Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hurry Daddy!

When The Beatles hit the scene in Choteau, Montana....I was in the 4th grade. My father made good money as a supervisor for a drilling company, and mom ran a restaurant...chief cook and bottlewasher! She brought the all night smorgasbord to Choteau, Montana. (this is the town where Dave Letterman married his wife, in the past 5 years or so).

Anyway....us kids were often at the restaurant... peeling potatoes, chopping veggies, running the dishwasher. This one night though...The Beatles were going to be on Ed Sullivan. It was Sunday night at 6 pm, Mountain time. My father was helping mom and I begged him to take me home. "Please daddy...take me home. The Beatles are going to be on Ed Sullivan in 30 minutes. He kind of laughed but then I began to cry. "Please ..take me home to see Ed Sullivan". He did. Maybe my bro and sisters were there too..but I don't recall. We lived a mile outside of town. It was February 9th, 1964.

I raced into the house and turned on the "blonde b&w television, with the record player in the bottom". Whew! We made it. Ed Sullivan started and there they were! Then...the lights went out a few minutes later. It was winter and this often happened. I began to fret. My father was so kind..."it's okay..it will come back on like always...be patient." The electricity came back on like 2 minutes before The Beatles began singing again. My father watched me in awe...I recall that. I was just so happy he brought me home...and that he listened to me.....and especially that he didn't make fun of me. BTW....I was never a screamer.

The Beatles had been a nice and welcome distraction from all that had happened in November of 1963. My mother had been badly burned and was hospitalized. She had a long and painful recovery. Later on that month, President Kennedy was shot and then we were watching tv when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot. Mom had taken us kids out of school in September to go see Kennedy in Great Falls, Montana, which was about 50 miles SE of Choteau. I just adored the president. Wonder if 4th graders even know who the president is these days?

Anyway...my young love for The Beatles (John Lennon) kept my mind busy. A good thing, because we ended up in one of the worst floods in Montana history--early June of 1964. Many Native Americans were killed in and near Browning...but not much was mentioned in the news about it. :( I'll never forget the horror of that flood. We watched this huge wall of water come closer to us as my father raced through town and up the hill, we were all yelling, "hurry daddy!." We looked back to see the water spilling over Choteau..like a tsunami. We could see the horses and cows in the fields below trying to outrun the raging, muddy waters...but they couldn't. We watched it hit our house...which was on the outskirts of town. My sister held our yellow Cat tightly as dad arrived on safe ground...the tiny town of Farmington...and the gym that would be many resident's "home-sweet-home" for a time.

The aftermath of that flood was the beginning of the end for my parents...which is a story for another time.


Marcia said...

hmmm...a lot there I didn't know about you!

Peg said...

omg, the flood! what a horrible memory for a little kid.

I am impressed by your timeline. I must be two years older and there's no way I could put those events in order. Of course, I remember them all. Paul McCartney was just in Pittsburgh to open the new hockey arena. I've passed up many concerts because I hate being in a crowd, always saying that I would go to see him and now I've passed him up twice. I don't like sitting by strangers.

TaraDharma said...

Great post, Mel. What a couple of years you had there. Yes, how great that your dad listened to you, and honored you! That's the best part.

Anonymous said...

I remember hearing people talk about the flood. I was born 4 years later and grew up in Teton County. Small world . . .