Claudine Jones
Scene4 Magazine-inView

october 2006

Hot for Tonto

The first television images I remember
are accompanied by the rousing strains
of the WilliamTell overture
a powerful voice saying something
about "yesteryear"

A figure
on the back of a white horse with black harness
racing round the curves
of a dry rocky trail
in bright sunlight
himself dressed in white
a glimpse of a black mask
below his hat

We didn't own a TV
in Ft. Worth we didn't even have a garage
just a carport
where my granny hung a swing for my dolls,
made out of twine
and the tray from an old toaster

We went across the street to C.G. and Bill's
who not only had TV
but slept on bunkbeds
the dim living room cozy and quiet
we sat on the rug in front of the console
when they let us in to watch

My mother was hard to miss in the neighborhood
probably the only Frenchwoman
other wives had ever seen up close
she could pass when silent
as soon as she opened her mouth
it was all over

Plus her nest already was beginning
to take the shape it still holds
bits and pieces
treasures she accumulated
bringing some from Paris
finding others
in the endless stream of funky shops
along roads she and my dad traveled

No one coming into her little home in Ft. Worth
would find a modern scene
of 50's Americana
never was her nature
to have matching sets of anything
except maybe dishes and silverware

There wasn't any such thing as pre-school
you were shopping with her
or you were in the park
if they regularly took you somewhere in the daytime
before the age of five
there was something wrong with your Mommy

We had stuff to occupy us
but there wasn't much by way of excitement
a bunch of kitties born out by the train tracks
mommy cat left them there
mewing and blind
up the street a kid's pet turtle
bit my brother's finger
next house over
the new neighbor's little boy
came and pee'd through our screen door

When I think of the times
we went to watch programs
on that tiny black and white screen
I realize how few occasions
there must have been
the idea of parking kids
in front of an electronic babysitter
had not yet caught on
barely anything scheduled for broadcast anyway

Someone local got canny one day
decided that launching
a human interest segment
from the nearby station
and linking it to advertisements
would be good for neighborhood merchants
who better than the pretty foreigner
with the antiques
to chat about furniture
display her accent
for those who hadn't heard it

I'll have to ask my mom
if she was put off by this attention
or bored by the whole thing
All I recall
is that for a single day
I was the kid
whose mommy was on TV
in C.G. and Bill's living room
right after "The Lone Ranger"


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©2006 Claudine Jones
©2006 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Like an orthopedic soprano, Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades. With her co-conspirator Jaz Bonhooley, she also has developed unique sound designs for local venues. As a filmmaker, she is doing the final cut of YOUR EAR IS IN YOUR NOSE, destined for release next year or whenever her long time technical task wizard Animator Sam Worf gets his head out of his latest render.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the




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october 2006

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