Friday, May 12, 2006

Mini Flashback to 1962

On the way to work yesterday morning, driving down 6th Street and crossing Congress Avenue, I saw one of those cars that sends you instantly back about 40 years. It was a bright red Corvette, circa 1960, gleaming like it had just rolled off the showroom floor. Looked something like this:

So, I naturally flew back in my mind to 1962. I found myself thinking about Route 66, a television show that involved two young men cruising the USA in their Corvette. I always imagined that Corvette as being red, though I later learned that it was blue. Those were the days of black and white tv, when you made up your own color scheme in your mind.

One day in 1962, the production company landed in Austin to film an episode. We were living in Oak Hill at the time. I was quite a fan of the show and was excited to know that the two stars were so nearby. Daddy was taking classes at UT that year and one day he came home and told us about the flurry of activity in downtown Austin. He described all the giggly girls that were rushing around hoping to catch sight of Marty Milner or George Maharis. He asked me if I would be that silly.

Well, I was seven at the time, more star struck than anything. A little too young to have crushes. But I was confident that I would be every bit as excited if I were on the scene.

I saw that episode several years back on TVLand and enjoyed seeing the familiar Austin locations, caught in a time warp. But the thing that struck me most is how dated the vehicles were. The episode involved an accident where Buz Murdock was blinded and spent time in a blind school until, with the inevitable TV miracle, he recovered and had to leave behind the blind girl he loved. The ambulance was a modified station wagon and the police cars were boxy and black. But that lovely Corvette was every bit as wonderful as it ever was.

Oddly enough, I had a second flash to the early 60s later on in the evening. Since the Thursday prime time schedule is horrible, I was surfing last night and found myself caught by the History Channel. The show that grabbed my attention involved a recreation of the Kennedy assassination by combining all of the photos and movies that had been shot by passersby that day and then reanalyzing the pictures with today's technology. I don't usually watch programs about that particular event, but this was a well done piece.

Again, the vehicles were the things that transported me back in time. I could imagine myself back in time, watching the original newscasts, a fourth grader who was embroiled in her first experience with a national tragedy.

Just as a faint sweet smell of a certain kind of soap can transport me back to the first grade restrooms in Oak Hill, or a song heard on the radio can suddenly transport me to a bus loaded with teenaged girls heading to a basketball tournament, now I find that a glimpse of a sportscar can whisk me back 45 years in an instant. The mind's complicated connections never fail to amaze me.


No comments: