It’s a nice day to relax. I am lounging in my recliner, gazing at the fire and listening to my oldies but goodies on the Bose.

On reflection, it is my opinion that the ‘50s and early ‘60s was the last era of romantic songs. Of course, there were some horrific clunkers during that time like “How Much is that Doggie in the Window,” “This Old House,” “Tammy” and the most wretched of them all “Honey.”

I get a little queasy thinking of that one. But for the most part we had some great songs to fall in love by.

I wonder about the younger generation. They have no romantic music to help them along in the courtship game.

In fact, the recording industry is stinking up the whole solar system with dreadful techno blasts, rap madness and screaming lyrics that are the antithesis of romance. It’s a shame!

Do you recall your first big date? I do. It was with a special girl that I couldn’t believe accepted my bumbling invite. I remember pulling up to her house, adjusting my shirt, touching up my hair and trying to appear serene and confident as I rang the doorbell.

Her friendly mother and suspicious father greeted me at the door. Old Pops grilled me in a not-so-subtle way about my intentions while I waited for my date.

This uncomfortable state continued until my dream girl descended the stairs and with a cheery “Hi Blaine, let’s go” grabbed my arm and whisked us out the door.

In those days you always opened the car door and prayed that your little honey would sit close to you (no bucket seats). The ultimate nightmare was when they hugged the door; a portent of a very long evening.

Ideally your girl would snuggle up next to you and when you asked what time she had to be home she’d reply, “when I get there” — pure teenage bliss.

So with a peel of the tires off you’d fly; two smiling faces in love with life anticipating great fun for the night.

After fumbling with the radio you’d tune in Dick Biondi on WLS out of Chicago.

He was the master of silly chatter and played all the top hit parade songs which would break through the awkward teenage fog and set the stage for the rest of the evening.

The old car radio would crank out butt-shaking rock 'n' roll favorites like “At the Hop,” “Tallahassee Lassie,” “Johnny Be Good,” “Louie Louie” and “Wild One.”

Want some more? You got ‘em. How about “Willie and the Hand Jive,” “Summer Time Blues,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and my all-time favorite, the incomparable Jerry Lee Louis’ classic “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”?

Interspersed in all this mayhem were the goofy tunes like “One-Eyed, One-Horn, Flying Purple People Eater,” “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Favor (On the Bedpost Overnight)?” and many more that left teenage eyes wet with laughter.

Once the movie — followed by a burger — was over it was back to the car. In my case a 1952 Dodge without a doubt the ugliest car in Indiana. It looked like a Rhino but the radio worked and it could plow through the North Pole, which came in handy during the brutal winters.

It’s now pushing 10 p.m. and approaching magic time.

The DJs are on your side. The rock 'n' roll fades and is replaced by a stream of love songs — are you ready?

“Teenager in Love,” “Dream Lover,” I Only Have Eyes For You,” “Since I Don’t Have You,” “A Thousand Stars,” “Twilight Time,” “Stand By Me,” and the guy who launched a million love affairs, the silky smooth Johnny Mathis crooning “Chances Are.” After that barrage of romance you could look like Elmer Fudd and still have the time of your life!

A gentle touch on the knee, an extra twinkle in the eye and a charming blush to the cheeks (girls blushed back then) signaled it was time to park! Any experienced werewolf like me was familiar with all the usual haunts such as: Fedder’s Alley and Friendship Gardens but there were too many nosy cops, with those hateful flashlights, lurking about ready to kill a budding romance.

For my “night moves” I reserved an old country road that Lewis and Clark might have traveled. Even God couldn’t find me there! With the glow of the panel lights, at times soft, blowing snow and tons of love songs many of us embarked on that long exotic road to love and marriage.

 

Blaine Heric can be reached at kingsif@comcast.net

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