Enormous flocks of people gathered to be part of the historic Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Marches from cities all over the country and around the world were held. The prognosticators were knocked off their highfaluting expert status when they learned of the numbers of women and men who attended.
I was proud of all those who went out of their way to take part.
If I had such good feelings, why didn’t I show that I believe in the march and put my feet together, join the marchers and support their causes? Why did I choose not to attend?
The answer to that question originates from a traumatic experience I had many years ago.
I was a teenager in Queens, New York. Word got around about a big rock concert that was to be held at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The most popular performers in the country would be participating for one day.
Groups with the current hit songs of the day, like the Cleftones (who recorded “Can’t We Be Sweethearts” and “Heart and Soul’),
“The Teenagers” (who were students at my school, Jamaica High) who recorded the hit, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” (“The Teenagers” used to sing at Jamaica High’s basketball games.)
The Shirelles, a woman’s rock group from nearby Passaic, New Jersey. Their big hit was “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”
But most important to me, was that my idol, Eddie Fisher,
who was to become the husband of Debbie Reynolds and father of Carrie Fisher, was to perform that day. I’ve heard of True Love, but I suffered with True Crush. And a powerful teen aged crush was nothing to scoff at. Remember that Romeo and Juliet were teen agers and you know what happened to them!.
At the time Eddie Fisher had his own television show on NBC. He would sometimes take a break at the NBC commissary. One day I was at the commissary and saw him at a table across the room. My shy, insecure teen aged self was outvoted by the teen in love persona, as I boldly propelled my body from my seat and strode over to his table. There was a line of admirers by the time I reached my goal, asking for autographs. When I approached Eddie, he looked me straight in the eye, reached for a photograph of himself and wrote, “How do You Speak to an Angel.” Doesn’t that give you butterflies? But he was merely writing the name of his latest record, not complimenting me!
So now I was going to a show in New York for another chance to see him. I was in heaven!
But when my friends and I got to the theater we were confronted with crowds larger than I had ever seen. Teens were swarming around the entrance door, pushing and screaming in their frenzy to be admitted into the theater.
A strange sound entered the fray; dozens of horse hoofs resounded on the pavement. Suddenly a group of policemen on horseback approached the theater threateningly, toward the large group of teens. They kept maneuvering the horses closer and closer to the long, cheering line of us until there was no room to move, no chance to get out of the crowd, no way to escape the mobs of fans. We were herded off the street and closer to the building. It was the most frightening feeling I had ever known; total helplessness in the wake of those powerful animals and pulsing bodies pushing against us. I couldn’t move or run. I was engulfed and paralyzed in the middle of the swarm: as helpless as a little bug trapped in dripping of sap from a tree.
When all the bedlam ended I eventually gained entry to the theater with my friends, still shaking from the experience of being almost crushed by the surging wall of teenagers desperate to see the show.
I have avoided crowds ever since that day. And I will continue to avoid them unless Eddie Fisher is resurrected and is ready to sing for us once more.