Labor Day

Labor Day is fast approaching~

You know what that means don't you? No white shoes.

I'm at my Aunt Jeannie’s. It's late August. It rains most afternoons now. Crazy that they plan a festival in upstate New York in August, it rains!  Woodstock, my Aunt Jeannie, says she was there. No recollection~ For me I was alone. But she was at the lake, in late August! My mother is coming to get me to get ready for September 9th, Back to School!

September 9th is burned into my beingness ~September 9th~it's over~ Swimming playing old maid on rainy afternoons with other kids my age. I trudge up the hill where these others live~ Who are they? How did I know them~ Friends of Rose, my Aunt Jeannie's sister-in-law, married to Johnny. Johnny was Eastern European, maybe Polish. There were cousins and friends of cousins and they lived on a hill on the hilltop house and I walked up that hill when it rained to play "bored" games.

And cards. Where I learned first about 'having fun' that wasn't fun. Getting a small amount of satisfaction from doing what was supposed to be fun. I remember and loved the shelf where the games were piled and stored ,ready for the kids to play and have fun~ The possibilities so much more exciting than Monopoly, Old Maid, Candyland.

There were the ones who had to win, who would make up new rules to insure they won. "No if you go past GO the second time, then you get out of jail, no matter what " Others who'd engage in debate, especially in Scrabble, "That is not a word, funn~uh huh!” “It's short for funny." Maybe all that took the fun out of it. I don't remember winning or caring. I liked the game pieces, the graphics on the cards, the colored aluminum tumblers. The Kool-Aid red, purple, the bologna sandwiches on white bread.  I am an American kid having fun on a rainy day in Lake Carmel, right?

"Eat, there are children in Europe who are starving." We all get our little boxes of animal crackers. We name the animals and eat them in several ways. Decapitate~ A crunchy head or amputate them. Or soggy, eat them whole in your mouth soaked with milk, when we only knew milk was good for you and didn't find out till later, the dairy industry, with the blessings of the FDA, spent big-time promoting this in the age of science. The only species to drink the milk of another species, with such harmful results, especially cow’s milk. Goat is a little more similar to human.. Who worried then? Only men of medicine and science with a conscience who were quickly quieted down along with the dentists opposing mercury fillings. And didn't we all get a mouthful of toxic heavy metals, playing games and being lucky American kids while Lenny Bruce was gathering materials, about to let the cat out of the bag. 

I was walking back down the hill in Carmel New York with the half eaten box of animal crackers studying the patterns of drying water. Still overcast but the rain had stopped. Getting cool~ Maybe they'll light a fire in the local stone fireplace Uncle Sonny built with his father, Mr Iarrobino Sr. Lost in meandering thoughts. I think that's where I first heard, if an alligator is chasing you run zigzag but I walked a straight line~ No alligators in Lake Carmel but I didn't really know that for certain. I just thought: I’d be brave.

Happy Christmahannavaloween!  When Labor Day is over it begins~ So it's here, no white shoes! In the time of the Beat Generation just post Lenny Bruce, most of the people didn't wear white Muck lugs. Yet. There were no UGGs. ("UGG " was what an American Indian said, after "How",) I was wearing white Muck lugs. Well they were off-white, so that was OK right? I found them in a Peruvian or otherindigenous-people-type-shop in Greenwich Village, heaven for anyone who loved weird shoes.

I was walking down the street with Peter. We weren't yet married~ I walked into a Fred Leighton's shoe store wearing white, after Labor Day, Muck lugs. I was trying on stumpy high-heeled round toed leather Mary Janes. I was saying to Peter: “These are Mini Mouse shoes I have to....ha have~ Then I heard a familiar sound coming from the radio~ “Oh Peter, it's me.. It's Beautiful People!!” “It's you Melanie, you and it's on the radio,how?”

I started to cry. The sales girl came over and asked if I was all right,
“Is it the shoe?” 
“No no it's not the shoe, it's me! What is that? Is that the radio?” 
"Yeah" (Like, I never heard one before)
“It's me! It's 'Beautiful People’, I wrote that song, it's my song” as the song fades on “I'm a beautiful people too.”  

Peter and I just stood in the middle of the shoe store locked in each other’s arms. The DJ announced, "and that was Melanie, with beautiful people... And this is Rosko on WNEW FM.” Peter and I got into a taxi Peter dropped me home and went off to see Rosko. Apparently the playing of a record that the record company wasn't promoting or even servicing radio stations, caught on.  Underground radio stations all over the country began to play Beautiful People. And it was called a “turntable hit”. This unfortunately is an obsolete radio term~ As virtually all radio is controlled by Clear Channel--one of the real-time names for big brother. This turntable hit would not be a possibility now.

But despite Clive Davis and the corporate-lawyer takeover approach to the record industry and music, ‘Beautiful People’ caught on like wildfire. Without a record in the stores, it was a hit, without record sales, even so, everyone knew Beautiful People, regardless. That in itself is a statistic I am proud of. I'm proud of us, as the message in the song is one of humanity, caring for one another.

The control mechanisms are now highly scientific and even with the freedom of Internet, so far. There is so much trash to wade through marketing, manipulation, to duck and dodge.

The us in us, is having a hard time identifying us. But I have great faith and believe that we, and I know who we are, and I am so fortunate to have had a great many life experiences that have helped me learn this "we” business, That we will see this as a time we took responsibility for the care of our planet.  And although I admit sometimes in the middle of one of these "life experiences" fortunate is not what I feel or might express, I emerge with the greater love.

"We are alone~ living with others, lovers, friends, sisters, brothers..."