It’s July – It’s 1964 – You’re A Teenager – It’s The Family Road Trip – It’s Seeing America – It’s Seeing Canada – It’s About To Be A Long-Distance Romance.
CFPL – Dick Williams Show – London, Ontario – July 6, 1964.
The family road trip – that thing you’ve done every Summer since before you started walking. Your dad piled on enough sick days and vacation days from work, so every year it was three weeks off and a high speed chase across the country; first going the southerly route and then going the northerly route across Canada. You have visited virtually every national park in the country, have stayed at most of them and have boxes of pictures and home movies to prove it.
But you’re fifteen this year and hanging out with your parents doesn’t quite work for you anymore. The idea of spending three weeks with your mom and dad and your little brother, stuck inside the Plymouth Suburban, staring out the window all day doesn’t really appeal. You don’t want to go to Toronto, you want to go to Station 8 and smoke cigarettes and stare at girls and maybe, just maybe meet one. You are ready to go exploring and that doesn’t mean cave dwellings in Mesa Verde.
Your mom casually reminds you it’s your dad’s vacation, you’ve done this every year and, to top it off, you’re not old enough to be on your own, capping it with “when you’re eighteen . . .” – so you reluctantly go.
Dragging yourself out of bed at 4 in the morning so you can “get an early start”, you pile into the family car and head east. And for the next six days it’s Howard Johnson’s, Travelodge’s and every radio station between Palm Springs and New York City, filling your head with everything from Buck Owens to Millie Small – over and over and over; from one town to the next, fading out of one, fading into the other.
Finally you make it to New York, and you jam a week’s worth of World’s Fair into a day before you pile back into the car and head north and west across Canada.
Everything is going along fine until that “funny smell” invades the car and everything grinds to a halt just outside London Ontario.
You spend more than the usual one day in any town while the car gets a new radiator and you are left with pretty much nothing to do. Your brother managed to make himself sick eating too much licorice, so your mom is busy with him as he takes up residency on the toilet, getting rid of everything he’s eaten for the past week. You remark the timing is good since it was better getting sick in a motel than on the road in the car and you were lucky the funny smell was the radiator and not him. Nobody seems amused so you decide to take a walk and see what life in London Ontario is like.
You wind up in the Record Department at Woolco at a place called The Argyle Mall. You have an allowance that’s burning a hole in your pocket and you’ve recently started collecting records.
When you arrive at the cash register, holding your copy of A Hard Days Night, the girl behind the counter informs you they don’t take American money. You don’t really hear anything she’s saying because you are mesmerized by her face. It is an amazing face and you have fallen instantly in love with it.
And for the next few hours, until the store closes, you are inseparable. She’s your age. She just started this job for the summer and no, she doesn’t have a boyfriend. You are convinced; this is no infatuation, you could seriously spend the rest of your life with her. And you get a sense that she feels the same way.
You may explode or at least self-combust from sheer excitement as you wind your way back to your motel. She is a sensational kisser. Your brain is on overdrive. You cannot believe your luck and you can’t wait to tell your friends.
And to think; you wanted to stay home and hang out in Santa Monica. You have her number – she has yours. You promise to call each other every night when you get back to L.A. – the world has endless possibilities.
At least for now.
And as background music – over 2 1/2 hours of Dick Williams Show at CFPL in London, Ontario from July 6, 1964.