Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Things will be great when you’re downtown

Thursday, February 4, 2021
Things will be great when you’re downtown

There’s nothing like Facebook to remind me that living in the good old days is not so bad.

One of my earliest memories was when I was three years old, standing up in the middle of the front seat of our family’s station wagon, driving around Littlefield, Texas, while listening to Petula Clark sing Downtown on the radio. Also, I was only wearing panties because I was famously allergic to clothing.

I was a happy child. In those days our safety restraint was our mother’s arm thrown across our chest, if she was quick. My mother was very quick and by high school I believed that a lack of seat belts was the reason I was flat-chested.

Those are several jailable offenses in one car ride in this day and age, but in 1969, it was a dog-eat-dog world and we were just surviving while smoking on airplanes and playing lawn darts.

The few other things I remember are mostly projector-like flashes of events - our babysitter cutting switches off a tree to beat us with. Her name was Mrs. Glover and she was like 150 years old in my estimation. I also remember my older brother and sisters and I playing in the back yard on a slip and slide all day only to discover that night we had slipped and slid over a baby bird until it was technically a Flatsy. And I remember the boy named Angel who lived down the street and rode a blue sparkly bicycle with a steering wheel in the place of handle bars.

But riding around mostly-naked in the front seat of an Oldsmobile Satellite Sebring station wagon shaking my money maker to Downtown is a highlight for sure.

It dawned on me if that were today, my mother’s face and my bare chest would probably be blasted all over somebody’s Rants and Raves Facebook page, and she would be duly shamed until she didn’t want to show her face in public again. I, on the other hand, would have been three years old and cared less about my Jezebel reputation at that point.

Those were great days, and I can still belt out Downtown like only I can. But these days, if I’m in the car, I’m usually dressed.

To be honest, I joined Facebook in about 2008 as a means to legally and quietly stalk my children. We all know what Facebook has morphed into, but in my mind I still just want to talk about babies and weddings and funny stuff. I’m not there to shame people, or to point out where the “doer of deeds could have done them better,” (Thank you, Teddy Roosevelt), but to engage in a happy way.

We used to engage with each other ‘downtown’ so to speak, because according to Petula Clark, everything is great when you got there. No judgement - come naked or clothed - and things will be great ... when you’re downtown.

I believe Petula.

I hope when this pandemic is over, we can all jump in our cars dressed in enough clothes to stay out of jail, and go to a downtown street dance because, also according to Petula, “ We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares, so go Downtown.”

I need me some of those kinds of memories.