All children think their parents are old, but mine always were, exceptionally so. Obviously, they weren’t born old, but they were old when I was born. By the time I became conscious of age and generational differences, they were already in their fifties. That’s the way it was, only the future was always approached with a glance to past horizons that, despite hardship and deprivations, always glowed with the warmth of familiarity.
Because of my parents’ age, I missed several generations of popular culture: Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Anthony Eden, Ban the Bomb, Big Bands. Beatniks. My parents missed them, too. My points of reference were Fred Astaire, the Gershwins, Bette Davis, Charlie Chaplin, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby. Not a problem unless I ran into a parent of one of my school friends or a friend would meet my parents. That was always a shock for everyone. When my parents dressed up to go out for the evening, they always looked like Nick and Nora or any movie couple from the thirties. Mum wore lots of rabbit fur and hats with feathers and smelled of talc, and Lew always wore double-breasted suits with baggy trousers. He was always clean shaved, always had a short back and sides hair cut brilliantined like Ramon Navarro – whoever he was.
Romania, and the Power of People
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