Little Terrance was in the dinning room pouring over the pictures in his new favorite book, the World Book Encyclopedia, when a knock came from the front door. He looked up quizzically. The front door faced the street but didn’t have a real path to it. Most people came from the driveway to the side door. He got up and turned off the radio. This large piece of furniture was churning out the jazzy pop of Henry Mancini and Burt Bacharach. The four and half year old had to stand on his tip-toes to reach the dial on the inside of the cabinet.
By the time Terrance reached the foyer his mother was talking to several teenagers. He recognized them from church though he didn’t know most of their names. They had been passing by and wondered if they could come in and hang out for a while. This didn’t strike Terrance’s young mind as odd, people just did these types of things.
What could be cooler than a group of teenagers, particularly to a four and half year old mind? Terrance wasn’t allowed to wear bellbottoms and his shirts were plain, nothing like the colorful flowers and paisley these kids wore. Hair fell almost to the guys’ shoulders, just like his heroes, The Monkees. One of the girls had thick rimmed cat-eye glasses and one of the boys saw the world through thin rectangles of glass, like the guitarist in the Byrds. The Byrd-man and another boy carried guitars, which, of course, was the peak of coolness.
As Terrance’s mom went to get some lemonade the teens made themselves comfortable in the living room, three of them sitting cross legged on the floor while rest took more conventional seats. The two guitarists started strumming and were joined by two young ladies in singing folk songs.
As the kids sang “Up, up and away, in your beautiful balloon” Terrance sat down on the couch next to the cat-eyed girl. One of the guys made a joke about her new boyfriend and how he hoped it would work out better than her last.
“You’re just jealous,” she answered. “Actually he’s cute.” She put an arm around Terrance and said, “Don’t listen to those jerks. I like you. It’s Terrance, right?” He nodded up at her. He couldn’t imagine a prettier girl on the planet. She smiled warmly down at him then turned to watch the singers who were now on “This Land is Your Land”. He scooted in a little closer. She didn’t look but continued smiling. She gave his shoulder a quick reassuring squeeze.
From the more serious “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Blowing in the Wind” to the slightly whimsical “Puff the Magic Dragon” the kids went through dozens of popular folk tunes. Terrance was enthralled to be part of it.
After about an hour the teens got up and thanked Terrance’s mother for letting them have a place to sit and for the lemonade. They all made a point of saying goodbye to Terrance. The cat-eyed girl bent low to his level and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “See you soon, lover boy,” she whispered in his ear before, with a wink, she turned and left with the others.
As his mom put Dvorak on the console record player in the dining room Terrance ran out of the house singing, “Let the Sunshine In” to himself. Still singing at the top of his lungs he sprinted across the lawn to his best friend Steve’s house. He couldn’t wait to tell him about the group of teens and the cat-eyed girl. Inspired by the singing the two boys spent the afternoon playing air-guitar to Beatle’s 45s on Steve’s mini record player.
Walking back home, attempting to hum “Don’t Sleep in the Subway”, Terrance wondered when he’d see his new cat-eyed girlfriend again. What was her name, Debbie? It didn’t matter. What mattered was that she was ancient, beautiful and thought he was cute.
Maybe someday he’d write a song about her.
This semi-autobiographical piece of fiction was influenced by yesterday’s daily prompt about the music that played in my house as I was growing up. In this time and a place categories didn’t exist, at least for me. Although I later put many restrictions on my music, I grew up with an ultra-wide base of influences. These days I’m opening back up and once more breaking the boundaries down.
(Yes, I have memories of teens playing folk music in my parent’s house, of playing air guitar to Beatles records, of religiously watching The Monkees, of religious music, classic music, show music, pop, rock, Motown, soul, jazz and twangy country music. Very little was kept out or didn’t pass my ears.)
Psychedelic Drawing by Trent P McDonald
Oh, I forgot. look up “Don’t Sleep in the Subway”. Might see the bit of a joke there.