My brother was recently in Houston, and decided to do what all old farts do when they are in places they used to live ---- look up old girlfriends!!! Actually, he drove by the house we last lived in there, and sent along a photo or two:
Though I last was inside the house in 6th grade, I'm pretty sure I could walk in the front door, take an immediate right, head up the stairs, and find 6 miles of Hot Wheels track in a large room on the second floor. My little brothers and I would set the track up to start on top of a bed, snake through the room, run down the stairs, and end on a jump.....so the cars left a series of dents in the wall at the bottom of the stairs (Sorry, Mom. I hope the current owners have better luck with their kids).
My father planted the pine trees in the yard, and they have grown just as he had hoped. The weeping willow that was in the front yard was taken down some time ago, and the buckling sidewalks where we used to ride bikes looks to have been replaced. It seems as if I spent my entire childhood destroying decks of my parents' playing cards, clothespinning them so they would make noise while I cruised the neighborhood (Sorry, Mom).
At night, though, I got to see my future, or at least I thought I could. I'd read books like "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "The Wind in the Willows," and think I could have great adventures. I'd watch SciFi shows like The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, and Night Gallery and think about all the cool things that would scare the willies out of me in the years ahead. But most of all, I'd watch Dino and the Golddiggers ---- that was going to be my real future!
Dean would swagger out from behind a curtain every Thursday night, carrying a martini, and spend an hour yukking it up with John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Don Rickles, Lucille Ball, and whoever else was part of the Hollywood crowd at the time. I frankly don't remember much of that, other than the fact that he rarely got through a skit without barely contained laughter himself. What I do remember, however, are the Golddiggers surrounding him like a cloud of hot-looking angels. I remain convinced that before the show, they would check his tuxedo to make sure it looked sharp, and stirred the perfect martini just for him. It was the perfect image to send a 6th grade boy off to sleep.
My 6th grade mind became wholeheartedly set on the idea that I would grow up to be Dean Martin, and that every night I'd come home to a cold adult beverage and a harem of scantily clad women waiting for me. Really. Forget Cary Grant, Sinatra, or any of the current crop of stars --- Dino was the epitome of cool.
So, I've been wondering. The Outer limits has been recycled and repackaged. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has been made into yet another movie. Though not in name, Night Gallery themes can be found in myriad of TV shows and movies. The Twilight Zone has been revived more times than Resusci Annie. So, I've been wondering....I've got my martini glasses, olives, and gin, so...
SWIMBO, I suppose, would not approve. But maybe she's waiting for Dino, martini in hand.