Dec. 1st, 2014

mellicious: pink manicure (keyword-346)
The Billboard #1 song for 1963 is "Sugar Shack," a song which I like but which I don't have any passionate feelings about. (Here's the list I was using - I'm not much of a Beach Boys fan and for whatever reason never really have been, so I have more definite feelings about #2.) Other big hits that year were "Louie Louie" and "Be My Baby" and "It's My Party" - but in 1963, I was three, and I doubt that I had much opinion about any of these songs at the time. As I said yesterday, my parents were so not much into "popular" music once that shifted away from meaning Percy Faith and Perry Como.

I chose to talk about this year, though, because the end of 1963 is where I start having a few vague memories. I have one younger sister, who turned two that fall, and I started to have a sense of her being a brat around that time. I remember that Christmas. And the first memory I have that I can put a date on was a month before Christmas. My dad, who worked in an office in Houston at the time, actually went and saw the president's motorcade in Houston the day before JFK was killed. But I don't remember that, and I don't remember them telling me the president was dead or any of that. I imagine they talked over and around us about that part. What I do remember was watching the funeral on TV. It was right before Thanksgiving and my mother was home - I imagine they got the day off just for the funeral, actually, at least that's what's happened when other presidents have died since - because my mother worked, she was a teacher, and kids didn't get the whole week off back then. I think I've told this story before here, but I think the reason I remember it is because of the little boy who was my age - JFK, Jr, that is. You know how kids are always more interested in other kids than in adults. Back a few years before my mother died, I told her that I remembered that, and she said, "No, you don't, you just think you remember." And of course that does happen, but still it kind of pissed me off and I said, "Yes, I do, we were making Christmas cookies and watching it on the TV." I actually have this really clear memory of just that little bit of it. And she thought about it a while and decided I was right, we were. She hadn't even remembered that herself. So she quit saying I was making it up in my head.

Anyway, the song I decided I wanted to represent 1963 with is a kids' song, more or less: "Puff the Magic Dragon" - although I'm pretty sure as kids, we got a bowdlerized version without that sad part at the end. Bear in mind that this was not just a kids' song at the time, though. (Hearing it now, it doesn't sound like a kids' song at all, it's pretty saddownbeat in tone all the way through, at least the version I'm using here is.) But it was the #16 song on that Billboard list I linked above, it was a huge hit. I definitely remember it, although honestly I couldn't tell you when I remember it from - it could well have been a little later. It's probably a more peppy version meant for kids (and by some other artist, probably) that I really remember.

Let's see if I can get this to embed right! (I've got a picture on my screen now, so I guess it worked, and man, Mary Travers looks young there.)
mellicious: pink manicure (baseball - Kissimmee)
I looked and the movie Mary Poppins came out in 1964, and I think I may have seen it when it first came out - at least, I remember seeing it in a drive-in, and from the configuration in my head I think it was the one in the town where we lived when I was very small - and we moved away from there during 1964. (Then we moved back there again a few year later, but the moviegoing I remember from those later years was mostly indoors.) It probably wasn't the first movie I ever saw because I also remember seeing something with a lot of horses that didn't interest me very much - I suspect we had been several times by then. I think it's fair to say that the first memories I have of seeing movies are all at drive-ins. (They were popular back then, plus I suspect wrangling little kids was easier at a drive-in. If there was a regular indoor theater in my hometown then I have no memory of it.)

Music-wise, I looked up the Billboard list like I linked to yesterday, and it's no surprise that the top 2 songs are Beatles songs - I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You - because that was the year the Beatles hit the US in a big way. I can't say that I remember much about that at the time, although we watched The Ed Sullivan Show regularly when I was growing up so it's entirely possible I saw the episode they were on. If so it didn't make much of an impression.

Memory's a weird thing. The #3 song is Louis Armstrong singing "Hello Dolly," which I do have memories of from long ago - how long, not so sure. I think I remember hearing the Louis Armstrong version and maybe also the Carol Channing version long before the movie version where Barbara Streisand sang it (which makes sense), although Streisand was around by 1963 - her big hit from that year was "People" which I remember being everywhere, too. (This also seems like the time to say, since we're on the subject, that I did actually see Carol Channing in "Hello Dolly" much later, although I have no idea exactly when - possibly in the late 70s or early 80s. It was a touring version of the show in Houston. I suppose I could look and see if I have an old program for it - it's quite possible that I do - or even look it up online to see if I can figure out when it was, but I'm not going to do it right now.)
Songs like "House of the Rising Sun" and "Dancing In the Streets" are also from 1964 but I have no memory of hearing those until later - probably because I wasn't around any teenagers, at the time, except maybe the occasional babysitter. As I've said, my mom worked - for these first years of my life she taught first grade - and so we had a regular baby-sitter, a lady with teenage daughters so she was probably in her 30s at the time, or maybe early 40s. (Hmm, I forgot about those teenagers - if the daughters played any sort of music after they got home from school I don't remember it. I remember that I thought they were very glamorous, though!) We always called this babysitter "Nanny" although of course she wasn't a proper live-in Mary-Poppins sort of nanny - my mom just dropped us off at her house every day. Later when we moved back again, she was still our babysitter, but I was in school by then so I wasn't there as much. Her husband was a high-school teacher and used to come home for lunch, I remember, and they were sort of surrogate grandparents for us, like extended family. (The last time I saw them was when they came to my wedding in 1987, and I think they both died only a few years later.)

I've already told you the big event of my life in this year, that we moved, but actually we moved twice. Even the first time was a big deal to me because up to then we had been in the same little house all my life. First we moved into a nice new house where we were for my fourth birthday - and then only a couple of months later my dad got a sales job and got transferred to the Texas Panhandle. My parents sold the nice new house and we lived for the rest of that year in a rent-house in Snyder, Texas, which is a little town really out in the middle of nowhere as I remember it - although we loved one thing about Snyder, and that was that it had a prairie dog town right near where we lived - I mean, a fenced-off one for show. (You could also find wild ones without much trouble, I think, out in the country, in those days.) That school-year (64-65, that is) was the only year of my childhood that my mother didn't work - we moved too late for her to get a job. So we were very poor - relative to the rest of my childhood when we always had that double income, I mean - but she was home all the time, which we loved.

(This is one of those things where I'd like to quiz my parents on the sequence of events - did my dad know he was going to change jobs, or was that a sudden thing? Didn't he know there was a possibility that we'd have to move? It seems like a thing you'd want to know before you buy a house - but neither of my parents are around to ask any more so I just have to wonder.)

(I'm a day ahead on Holidailies already. I won't post this on #musicadvent until tomorrow, probably, or on the Holidailies portal, either, but I figure I might as well run with it while I'm on a roll. This burst of productivity will sputter out quick enough, I'm sure.)

Anyway, let's stick with Mary Poppins for today's music advent song. I promise I'm not going to do kids' songs through the entire 60s, though.
mellicious: pink manicure (keyword-346)
I think maybe this picture is in Snyder - at least, this is what I remember it looking like, with the park across the street. (I guess that's where the prairie dogs were, too - at least I remember walking to it so it seems likely.)

Matching outfits
Added: Yay! Here's the picture, at least. I'm still not completely sure about the Snyder thing, other than the presence of the park - do I look 4-1/2 there? Paula would have been 3 so I guess this might be right... I have no memory whatsoever of that car but it might have been somebody else's, who knows? My mom's not around to fill me in on this kind of thing any more.

Huh, I googled and the flat bare park and the houses in the background of the picture here do look awfully similar. (Aw, poor prairie dogs. Also apparently the park was brand-new when we moved there.)


(Hmm, I was really going to put more than one picture here, but I can't tell if this is working so I'm just going to post it.)
Nope, that one didn't work - picture will be forthcoming as soon as I figure out what I'm doing!

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