I was 16 with no chores. I was 16 with no homework. I was 16 and not worried about being popular. I was 16 without a dress code or parental control. I was 16 with the freedom of my own vehicle and free to be 16 as long as I chose. It was nostalgic and thoroughly enjoyable and I might just do it again soon.
It started quite innocently and not on purpose. Out running errands, I noticed it was close to lunchtime. I had been cooped up through some dreary winter weather and decided I needed a decent burger and fries. It happens that Franklin, NC has a 50s style diner called the Motor Co Grill, the perfect burger joint of choice. They seat you and every time before, I have either sat on the diner side or on the patio where dogs are welcomed with a water dish and their own menu.
Today I was seated on the counter side. This side had red topped chrome swivel stools at the counter, a black ‘n white checkered floor, booths, tables, lots of neon and 50s signs just like back-in-the-day. Wayyyy back. The decor set the stage, but the music was the key. Playing was a “Real Oldies channel” from a long distance or internet option, out of Milwaukee.
As I was handed a menu, the speakers released HOLD ME by Mel Carter. I couldn’t read the menu for the music. I didn’t need it anyway. Next came LONESOME TOWN crooned by Ricky Nelson. Only burger, fries and a shake could possibly go with this scene. Frankie Valley, I LOVE YOU BABY, the Four Seasons, HEY HEY PAULA – one right after the next. I was 16 again.
My waiter was a clean cut guy, maybe 20. I asked, when he brought my shake, if he tired of hearing this “old” music every work day. He surprised me. He said “I’ve been listening for 4 years and I like it. It sounds innocent to me.” You know, he is a wise and perceptive young man.
Rock ‘n roll, bobby socks and saddle shoes, the Twist, the Stroll, Bandstand, Elvis, The Beatles, The Everly Brothers; it was all a terribly innocent era. Roy Orbison, Chubby Checkers, The Beach Boys, Petula Clark, The Supremes; they each tic a memory. Weren’t we lucky!
We were the last generation of innocents. Could it be why we find in-your-face subjects, policies and 2019 drama so jarring? We aren’t naive, but having had an age of innocence, we think everyone is entitled to the same?
It was certainly a heartwarming day. I couldn’t help feeling youthful having my lunch and loving the music.