By DAVID GREEN
I guess I would have to describe it as a dream within a dream. What I mean is that I knew I was dreaming when I was dreaming.
I woke at 5 a.m. Monday morning and my mind kicked into gear. I figured I was done for, the sleep had ended for the night and I was going to be a couple hours short on a busy Monday. That’s not good.
I did end up at least an hour short, maybe 90 minutes, but I got back to sleep and that’s when the dreams kicked in.
My wife and I were walking across the parking lot behind Dunbar’s. She suddenly turned and jumped up so her legs were wrapped around my waist and she leaned back, held parallel to the ground by holding onto my hands.
I suppose we might have been capable of such a parking lot performance sometime in our past, but this was pure dream stuff. There would be serious injuries if she pulled that stunt today.
In the dream I was laughing so hard that it was drawing the attention of a lot of people coming out of the library, including a kid who stopped to help hold her up. He thought she must have been injured in a fall and I was trying to help her across the parking lot.
The same dream included an episode of swinging around on a cable behind the Deli. Big, wide arcs onto a non-existent lower roof behind Ken Fether’s shop, then out across the parking lot and looping back to the Deli.
And then daughter Maddie was walking across the parking lot to the library. This was Maddie of age two or three.
She walked into the library and Brenda Laskowski picked her up for a few seconds. I haven’t seen Brenda since I don’t when, although she did work at the library for a time back in the 1980s.
I told Brenda that Maddie is actually in her second year in college. It was understood that this wasn’t the current Maddie. It was Maddie past. Brenda put her down and off Maddie walked into the library.
“Let’s see where she’s going to take you,” I told Brenda who followed her in.
Maddie set off walking like a two-year-old walks and I could feel the tears forming in my eyes. I hadn’t seen that walk in so long.
Next she lay down next to a couple of her friends, one of whom was blowing bubbles, and I was sitting on a library bench sobbing as I watched her, but knowing I was just dreaming about her.
There’s a lot of material here for a dream analyst to pore over, but I don’t bother with all of that. We spent some time Sunday evening with Maddie; I dreamt about her a few hours later.
The remainder? That’s just typically weird dream stuff.
We were an Ed Sullivan family.
Every Sunday night we were there on the sofa to watch that strange man and his eclectic entertainment.
I heard an interview Saturday morning on “Weekend Edition” with Gerald Nachman who has a new book about Ed Sullivan, called “Right Here on Our Stage Tonight.”
Nachman says that Sullivan appeared to be a very conservative man, but really wasn’t. He was a lower middle class Irish Catholic married to a Jewish woman. If certain acts were left out of the mix, it was due to his effort to protect the show.
But think of the acts he did have—plate spinners, tumblers, drill teams, ventriloquists, even the Beatles and Elvis Presley. And Peg Leg Bates, Pigmeat Markham, Topo Gigio, Senor Wences.
Nachman says Sullivan hired a lot of acts that mainstream American TV wouldn’t touch, it all went together to create something unheard of today: a show the entire family enjoyed.
From the grandparents to the kids, everyone watched, Nachman said. “But the kids watching that show would be exposed to comedians, they'd be exposed to ballet dancers and opera singers and every level of culture, and their parents, by the same token, would be exposed to rock singers. And so he really did kind of knit the family together on Sunday nights, for an hour anyway.”
The show was a prism of what America was like in the 50s and 60s, Nachman said. “We can tell a lot about country by what they choose to amuse themselves with.”
When I go to bed tonight and get ready for the dreams, I’ll think of Ed Sullivan and say, “We have a really big shew tonight, a really big shew.”