As a little girl turning into a teenager, the days of playing with Barbies seamlessly led to innocent yearnings for teen idols. With things much "simpler," our glimpses of Davy Jones, Bobby Sherman, Donny Osmond, and David Cassidy were from a possible weekly TV show, Tiger Beat and Sweet 16 magazines, and album covers. While putting away some old photo albums the other day, I came across this page torn from an old Life Magazine. The image was from some story about farming or something or other. As a 10-year-old, this picture was pinned to my bulletin board. I remember thinking he was the handsomest being I'd ever laid eyes on. I knew I'd never get Davy Jones to love me, but this random boy in a wheat field might just walk into my life one day and love me then and the rest of my life.
That got me to thinking about growing up in the 60s and 70s. How the limited TV shows and reception rendered our summer days filled with sunshine from the moment our feet hit the floor until we were bathed for the night, wearing crisp cotton seersucker pajamas and smelling like baby powder. Our posse was a roving mess of mischief and imagination, running barefoot from back yard to construction sites to neighborhood pool. Summers lasted forever back then. Once back in school, the afternoons held us girls hostage by the daily phone call with the best friend. She and I would have been together all day, but had a world of things to talk about once back at our home bases. And with a landline kitchen wall phone, the conversations took place on the linoleum floor, changing from lying on your back to sitting with feet propped on the wall, a curly cord in hand to play with, completely immune to who might be trying to call (only to get that annoying busy signal). We had no microwave ovens, and so popcorn was dangerously prepared on the stovetop with a pot and oil (which is right up there with bicycle helmets not having been invented; it's a wonder our generation survived).
I had an autograph book, yes an autograph book. I didn't save it, so I have no idea whose autographs I collected, but I remember it being filled. At Christmastime, we counted down the days until Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman and The Grinch came on TV. There was one, only one, opportunity to watch these half-hour gems (we had no video recorders/players or DVDs). At one of my first jobs, working in a German bakery in our small town, I rang up the orders on an old-fashioned cash register. And we tied our white bakery boxes with red and white striped baker's twine long before it became the craft rage. I learned to drive in a car with a stick shift and a manual choke.
And the boy in the wheat field . . . he never materialized. Not as a boy. Not as a man with leathered wrinkles from too much sun and an endearing paunch from too many breakfasts smothered in country gravy. May my daughter look back on her youth and think that they too were simple times. And may she find her boy in a wheat field.