(Note to Readers: Usually The Rant has a more sober content, but today’s post will be a little light-hearted and reminiscent of days gone by.)
The year was 1958. Those were the halcyon days of our youth. Johnny Mathis was crooning, Elvis was swinging his hips, and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand was the most-watched afterschool show on television.
My mom was a renegade. She had to be the first in her neighborhood to have a TV, the first to have a hi-fi, and, of course, the first whose daughters would appear on American Bandstand! So she set about getting her twin daughters to have their 15 minutes of fame. On a cold November in 1958 my mom and dad drove us up to Philadelphia – a place I’d never been to – and dropped us off in front of the AB studios. Of course, we were nervous. Two naive girls, from a small West Virginia town, in the big city of Philadelphia!
Mom knew that to get on the show and be interviewed by Dick Clark, we needed to have a gimmick. So mom, ever resourceful, had gone to The Greenbrier Hotel and went to the Spring House to fill up a jar (jelly jar, no less) of healing water. The Greenbrier had been a place that the southern elite from Richmond and its environs came in the summer to “take the waters”. Since 1778 The Greenbrier had been “healing” the infirm with its sulfur waters, so surely Dick Clark would want to have a jar of it. Right? So, there we were – in Philadelphia, on American Bandstand, talking to Dick Clark!! Giving him a jar of water!! OMG! This was a BIG DEAL. I don’t remember anything else that day but I’m sure when we got back home all our friends were envious. Our “15 minutes of fame” probably caused us to be a little more popular, at least for a while.
When I read that Dick Clark had passed away, my first thought was – oh, I forgot – we were on American Bandstand. I need to tell this story. Most of the younger crowd knew Dick Clark from New Years Rockin’ Eve, but my memories were from 54 years ago! Dick Clark was transformational. He was a visionary. Those days of the 1950s are gone – thank heavens! But Dick Clark’s legacy will live on……