Cheddar Cheese and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Full Stomach, Fuller Heart

(an occasional series)

Marc was my first official immigrant friend. Not that he was all that “immigranty” (he was American-born). But his parents, escapees from German-occupied Poland, were wonderfully immigranty. I listened with awe to the story of Marc’s mother’s escape: after secretly watching the Nazis murder her family (she was the youngest), she’d fled in a makeshift hammock beneath a train. Later, in London, she met and married Marc’s father, a Polish Jew, like her, and a freedom-fighter-turned-movie-actor. Ironically, he was nearly always cast as a Nazi. But he proudly informed everyone that his movies played a vital role in sustaining the British war effort.

Still, like me, Marc was born in peaceful post-war suburbia. It was music that bound us together. We met in drama class and discovered we both played guitar, too. So we started rehearsing and writing songs after school. For a time, that meant jumping into Marc’s ratty old 50-something Chevy, stopping at the supermarket, and then heading over to his house. As a prelude to rocking out, we’d fix ourselves a “snack” made up of a half-pound patty melt and half-a-package of Kraft Mac-and- Cheese. Each! Somehow, we didn’t morph into zitty little blimps (well, OK, zitty, but not blimps). Through the miracle of teenage-boymones, we burned it all off by dinnertime. Of course, playing guitar and practicing our rock star moves helped with the calorie-burning.

Marc’s House became my second home, his parents the unofficial den parents of our first, short-lived band. As well as our second life-changing band The Daily Planet (all of whom remain dear friends). From Marc’s parents I learned a smattering of Yiddish (“Oy!” still pops out whenever I’m annoyed or amused), and to love kosher food. My mouth still waters for a real bagel and schmear (real bagels are boiled and dense–the way to tell is that they break your toe if you drop one on it). Oh, yeah, and a big bowl of borscht afloat with sour cream!

I still love cheese. And Marc. And even though decades have passed, those years of cheddar cheese and rock ‘n’ roll are still burned into my heart…


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Cheddar Cheese and Rock ‘n’ Roll

  1. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Love the personal stories. Great stuff. Not cheesy at all…or is it? Have a great week, brother In Christ,


    Liked by 4 people

  2. Also great to read about your memories, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elitsa says:

    This is so beautiful, Mitch! ❤ To freedom, friendships, and cheese. But the Bulgarian white cheese – the real one, of course. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Big Happy Life says:

    Such a heartwarming read! I loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing story! I enjoyed it immensely. Keep them coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was wondering how the cheese was going to enter the rock ‘n’ roll. Now I know!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a gift it is to have life-long friends to treasure. Thanks for the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Linda Lee/Lady Quixote says:

    Wow, Mitch. You haven’t changed a bit!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Carla says:

    I love hearing about you exploits growing up. You had such a fascinating life.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. revruss1220 says:

    Great story! Thanks for sharing it. Somehow music forges bonds that endure, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. exhebdenmick says:

    Great stuff Mitch! It reminds me of my first immigrant friend Tony, the son of a Windrush couple from Jamaica. They moved in next door to us in South London and it was a whole cultural education for me. We became inseparable and listened to hours of music together. His parents were the sweetest folk you could imagine.
    Emile Ford, The Drifters, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Happy days.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sherry says:

    Thanks for sharing! I do remember the Daily Planet!

    Liked by 1 person

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