Join me if you dare!

I am like a Janus face. On this page, I turn away the countenance of the historical novelist and expose the strange egocentric creature I call 'me.' It was time to separate the co-joined. I discovered that those who visited my blog for a glimpse of the personal Linda Root did not wish an encounter with the novelist, and the visitors who came hoping for a look at the First Marie or with intent to scale the wall of the abbey Saint Pierre les Dames for a glimpse of the Hidden Princess in my Midwife's Secret trilogy did not want to read about my childhood in Cleveland during WWII.

In a sense, what appears on this page will be a historical novel in the making--a collage of autobiographical pieces embellished with a sprinkle of whimsy, a touch of soul-searching and occasional doses of pain. We all see ourselves as through a mirror, a slightly different view that what outsiders see. I once was quoted as saying that 'too much introspection is not good for anyone.' Apparently I've changed my mind.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

And then came Elvis..a Reflection on coming of Age in the 50's

It was April 1951 when we piled into our green 1947 Chrysler Windsor --Dad, Mom, Grandpa, my baby sister Terry Lee and I, and we headed for California.  I remember the seating arrangement. it was the era of the bench seat.  The three adults sat in front and Terry and I sat in the back seat except on occasions when mother wanted to nap. It might have been yesterday. And now, I am the only one left to laugh about it.  At the time I was not laughing, since I was the only one who did not want to leave Cleveland, and not just the only occupant of the car--from the opinions expressed by our well-wishing neighbors in Colonial  Heights, I was the only person on the planet who did not want to leave Cleveland for Coronado, California.
Photo by Janee, Wikimedea Commons

This is not a photo of our car, but it is very like it--the same green which my mother hated.  Ours was a special edition model called the Highlander, which meant that the seats were upholstered in plaid.  And like most everything else about the trip to California, the car came with a story. It was not supposed to be a Chrysler at all.  It was supposed to be a two-toned Plymouth two-door in black and chartreuse.  My Dad and I spent hours looking at the brochures.  But we were told not to set our hearts on any single make or model, because it was 1947--and we were going to be getting one of the first shipments of Chrysler products available for sale in Cleveland since the beginning of World War II.  All because of what my Dad did on the night Nancy Munson's house caught fire. 

My baby sister was born on March 1, 1946.  I was almost seven. My father had four siblings, and the younger two were my  aunts Edna Mary and Ruth, who my dad had helped raised after Grandpa Fetterly ran off with a dark haired neihgbor woman named Nora. My mother had been an only child and we was afraid of children.  Dad was the one who moved into the little front room we called the sun room where the crib was.  And from there, he saw the flamed coming from the roof of a house on Haverhill.   He wasted no time pulling on his pants and heading up the hill, and he helped the Munson family get themselves and some of their treasures out of the house.  Mister Munson was the general manager of the Chrysler dealership, and  he promised my father on the night of the fire that if my father wanted a car, he would made sure he would get the first one available.  Only someone who lived through the war years would appreciate how many people were fighting for the right to buy a car.  When the call came, my mother thought we should wait for something cheaper, and Grandpa, her Dad, asked her if she had lost her mind. The next day my father had someone drive him into the city and he came home with the car.  Neighbors were waiting at the curb for a chance to touch it.  It was the most exciting event to occur on our street since our neighbor's nephew Joey Maxim won the title and was still a topic of awe  until the summer of 1948 when it was knocked off the awe list when the  Indians won the series and the Fetterlys got a television set.  The same group of people who had been at the curb when the car came home crowded into our living room to watch WEWS on a screen the size of the display on an oscilloscope.

Tune in tomorrow or the next day for our exciting escape from Cleveland.  In the meantime I will try to figure out why Blogspot will not let me get rid of the photo of my childhood hero Lou Boudreau in a Boston Red Sox uniform, when I wanted him as an Indian.  He did, however, end his career with the Sox.  One thing few people knew about player-manager Boudreau was that he played in the World Series while injured, and insiders said he put a fifty-cent piece under his belt to deal with a hernea so he would not have to take himself out of the line-up.  I know all kinds of little bits of baseball trivia from my childhood in Cleveland, which is the real reason why I did not want to move to California.  I did a little research and discovered that all San Diego had was a Class A team called the Padres that played in a miserable excuse for a ball park called Lane Field.  I wanted to stay in Cleveland and live with my elementary school principal Miss Ruth Krumhansl, who was my mother's childhood friend from Empire Junior High School, but the family forced me into the car.  First stop, Indianapolis,  Indiana

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