There Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues!

Category: Weekly Columns

Do you remember that great Eddie Cochran song, “Summertime Blues” from the fifties? Originally a single B-side, it peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 29, 1958. Cochran died at the tender age of 21 in a taxi accident in England. The song is ranked #73 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. But, enough of the music history lesson as it’s another summer and another 10 weeks wondering what the boys will be doing, as well as the family as a whole.

Each summer poses unique challenges for parents and kids. This summer is no different for my family as we’re moving sometime just before school starts in the fall.  Everyone knows about the joys of moving and we’re happy with the new house that we think we have. The deal is yet to close, as of this writing, but it’s looking good.  The prospect of moving again, just two years after our last move, isn’t a likely highlight of this summer.  We have some minor work to do on the new house, though my experience is it’s never “minor.”

My younger son, Aaron, goes to summer camp each year and absolutely loves it.  He’s developed summer friends that he stays in touch with all year long but only sees during each summer’s four-week camp session.  They’re growing up together, it seems, summer after summer.  So, for him, that will be the highlight of his summer, plus he loves sleeping and staying up late without the burden of school.

Will, my older son, however, has faced an unexpected change of plans for his summer.  Responding to an advertisement on the job bulletin board at his high school, he applied and got a job at a to-be-opened (national) fast food franchise.  He went through the whole process of job interview, acceptance, video, and even buying his “uniform,” per their instructions.

His start date was constantly postponed and, needless to say, he began to worry and I began to get suspicious.  Five of his fellow high-schoolers were all hired at the same time. Will soon heard that one of them, a good friend of his, got a “you’re fired” letter that contained no reasonable explanation for the dismissal.  As a result, my son visited their new location and asked both the owner and manager what was going on.  He was also told that he was fired, too.

This devastated my son who, at 16, was seeking more financial independence and had planned his summer around this promised job.  Now, in a funk, he will have to re-group and see if at this late date, in June, there are any summer jobs still available for teens.  It’s a life lesson, but one I’d preferred he learned a bit later in his young life and certainly after he’d gotten some job experience under his belt.

I’ve written to the franchise headquarters twice and haven’t gotten the courtesy of a reply.  I’ve also written our local paper, hoping they’ll publish my letter telling the story about how this new franchise so poorly treated our local kids.

I’d like the kids that were hired to actually organize a picket of this particular franchise, as it may teach them a lesson in peaceful protesting. It could also possibly get the attention of the parent company to make this right, in the form of some compensation for the lost summer wages as well as having the new franchise owners maybe apologize for such shoddy treatment of our local kids, especially after soliciting them directly.  We’ll see if my son gets over his funk and chooses to fight back.  I hope he does.

Each summer, for all my boys’ lives, we’ve taken a summer trip of some kind.  This may be the first summer we don’t–at least not as a whole family.  My wife will likely go to visit her family since an uncle and his wife are having a 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration shortly after he’s recently had to have his leg amputated from an infection.  Life always has its moments–the bright ones and the scary ones.  My wife wants to celebrate this bright occasion and will likely bring our younger son with her on a short weekend trip, while my older son and I continue to deal with the move and refurbishing of the new house.

I plan to continue working on getting my radio show as good as possible and hopefully secure some sponsors, which means knocking on doors and putting on my sales hat yet again.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, though I wore that hat for many years, in one capacity or another, during my showbiz career.

So, in the inimitable words of the late Eddie Cochran, “Sometimes I wonder what I’m a gonna do, but there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.”