Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leader of the Pack - Rock and Rollers Christmas at the Meyer house.

Genea Bloggers Christmas Advent- Day # 19 Christmas shopping

It does seem like so many shopping events before Christmas for the family gift were done as a family led by the interests of the Eldest son. Sonny who was kind of our "Leader of the Pack".

Oh yes, I do show my rock and roll age here, right. Do you remember that song Leader of the Pack by the Shangri -Las It may still play somewhere, but those of us who are baby boomers certainly would remember phrases from it.

I know it seems like it has nothing to do with Christmas, but our Sonny, the leader of our pack was the first to discover rock and roll. He introduced Sissy to WDGY. So somehow convinced, Sylvia and Dewey figured the children should have a record player or a Stereo. So the Meyer pack went to several stores before Christmas to find the right one for the right price. I guess it took eveyone's input to get the many needs met.

The Meyer children were always putting a radio in and open window to hear Bobby Vinton singing Roses are red my love. Or they brought the electric radio where ever they were even into the hen house, while cleaning it or while in the barn they were changing Dewie's New Ulm polka channel to rock and roll. Do you suppose the dairy cows cared?

After the family received the record player, Sonny showed his siblings that you could get cheap forty five rpm records from restaurants and places that played them in juke boxes. When they were tired of playing them, they sold them cheap. [In other record stores there were the cheap copies or imitators] the kids acquired many popular songs that way. Sissy had a couple of favorites. Twist and Shout, Peppermint Twist, Alley Oop. One of them was by Elvis Presley, Blue Suede Shoes and Return to Sender; The Purple People Eater; [The Lion Sleeps Tonight?], [The Answer is Blowin In the Wind?]. After that there was always some requested song record that Santa sometimes brought. Not only the forty fives but the 75 rpm, and even 33 rpm's were also played. Steve and Sissy listened to Little Norman tales for hours. Even Dewie ordered a record that the Bennett relatives created in New York.

The same shopping togetherness happened when Missy was twelve or thirteen when the family got a television. Sylvia had always had the same answer to getting a television without hesitation - NO. That year the answer was a debate inside Sylvia. She believed there were rays coming from it that would hurt the children. So Before Christmas they looked for a used one. But Sylvia would not say she was convinced they should have one. But it did come for Christmas.

There was never a lot of money for the family and the Stereo, record player, the table jig saw, a clothes dryer, were expensive enough purchases for the family. They just could not and did not lightly throw money around. Often the money came from Sylvia's Chicken and Egg money. Sometimes they needed things instead like new tractors or a new barn, or a different car, those were not family purchases. I suppose it eased the conscience to say some of the fun family purchases was for the family for Christmas. Since all gained from it, who minded?

I have included both the Record player and the Television in one post because
Sissy was a bit confused as to which it was the Stereo or the Television that led Dewie to give up the big tall radio in a cabinet [take a peek at it's likeness here ] or the Sears and Roebuck farm set version here and then again it might have been McMurdo silver that resided in the living room. She couldn't completely identify the exact replica. She thought it was pretty and she would lay at it's foot and play with the grill that covered the speaker near the floor in the middle and listen to radio programs or soaps. The Lone Ranger and Tonto. She mostly remembers that the old radio console was traded in for either the television or the record player.

She was sorry to see it go. She had been fond of some special channels of foreign language that she had heard on it. She also liked late at night getting in Beaker street. and Little Rock. Later on, when she bought her own radio and found the same channels could come in on her electric radio and her transistor radio.

Is it needless to say, those family gifts shaped somewhat their lives. Life changed, but the tunes of the years you heard them bring back many memories of your details surrounding them. Just as the television brought different changes of the family activities. Not necessarily bad, just different. Christmas music on the phonograph, and the nut cracker ballet playing on TV; the annual local children's Christmas charity airing; favorite shows Christmas airings and otherwise.

Shows such as As the World Turn , The Guiding Light shared by Sissy and her mother programs which were once listened to over the Ironing board, Jack Benny, Bob Hope could be enjoyed by Dewie, but even more, he could now see the Rose Bowl game and the parade. Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing, the Long Ranger and Tonto were seen, not just heard any more.Steve with Lassie or Big Ben became a family night ritual. If they tried hard they got American Bandstand or an equivalent, and Dewie's polka dance bands in Mankato. Not to mention special Christmas and Holiday shows and otherwise. Movies on weekends, Comedies of Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, Laugh In, Hee Haw, and the Globe Trotters broke Steve and Sissy up everytime they played. Varietie shows like Ed Sullivan were all really big big shows that they didn't and did share together as time went on.

As they say Gifts that keep rolling, giving, enriching lives, do indeed. Thanks Leaders of the pack for your influence.

Note: Many Years later WDGY turned country just as the taste of so many fans turned to country.
- Other old radio Console possibilities:
- What the words to those songs really meant

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