Friday, February 10, 2012
Because so many people have requested it, today's walk down memory lane is going to be the poetic one I took with those senior citizens who attended the A Night to Remember activity put on by the members of my husband's singles ward last weekend. The poem served as an introduction to the vintage entertainment that evening. Hope you enjoy the nostalgia...
The Greatest Generation
©2012 Susan Noyes Anderson
The Greatest Generation!
Thanks for all you’ve done and do.
We’re really glad to have you here,
so we can honor you.
No matter what year you were born,
the 30s, 20s, teens…
Tonight we’re gonna treat you right,
just like kings and queens.
And if we have some 1940
babies in our midst,
we welcome you as well…
That’s why we put you on the list!
We hope you like nostalgia, ‘cause
this night is all about it.
(If we’ve forgotten anything,
feel free to stand and shout it.)
From Ellington to Elvis and
from Satchmo to Sinatra,
we’re strolling right back through the years,
with all the joy they brought ya.
So come you dandies, flappers, swing kids,
hipsters, beatniks, boppers…
We’re hailing back to bobby sox,
and poodle skirts, and toppers…
You may have worn a zoot suit, with
a derby or a bowler.
Perhaps your hair was finger-waved
or curled around a roller…
No matter what your heyday was,
you’re all among the greats.
So buckle up your seat belts, friends,
‘cause memory lane awaits.
We’re off to see the wizard; shall
we take that old A train?
Judy Garland and The Duke knew
how to entertain.
The music still remains with us;
it stands the test of time.
Count Basie, Dizzy, Calloway…
Cole Porter was sublime.
Gershwin, Rodgers, and Berlin…
Benny Goodman, Ella…
She sang. She scatted. She had pipes!
(Or not.) ‘Cause Ella didn’t yell.
It’s Ethel that was loud.
Ethel Merman could have done
a screaming banshee proud.
Bing Crosby’s croon could make you swoon.
Sinatra’s did the job.
But Nat King Cole still stole the show,
while Frankie ducked the mob.
(He later formed the Rat Pack with
his pals, Deano and Sammy.
They hung out in Las Vegas, making
dealers’ hands get clammy.)
But I digress; that’s 60s stuff…
(Frank had a long career.)
Let’s get on back to WWII.
Is that Blue Moon I hear?
Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,
the Andrews Sisters said.
Does Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats
still bounce around your head?
If so, this Sentimental Journey’s
got you In the Mood.
But that could change…If I said “Spam,”
would I get soundly booed?
What if I said, “Spam soup?” Would you
be eating yours right now?
I wouldn’t, but you might. (My dad
got used to nasty chow.)
Yep, rationing and war bonds:
sacrifices, left and right.
Rosie the Riveter…no men
and no nylons in sight!
Pearl Harbor changed the way you lived,
just like the Great Depression.
And once again, this country pulled
together; what a lesson!
(We need to learn that lesson now;
I hope we can retain it.)
Democracy takes sacrifice
and honor to sustain it.
It also takes community
and unity of heart.
You had that. And it showed up
in your culture…in your art.
Glenn Miller made the people dance.
Jack Benny made them chuckle.
Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis helped.
Those two made quite the couple.
And so did Burns and Allen...
George and Gracie, what a pair!
They all toured with the USO,
and brought cheer “over there.”
Composers brought it too, with music:
pop and patriotic.
God Bless America was born,
stirring but not quixotic.
You shared a goal, a common cause,
then worked to get it done.
And when the war was over, you
knew all of you had won.
D-Day, VE-Day, VJ-Day…
*Sailor Kisses Girl*…
Your vict’ry celebration had
the nation in a whirl.
Now I’ll Be Home for Christmas could
be more than just a song.
And I’ll Be Seeing You came true…
for many who’d been strong.
But not for all; some gave their lives
to keep our country free.
Those soldiers freed the world and changed
the course of history.
Each one of you was part of that,
at home or far abroad.
Americans united, conquered
evil, and thanked God.
And It's a Wonderful Life became
more than a Capra movie…
ENTER suburbs, Studebakers,
soaps, and Slinkies…Groovy!
Silly putty, Scrabble, green stamps,
Sullivan on Sundays.
Soda shops and cute car hops
and drive-in movies. Fun days!
You watched old films and new ones…
Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire.
Gene Kelly and Olivier,
BOTH Hepburns (glamour, squared)…
Clark Gable, David Niven,
Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant.
Errol Flynn and Charles Boyer
made the ladies pant.
Their movies made you laugh and cry…
Bogart and Bacall…
Laurel, Hardy, Shirley Temple…
(Wasn’t she a doll?)
Casablanca, Ingrid Bergman,
Grable, Princess Grace.
(She always seemed like so much more
than just a pretty face.)
Doris, Rock, and Pillow Talk.
Joan Crawford (not my fave).
Debby Reynolds, Mickey Rooney…
What great times they gave!
And radio was quite adept
at entertaining you.
Fibber McGee and Molly,
Life with Riley, Topper, too.
Amos and Andy, Abbot and Costello,
Our Miss Brooks…
Dick Tracy and Flash Gordon from
those Action Comic books.
But TV soon took over…
Shows left radio behind.
Jackie Gleason and The Honeymooners
comes to mind.
Howdy Doody, I Love Lucy,
Dragnet, and Lone Ranger.
The Beaver was a favorite, too, and
Lassie was no stranger.
A culture was created that
was based on wholesome things.
(I wish we could reclaim it, and
the happiness it brings.)
Maybe we can; remembering
like this might be a start.
Sometimes, nostalgia is a way
to open up the heart.
So Que Sera, Sera. Play marbles,
jacks, and kick a can!
Remember Bosco, Ovaltine,
and Postum? I sure can.
Roll out the hokey-pokey
(and the barrel), while you’re at it.
Buy bubble gum and yo-yos, but
you can’t stuff phone booths, drat it!
Or eavesdrop on your party line...
Nope. Can’t do that no more.
And you won’t find Ipana toothpaste
at today’s drugstore.
You won’t find Brylcreem, either,
though a little dab would do ya.
But Alka-Seltzer still does send
that plop plop fizz fizz through ya.
What happened to those Jujubes
that stuck right to your teeth?
Don’t tell me that you miss them…
They gave dentists too much grief!
No Beeman’s gum, no Beechnut gum,
No Edsel, that’s for sure.
But that’s okay, that crazy car
was not meant to endure.
Remember Kilroy? (SO not here)…
Red Skelton? Coonskin caps?...
Cootie? Clue? Okay, I’m through!
I’m done now; that’s a wrap.
You see, I’ve gone on far too long.
It’s not this stuff; it’s you.
You held on, and you stood strong.
You did what you had to do.
War raised its ugly head again;
contention never ceases.
May opposition always teach us
just how precious peace is.
May this new generation seize
your torch and hold it high.
The light of your example shines
like stars across the sky.
That’s why they brought you here tonight,
to honor you and learn.
We need great generations, and
it’s time they take their turn.
These young adults who are your hosts
desire to understand
and live up to your legacy:
preserving this great land.
Of course, they’ll do it their own way,
and that’s as it should be.
No one could do it like you’ve done.
Thanks for the memory!