the couple in the photo, Josh Breslin, and his date, his first date, his first date ever, Julie Dubois, who are just now shuffling the records looking to see if Earth Angel by the Penguins is in the stack to chase away the awkwardness both are feeling on this first date. It turns out that both are crazy about that platter so they are reaching way back in their respective minds' recesses to come up with every arcane fact they know about the song, the group, how it was produced, anything to get through that next few moment until the next dance started.

Now Josh always thought he was cool, at least cool when he was dealing with his corner boy boys. But this girl thing was a lot harder than it looked, once he had exhausted every possible fact about Earth Angel and then had to reach way back in the mind’s recesses again when he tried to do the same for The Clover’s version of Blue Velvet. No sale, Julie didn’t like that one; she smirked, not dreamy enough. Then ditto when, Julie, seriously trying to hold up her end went on and on about Elvis’ Blue Moon cover. No sale, no way, no dice said Josh to himself and then to Julie since they had vowed, like some mystical rite of passage passed down from eternal teenager-ness, to be candid with each other. Finally, Julie’s shuffling through the platters produced The Turban’s When You Dance and things got better. Yes, this was one tough night, on tough first date, first date ever night.

Maybe the whole thing was ill-fated from the beginning. Josh’s friend, maybe best friend, at Olde Saco Junior High, Rene Leblanc, was having his fourteenth birthday party, a party that his mother, as mothers will, insisted on being a big deal. Big deal being Rene inviting boys and girls, nice boys and girls, dressed in suits, or at least jackets and ties (boys), and party dresses (girls) and matched-up (one boy, one girl). Mrs. Leblanc was clueless that such square get-ups and social arrangements in the be-bop teen night would “cramp” every rocking boy and girl that Rene (or Josh) knew. But the hardest part was that Josh, truth, had never had a boy-girl date and so therefore had no girl to bring to Rene’s party. And that is where Julie, Rene’s cousin from over in Ocean City, came in. She, as it turned out, had never had a girl-boy date. And since when Mrs. Leblanc picked Josh up on party night and then went over to Ocean City for Julie, introduced then, and there was no love at first sight clang, Josh figured that this was to be one long, long night.

So the couple, the nervous couple, nervous now because the end of the stack was being reached when mercifully Marvin and Johnny’s Cherry Pie came up, both declared thumbs up, both let out a simultaneous spontaneous laugh. And the reason for that spontaneous laugh, as they were both eager to explain in order to have no hurt feelings, was that Josh had asked Julie if she was having a good time and she said, well, yes just before they hit Cherry Pie pay-dirt. Just then Rene came over and shouted over the song being played on the record player, The Moonglows’ Sincerely, “Why don’t you two dance instead of just standing there looking goofy?” And they both laughed again, as they hit the dance floor, this time with no explanations necessary.

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