Rancho Park Laetoli

In the very living wet concrete, a small party of Homo Sapiens left their tracks. Careful analysis of the available evidence places this event definitively in the Early Middle Elvis Epoch.  That is, it was after he had left Sun Records for RCA, but before he enlisted in the U.S. Army--which pins it down to 1957.

A few particulars are suggested by the evidence.  First of all, we seem to have here a family, comprising the parents and two daughters.

First, the mother:

And little Carol, the youngest:

Older sister Wendy:

and Dad, apparently known to friends and family as Coop:


 They stopped here in 1957 and carefully left the impressions of their right feet.  One of the youngsters left her right hand print too, just above the date: August 1957.  


What does this astonishing discovery tell us about the life of these humans of the remote past, so long ago?  Besides their erect posture and the highly evolved structure of their hands,  it does seem that both parents have slightly  flat feet, possibly due to standing up all day.  Possibly they were teachers, although presumably not at the Catholic girls' academy across the street.  Bea's foot seems almost as big as Coop's, and wider, but that could just be an accident with regard to how she made the impression in the wet concrete.  Or it could have been a later distortion, made before it had set. 

The Early Middle Elvis Epoch was in many respects a stultifying one with respect to the mainstream culture.  Rock music had gotten rolling, but in the eyes of many it was just a trend already on the wane, and in any case of interest only to teenagers. This was a straitlaced era, in which you did not write graffiti or leave footprints in wet pavement. There was no time for such foolishness, because the Communist threat was everywhere. You didn't want to stand out from the crowd, especially by defacing public property, and most especially as a family, all in one place and at the same time.  Just think of the children!  What kind of example does that set? 

Well, I think it sets an excellent one.  There's nothing wrong, in my opinion, with bending the rules a bit in a spirit of innocent fun, especially with one's kids. Bea and Coop could be great-grandparents by this time--or at least grandparents, and it's gratifying to think that today they can bring their grandchildren to this spot and show them that there were some fun loving and free spirited adults--parents, yet--even in the Early Middle Elvis Epoch.  On the other hand, whether it's 1957 or 2013, there are always some self-righteous prigs who consider themselves personally affronted by such innocent pranks.  They should get a life. 

To Bea, Coop, Carol, and Wendy: If you read this, I don't think anyone will come after you for your wet cement graffiti act.  And thank you from the bottom of my heart for brightening my day.

The subject of urban sidewalk archaeology also came up a couple of years back, right about here.

No comments:

Post a Comment