The Authors Collection. A nostalgic romp through time, a journey back to the fifties.
May 11, 2013
The following describes a scene in the novel Catho Darlington—Lessons Learned in the Space Age
“I LIKE TO TURN UP the bass!” Laura Mae Darlington explained to her young daughter, Catho, as she fiddled with one of the knobs on the on the Space Age, console, entertainment center contraption in the living room. It boasted an AM/FM radio, three-speed turntable, a large speaker covered by glittery fabric, and storage section for record albums.
Catho Darlington, like most other young Americans was caught up in the rock and roll movement of the early 1950s. When she was not listening to rock and roll, she was writing it. Using the four magic chords most rock and roll songs contained, she banged away on the piano, making up crude melodies and lyrics. She bought a tablet of staff paper so she could “preserve them for the future.” The word “future” spouted out of her mouth along with eerie sound effects. Like many other kids, she just knew she would make it big in rock and roll some day and appear on Ed Sullivan.
It was during this same time that Catho spotted an ad in the back of a girls’ teen magazine. It was for a necklace, a leather thong with a hand-carved, wooden Tiki god suspended at the end. It exuded mysticism. Its rhinestone eyes seemed to hypnotize. There was a compartment inside the Tiki god that contained a tube of coral lipstick—for lipstick on the go. Catho had to have that necklace. Laura Mae said she could rob her piggy bank and order it, but she could only wear the lipstick around the house when she was playing dress-up, and not in public.
Catho was thrilled when the do dad arrived in the mail (“It took too long gettin’ here!”), and naturally she had to write a rock and roll song about it, Tiki Doll. It did not make the Top 40 (in her lifetime).
Catho Darlington’s love of Rock and Roll and all things Tiki appears in the chapter Rock And Roll of the novel, Catho Darlington—Lessons Learned in the Space Age (page 246).
Oh, how I have longed to see that original magazine ad for the Tiki god necklace! The actual necklace vanished into the netherworld sometime between 1956 and the present.
And Then Fate Stepped In, again, by way of Archie McPhee’s. I have been interested in Archie McPhee’s for years. Located in Seattle, they are purveyors of the weird, the unusual. They even have a section of their huge store named Tiki-ville (for all things Tiki). I follow them on Facebook (Archie McPhee’s Endless Geyser of Awesome) to see what they are up to. One day in 2011, they posted right there on Facebook, the original ad as I had seen it in the 1950s. One of their staff members had found it in a dusty old magazine, a probable attic relic, and thought readers would get a kick out of seeing it. What a gift! With the help of many under-the-breath expletives, I was able to somehow scan a photo of it for my own personal enjoyment—a lifetime-wish fulfilled.
Perhaps you may wish to read further into the book, or go back in time to re-enjoy life in the Fifties. The war is over, happy reunions have occurred, rebuilding of lives has commenced with a little prosperity thrown in. Men are men and women are women. Westerns and Sci Fi rule on the big screen. Parades go down Main Streets. Summers are hot and rife with lemonade stands and swimming holes. Playing in the hose will do in a pinch. Television is in its infancy, and one of the biggest items to consider—Rockabilly has morphed into Rock and Roll. You’ll find all of this, between the covers of Catho Darlington—Lessons Learned in the Space Age.