All the girls in France do the Hoochie Coochie Dance
The place is Denville, New Jersey. The time will show itself shortly. I am the age from where memories either double helix or disappear. I was smitten with this song and sang it when I played in the yard, outside of my mother’s hearing.
And the way they shake is enough to kill a snake
Girls in France killing snakes with their dancing. I believed it.
On Saturdays we had a babysitter while my mom went to the high school football games my dad coached. What a love story, those two. The babysitter invited all the kids in the neighborhood into our cellar to watch the black and white scary movies that came on after cartoons.
When my husband and I were house hunting, he’d check the cellar for me, if he came up looking serious, we’d leave.
When the snake is dead they put roses in its head
This honoring of the enemy, I felt the gravity of it.
The trees in our backyard offered low leafy shade. I know they were Maples because they sent out helicopters in the spring. I don’t remember what kind of trees were in the front only that on Sundays in the fall, my dad raked their leaves into piles. Later the assistant coaches would come by in their short sleeve shirts and Vince Lombardi glasses to watch films. A small black and white square of the previous day’s game projected onto a fold-up screen with a soft tick tick tick forward and a loud TOCK TOCK TOCK in reverse. Forward went the players, then backward into their crouching line, forward and backward, forward and backward, as the coaches studied history, again and again.
When the roses die
I knew the trees would get their leaves again, but those purposeful roses? No tock tock tocking them back to life. And here is how I know I was four years old.
They say Nineteen sixty, nineteen sixty, nineteen sixty, FIVE.
In the driveway across the street was a pale shimmer green Ford Mustang, a brand new thing that year, a dream then, as it is now.