Tuesday 31 March 2020

The Olden Days Were Only Yesterday

Photo of Teri Garr as Inga in "Young Frankenstein", 1974
Hullo! Would you like a roll in the hay?

Everything we did, even last week, has now been relegated to the murky Olden Days. Is it time yet, Dear Reader, to reminisce about them? ... Of course! That's what this Blog is for, and today's little anecdote comes to you from my First Date. Do avert your eyes if B-movie dialogue is not your thing.

I was sitting on the front porch of my house one weekend, aged about 14, when an unknown boy pedalled up on his bicycle and stopped at our front gate.

"Hullo! Is your name Pipistrello?"


"Do you wanna go to the movies with me this afternoon?"

"Umm ... maybe. What's the movie?"

"I dunno but my dad can drive us."

"Oh, okay. I'll just ask my parents."

While the boy sat at the front gate on his bicycle, I went inside to ask permission.

"There's a boy outside who wants to go to the movies with me later. Can I go?"

My parents glance at one another.

"What's his name?"

"Umm ... I didn't ask."

Another glance, with some evident merriment being concealed. So I added:

"He said his dad can drive us."

"... Well, okay then ..."

Memory doesn't serve me with what transpired next but some Arrangements must have been come to as I do remember being driven to the Kogarah Mecca Cinema and home again with the Boy and I in the back seat of his father's car. Nor can I recall his name or if I saw him again. But I do remember so vividly being absolutely enchanted by the film he took me to: Young Frankenstein! 

The film was hysterically funny to my young teenaged self, so much that after the first surprising whack with a hard, orange chocolate and I had cottoned on to what was going on, I wasn't the least bit distracted by the Boy's two friends who sat diagonally behind us sniggering and throwing Jaffas at us, evidently trying to egg him on to put a hand around my shoulder, or some such nonsense that I was not having a bar of. Watch the movie, silly boys! Yes, it would appear that My First Date was another person's Dare, but I was left with a life-long love of Young Frankenstein.

"Hullo! Would you like a roll in the hay? It's fun! Roll, roll, roll in the hay! Roll, roll, roll in the hay!"

In these Socially Isolated times, the Youth of today and maybe even tomorrow are certainly getting a taste of life as lived by us as teenagers of old: nothing to do, nowhere to go, hanging out* in empty shopping centres and the like, just watching the proverbial tumbleweeds roll by.

Every day is like Sunday, sang Morrissey, and now it is again for us all.

But would the youth believe the crazy stories we can tell about the courtship traditions of the olden days; stalking one another on the trains and buses going to and from school, and sitting in cinemas watching films together? It's the stuff of Science Fiction!

* In groups of 2 and at arm's length, if you're following the rules in Australia as at today!

Image credit: via Google


  1. I was so bloody awkward. It's amazing I ever managed to get a date at all.

  2. Cro: Of course, there was rather a long wait for my next one! It was only because he was dared that the poor boy took the plunge to ask me out. As for my not even asking his name, I'd obviously not read any handbook on ladylike behaviour! Innocent times.

  3. we used to just hang around with some of the boys in our class at that age. We would all go to London in the holidays, a mixture of boys and girls. We would go to Madam Tussauds, or Battersea Funfair. We just had a laugh ! We made up for it by the time we were 17 though 😂🤣😂 !!!!
    I remember Young Frankenstein .... Marty Feldman always made me laugh, and Mel Brooks. XXXX

  4. What a sweet memory. Those days were so much fun. I remember walking out of my way to, hopefully, bummp into someone or taking two busses home, when one would have sufficed, to stalk someone else. Oh dear, such sweet innocence. I wonder what happened. Things are very different now.

  5. I clearly saw "Young Frankenstein" many years later. In 1974 I was 13 and certainly had not seen any movies but "Mary Poppins." I do recall being taken by my parents to some double features about the desert and something else, and it was so crowded we couldn't sit together and my incompetent brothers got to sit with my parents whereas I, as a responsible yet still young and terrified big sister, was deposited in some seat separated from them, spending the entire films in terror. Proof: It was in the early 1970s and the thought still chills my blood.
    I clearly remember "Young Frankenstein" being a laugh a minute (knockers!!!), so I clearly saw it MUCH later. The joys of the pre-Internet era, when films took an eternity to get to the hinterlands.
    I also recall being asked to go bowling with a guy named Joe Brown, and my parents not believing me for a second (although it was all true...my first time bowling, at a bowling alley in the BASEMENT OF A CATHOLIC CHURCH and the guy's name really was Joe Brown. I had a great time, totally innocent, I think he did too, but he was off to war or something and I never saw him again).
    If you liked "Young Frankenstein," check out "The Princess Bride."

  6. Teri Garr was brilliant in everything I've ever seen her in. And what an interesting film choice for a date that was!

  7. Jackie: How much fun that sounded, going up to London to see the sights! Taking the train into Town, a mere 8 or 10 stops away, was about as glamorous as it got in Sydney, but there were never any drawcard sights to take in and Sundays it was as dead as a doornail. But of course, things did get a bit more interesting as we crept closer to late adolescence! xx

    Loree: Yes, so innocent! More often than not, the object of one's interest was blithely unaware of a shadowing presence, in the same way as we'd be unaware of our being shadowed as well. It was all so clandestine and at the same time so hopeless!

    ToF: Joe Brown, a likely story, haha! And to think our parents actually let us go out with these unknown quantities. Bowling would have been pretty exciting to me, knowing all about it from "Happy Days" on the telly ... It certainly wasn't 1974 when I saw the film; suburban Sydney was quite the backwater and the cinema never had anything close to a new release. It was around 1980 and I can honestly only think of less than half a dozen films I'd seen in a cinema by that time. Well, only a handful that made an impression ... What a traumatic memory for you! And a major distraction to the films - something about the desert? I can't imagine what that might be for a family outing ... I will try to find "The Princess Bride"!

    Bea: Agree, she was so funny! ... I don't think there was any real choice to the matter. The suburban cinema only had one offering and it wasn't by any stretch a new release. I saw "Gone With The Wind" at the same cinema a couple of years later, on another date! I rather fancy the cinema considered itself a bit art-house. But it was directly opposite the train station we used for the schools in the area and I recall looking at it wistfully while standing on the train platform, so I suspect the Boy and his friends hatched their cunning plan from the station.


  9. Contessa: I haven't seen it in ages so will be hunting it down for another mirthful viewing over the next few weeks. Such a boon we no longer have to tramp to the video rental shoppe to access films for home! xx

  10. Those awkward teenage moments. Charming story and remember seeing '10' with Bo Derek with my best friend his older step-sis (who resembled and had Farrah Fawcett's 'do) and our school's reigning beauty/head cheerleader. My friend and I were 16 and the girls were seniors and 18ish and it wasn't a date by any means but the then racy R movie and the 2 great beauties and trying desperately not to appear intimidated while gawking at Bo Derek frolic naked made for a memorable evening.
    Mel Brooks had a big following and saw YF and thought it only OK and Blazing Saddles still has a cult following but I wasn't keen. He did have a funny story he famously told about Cary Grant on the Johnny Carson show which I rate higher than his movies.

  11. GSL: Oh, the not-a-date to see "10" certainly deserves memorable status! And with a girl with the Farrah Fawcett Flick, to boot! I can only imagine the sort of conversation afterward, trying to seem like you take these things in your stride because you're always off seeing racy films with older women ... Teri Garr really made the film for me, but I will always have a soft spot for absurdist humour.

  12. Ha! Courtship rituals of the “olden days” indeed. I didn’t really date in high school — I was a nerd. I didn’t really date in college – I went to an all women’s college. (I did hop a bus from time to time on weekends into a city with plenty of men around in my senior year, but that wasn’t dating really.)

    In the years before I married, mostly I worked and traveled for work and worked and traveled for work and my occasional dates sometimes involved meeting in an airport en route to somewhere – not conducive to going to the movies. (I met my husband on an international flight. Both of us were on work trips.)

    Even so, I remember the concept of dinner and a movie fondly! I especially remember that there was no expectation of hooking up with someone you really didn’t know. (Never mind swiping left right up or down to find a bed partner for the night. But hey, no judgment. I sowed a few oats after divorce. Safely.)


  13. DAW: The reality for me, too, was that dating didn't happen until Uni, when I finally got to meet some of the opposite sex after an all girls' high school. Up until then, there were a couple of boys to hang out with that were met at Venturers (the co-ed thing after Scouts & Guides) or in the neighbourhood. The public transport commute to and fro school didn't amount to anything beyond exposure to pheromones ... I once worked with a woman who really only spent time with her husband in airport lounges around the world as ships passing. That, too, is now the stuff of science fiction! ... And, of course, I was fortunate to have met Mr P. in the pre-online dating days, for which I am eternally grateful. Else Your Correspondent would be reporting back from Life as an eternal single!

  14. When I was in high school, we had a party game where a boy and girl sat back-to-back on separate chairs. If at the end of the music, they turned their heads towards the same wall, they got to kiss. If they turned their heads in opposite directions, there was no kiss.

    The most lovely boy kept inviting me to play the game with him.... I got lots of kisses :) Thank you, Geoff :)

  15. Hels: What a sweet memory! And how delightful you remember Geoff's name!


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