Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dick Clark, 1957, and me

I graduated from Lower Merion High School in 1957. Every year, the guidance counselors arranged a career day during which people from various occupations would talk to groups of students.

One year, I signed up for the TV and radio seminar. The featured guest was Dick Clark. That was not as big a stretch as one might imagine. He worked at WCAU-TV which was, and still is, about 3 miles from the High School. He was personable and charming and talked about "batching it" for the week while his wife was away. He romanticized the TV and radio industry and I knew, right then, that a career in broadcasting was for me. Don't laugh. The inspiration that Dick Clark gave me led to my joining the WXPN radio staff at the University of Pennsylvania as an on air personality, for a while. I digress a little. My most favorite interview on WXPN was with Jimmy DePriest. And after that, my own attention to music went from interviewing and talking to playing and practicing the cello. I played in all the Penn musicals, the Penn orchestra, and I was the first "girl" to play in the Mask and Wig (the all male shows) orchestra. They were really desperate for a cellist.

Back to Dick Clark. We have watched the "Dick Clark Rockin' New Years Eve" TV show every year since its inception. But, midnight is on the late side for us. We usually are asleep by 10:00 for sure, and sometimes by 8:00. The phone is turned off in our bedroom and any calls after 8:00 go to the answering machine. So, we tape New Years Eve and watch the ball drop in New York's Time Square the next day, on January 1. The emotion of the moment is real. Some years, the feelings that are aroused are more alive than others, but I cry every time.

And, it will not be next year, until we hear Dick Clark count down to the new year.
I frequently remembeer the very young Dick Clark of 1957, and each year, I am grateful to Dick Clark and the welcoming of the new year with all the hopes and aspirations that come with the leaving of the old and the coming in of the new.

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