In response to the Daily Post prompt Teen Age Idol.
I succumbed to teen-age idolatry once in my life—my sixth grade year, 1963-64.
A classmate asked me if I ever listened to the radio. Incredulous, I replied, “I watch television.” The friend moved on and spoke to someone else. That was my first clue that I was missing something big.
Apparently, everyone else in my New Jersey town spent their after-school hours listening to WABC, an AM radio station out of New York City. Deejays Dan Ingram, Harry Harrison, and “Cousin Brucie” Morrow played the cutting edge rock ‘n’ roll that defined my generation.
After hearing snippets of songs in my dad’s car, I requested a radio of my own so that I could listen in my bedroom. (My mother controlled the only other radio, in the kitchen—and it was perpetually tuned to WOR.) For Christmas, I received a black and white plastic beauty that sat on my nightstand until my brother inherited it when I left for college.
One of my classmates had a “fair” at her house. (I can’t remember the details. I think she raised money for the hospital.) One of the attractions provided for twenty-five cents was to go into the garage where a record player was set up and listen to two tracks from the newly released album Meet the Beatles. I chose “I Want to Hold you Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There.”
An excellent artist in my class drew portraits of the Beatle of your choice for fifty cents. I commissioned a likeness of George Harrison. It graced my wall along with photos cut from Life and other assorted magazines until my dad, fed up with my decorating scheme, tore them down.
But my Beatlemania really manifested itself with Beatles trading cards. Yes. Topps, the bubble gum manufacturer that brought us baseball cards, cashed in on the lovable Liverpudlians with pictures that we all collected. We drove our teachers crazy as we perused them and negotiated trades (as my children did with Garbage Pail Kids and my students did with Pokemon cards). I managed to amass a fair quantity of them and I guarded them jealously. (My Precious.)
Looking at these photographs makes me incredibly nostalgic. I had many of the same cards. I wonder what happened to mine. (In all probability, I probably gave them to my brother when I got tired of them. I wonder if he still has them. I know he still has the Beatles records I gave him. Hmmm. I might have been a better sister than I thought.)