Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Poor Vaughn blog.

I haven’t been to Florida on vacation since 1982. I’ve been as recently as January 2004, but that was business, with only flecks of true travel thrown in. If everything goes according to plan, the whole family will travel to central Florida early this spring. This trip is predicated on using frequent-flier tickets on both Southwest and ATA, so setting it up was complicated, but I was able to do that today.

I think I was between diaries when I first went to Florida, on spring break in early March of ’82, so I don’t have access to a written record. But I remember certain parts of it fairly well. I went with five other Vanderbilt students, but against student stereotype—then as now—we were a phlegmatic group, attending no drunken revels nor doing anything illegal while staying at a condo in St. Petersburg owned by the grandmother of one of our party. We were on the sober coast, I suppose, compared with the likes of Ft. Lauderdale.

Still, I remember that trip fondly. It was a decompression from our studies. We went to the beach. We ate meals together and separately. We read. We played cards or other games. I took walks in the neighborhood; I always do that, if it’s feasible; and nobody minded. We even drove to Disneyworld one day, which is to say the Magic Kingdom, the only thing there at the time. That inoculated me against going there again. Not that I had a bad time, I just concluded that once in a lifetime was enough. (Yuriko will be taking Lilly there one day soon, while I take Ann elsewhere. We’re already talked about that.)

At one point we unearthed a cache of records owned by the grandmother, and one of these was a disk, then 20 years old, that featured comic impressions of the Kennedy family. We listened with some amusement, some bemusement, especially when it came to the detailed jokes about the Jackie’s outrageously expensive evening clothes. “Twenty years from now, no one’s going to understand jokes about Nancy Reagan’s astrologer,” one of us said. No doubt.

It wasn’t until last year that I remembered listening to that disk, because I read the obituary of the man who did the Kennedy impressions on it, Vaughn Meader. He made two comic Kennedy records, and we got a hold of one of them, I couldn’t say which. As you’d expect, his career as a Kennedy impersonator came to a sudden end one day, and apparently his career as a comedian never found another anchor. A classic case of all your eggs in a single basket that gets crushed by a falling anvil, in Warner-cartoon style.


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