The Beatles and the Saris

Five or six colorful saris appeared in my family when I was four.  I have no idea where they came from, maybe from one of my dad’s graduate students.  We did all sorts of things with them, but they didn’t seem like clothes to us.  They were taller than the ceiling; their length seemed miraculous.  Their most magical incarnation was when we hung them over exposed pipes in the basement.  Suddenly our play area was transformed from a grubby semi-furnished room with an old linoleum floor, a fraying patch of carpet, and a dusty couch, to a place of flowy mystery.  We swirled between and around these diaphanous silks, thin enough to see through, their colors muting everything on the other side.  Flecks of gold and thread patterns grazed our cheeks as we slid through burgundy, chartreuse, sky blue saris.

I think some of them were still hanging when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan the first time.  Our whole family came down to the basement to watch, which made this an event.  My father sat on the floor, the television light flickering on his horn rims; my mother sat on the arm of the couch where my older sisters hugged pillows.  My brother and I danced.  I was four; he was six; we were in constant motion.  The saris swayed behind me as I moved my hips from side to side, transfixed by the bouncing young men and their happy music.

I’m making some of this up.  The carpet might not have been there yet; we’d only been in our house for two months then.  Maybe we’d hung the saris because there was so little in that basement.  Maybe we all sat on the floor because there was no couch yet.  One or two saris must have come down so we could all see the TV.  Or maybe the saris were gone by then, but my memory has conflated the magic saris with the magic band.

What I do remember:  a dark room, all six of my family members together, my parents joining us kids to watch TV, a rare thing.  My mother’s enjoyment of the music, and, perhaps, of all of us being together.  My father as part of the fun.  This, this is what was so rare, my father joining in, not leading, not telling us what to do, not correcting us.  We all loved the Beatles from that day on, or that’s what it felt like.  At least, my dad didn’t object to them.  He allowed this joy in our house, at least that one day, and maybe the next time the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan too.  And maybe the next two times after that.

About aliceinbloggingland

I am starting a blog in order to establish a regular writing habit, with readers. Enjoy!
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