Wednesday, March 31, 2010
De ja 1950's...
Today, Chicago's weather was great! I grabbed my camera and walked over to "Bug-house Square". I wasn't there for 5 minutes, when someone with a stinking cigar sat down next to me... and thankfully I got up, and decided to walk over to Oak Street Beach. It was quite alive... however it looked more like the beach I remember from 50 years ago, because they have yet to put the potted palm trees along the beach. I started to think about my past time when I was a teenager... and compare it to now. Back then, it was a melting pot, without the pot. I remember when many of the girls from the Playboy Club soaked up the sun there... and seeing my first Hula Hoop and flung Frisbee, in the mid 50s... and later read about them in "Life" Magazine. I kept company with a group of Art Institute students. I learned that a "trick" applied to more than something associated with a magician. I once spent a day with Burr Tillstrum, the creator of Kukla and Ollie, on the cement part of the beach. I recall buying a tube of Sun-Tan lotion with a French name for $2 bucks, and never went back to baby oil and iodine.
I walked over towards Scott Street... and thought about there were no cell phones in the 50's... and a lot of phone booth. I wonder where Superman changes his clothes now? The portable radios were bigger, and you could hear what the person near you was listening to... at the beach today, almost everyone was walking around with I-Pods in their ears and taking pictures with digital cameras. I notice there was a young man, who was wearing a bright red T-shirt(that is attached)that read "Peace Love & Crabs" and thought to myself... 60 years ago if you were lucky... that and the "Clap"was all you had to worry about... and I asked if it was o.k. to take a picture... and he agreed, then asked me if I would like to take a picture of the front of the T-shirt(also attached)of a peace symbol. And for nearly the next hour I talked to him(Sean)about my good old days at Oak Street Beach... my 23 years in San Francisco and a lot of my history since then... and he seemed to enjoy listening. It was nice talking to a stranger... and thought of "Blanch" from a "Street Car Named Desire" She always depended on the kindness of strangers. Sean mentioned he was student, and wanted to be an actor or acting teacher. I told him about the time I was in Miami Beach in the early 60's, and I was visiting a friend at his hotel, when there was a knock at the door. When he answered it... there was a lot of commotion and he returned with a friend who had a rolled up "Time" Magazine in his hand. I was introduced, and my friend said"Jerry,This is "Tennessee" and thinking to myself(I guess that's been a lifelong habit) "I knew it was not "Tennessee Ernie Ford"... when the guy dropped the magazine on a nearby table, and there was a character drawing of him on the cover of that week's edition of "TIME"... it was "Tennessee" Williams. He was there for almost an hour, he was in town for the premier of the movie "SWEET BIRD of YOUTH" with Paul Newman and Geraldine Page. When he got up to leave, he invited Johnny to a party he was having at his place in Key West, and asked Johnny to bring me along... and would you believe, I turned it down, because I thought there might be marijuana there! Of course, a couple of years later when I moved to San Francisco... I had a change of heart... and smoked my first joint, and that was several thousands joints ago and beat goes on.