Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Childhoods

Filling in with some background information during a letter-writing hiatus from October 6 to November 9, 1949, as June recuperates at the hospital from a ruptured appendix…

June lived in Patchogue then Riverhead;  Art grew up in Southampton.  They were 15 miles apart and completely unaware of each other – and would remain so until that much-later night in 1949 when “Some Enchanted Evening” played, bringing them together for the first time.

June and Art grew up in the depression.  They survived the Great Hurricane of 1938 which swept directly across the East End of Long Island, causing great devastation and claiming 70 lives.  June’s father always remembered braving the hurricane to bring June home from the grade school.  Over in Southampton, Art’s father saw slates blowing off the roof of the grade school so ran inside to tell the teachers to keep the children inside.  As he left, one of the teachers loaned him a hard hat to wear just to be safe.

Unfinished Art Price sketch,
in the style of Prince Valiant.
The first movie Art remembered seeing was King Kong at the Southampton Movie Theater in 1933.  He liked the matinees and the Tarzan movies most.  Other pleasures included the Sunday comics and the Prince Valiant series of Hal Foster, whose style he would sometimes imitate in his drawings.

There was a big tree behind the house in Riverhead.  June loved climbing it and would pretend she was a jungle princess.  As she moved from childhood to pre-teen, she developed a serious crush on movie actor Alan Ladd when This Gun for Hire came out.  June was 13 and Ladd’s sensitive tough guy look (wavy hair, quiet, gentle with kittens) appealed to her.  She wasn't alone.  All the girls thought he was dreamy.

June (third from left) with friends in front of
Riverhead High School.

(On Thursday, a gallery of faces…)

Countdown:  Correspondence resumes in 20 days.

© 2010 Lee Price

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