mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
2014-12-10 02:15 am

Music Advent recap, part 1

Mostly for my own use, because a list is easier to deal with, here's the songs I've picked for the first ten days (or rather years) of #musicadvent, and links to the videos:

1963: Peter, Paul & Mary, Puff the Magic Dragon (video is a BBC performance from a couple of years later)

1964: Julie Andrews (and children and an animatronic robin), A Spoonful of Sugar ("Mary Poppins" clip)

1965: Petula Clark, Downtown

1966: Nancy Sinatra, These Boots Were Made for Walkin'
second choice: The Hollies, Bus Stop

1967: The Beatles, I Am the Walrus ("Magical Mystery Tour" clip)

1968: Simon & Garfunkel, Scarborough Fair/Canticle

1969: The 5th Dimension, Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In
second choice: The Archies, Sugar Sugar (also there's some interesting info along with the video about the amount of stuff from that cartoon series that isn't known to exist any more!)

1970: The Jackson 5, ABC (really meant to post this one, though, because that other one is only about half the song!)

1971: Three Dog Night, Joy to the World (NOT the Christmas carol)

1972: America, Ventura Highway
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
2014-12-07 07:43 pm

1969 - when Jupiter aligns with Mars

I toyed with inflicting The Archies on the good people of Music Advent, but in the end I went with this one, which I recall as being just as inescapable as "Sugar Sugar" - besides, I like the swoopy camera work here.

OK, to finish off the story with my childhood and all the moves, the last one was that we moved into a nice, brand-new house where my parents had bought it during construction and picked out all the colors and the tile and stuff. I'm pretty sure it was in early '69, because I remember living in the rent-house that came before that for a pretty long time. (But I was waffling, as I said before, about which year this actually happened.) The bad side of this happening in the late 60s was that we had to live for the next decade with the in-color of 1968/9, which was avocado green. EVERYthing in that house was green. Well, not literally everything, but the carpet was green, the appliances were green, and I clearly remember having an avocado-green vinyl couch in the living room - either we already had it before that or they bought it especially to go with the avocado-green house. I'm not sure which. The house was on a corner lot with a drainage ditch behind it - which saved our collective bacon when a tropical storm dumped 40 inches of rain on us ten years later, because our house was built on the spoil from that ditch and it (barely) escaped flooding when every other house in the whole subdivision had water in them. (Also, the drainage ditch was a playground when we were littler. I know that's the kind of thing that's inconceivable nowadays, but it was freshly dug and not gross, and as far as I can tell pretty harmless. I don't think any water other than the runoff from the subdivision went into it anyway. As I remember it, it usually didn't have very much water in it at all.)

After this I am probably going to quit talking about my childhood so much, because in later childhood I don't have as many interesting stories to tell, anyway - if I think of something that I think is interesting I'll certainly throw it in - but I'm really planning to talk more just about music and TV and what I remember about that, since we're getting to the phase where I was paying more attention at the time. In, 1969, I had the kind of taste in music you would expect a nine-year-old to have - I loved the stuff we saw on TV like The Archies, especially. I saw the Brady Bunch theme on the list of music published in 1969, and apparently this was the year that show started. It was also the year Star Trek (the "original series" as they say now) ended - I didn't talk about it before but we had watched it all along. It was one of the few things my dad and I bonded over, because we both loved it. (I didn't understand near all of it, of course, but I still loved it.)
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas lights pink)
2014-12-07 12:31 am

1968 - remember me to one who lives there

Here's my song for 1968:

This seemed especially apropos for 1968 because of the anti-war message snuck in between the lines: "generals order their soldiers to kill / and to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten" - but also because we sang the canticle version in choir, later on (I think that was in junior high) and because I just liked singing it. (The songs that are fun to sing aren't necessarily the same ones everybody wants to listen to. See: "Annie's Song")

In 1968, in third and fourth grade, we didn't have organized choir yet - that came the next year. I think I sang in whatever kids' choir we had in church, is all. But I do think that 1968 was the year I started taking piano lessons. My mother had taken piano lessons as a kid, and we had always had her piano - we carted it around on all those moves in the mid-60s - and at some point she had taught me the very basics. When I was 8 or so I started picking out melodies on my own and that was when she carted me off to a real piano teacher. I loved piano lessons from the start, unsurprisingly.

I suppose that like everywhere else, 1968 was when they desegregated the schools in my hometown, but interestingly, I do not remember anybody saying a single word about it. I just know that there was at least one black kid in my class in fourth grade, and I don't remember there being any before that. (There weren't many black people living there. Apparently there had been a KKK presence there, and I'm guessing it was probably still there in the 60s, but it had gone underground, apparently, because I certainly never saw anybody wearing white robes and I never even knew about there having been KKK there in the past until I was grown up.) I don't have much to say about it because I was was so totally unaware of it at the time. There was this black girl in my class and I liked her and I don't even remember it being a big deal. I'm sure it probably was for her, but I guess talking about it across racial lines was just another one of those things you didn't do back then. (There were lots of those, all up and down the line from the big things like discussing race, to smaller things like wearing pants to school. Girls had to wear dresses til several years after this.)

In the 60s, most people still watched the news at night. Actually you had to watch the news or not watch TV at all, because there were still only the three stations and they all had the news on at the same time. I'm not sure exactly when the fourth and fifth stations came along - some time in the early 70s, I think. Anyway, I remember watching them talk about the war on the evening news - probably it was Walter Cronkite, because he was the most popular - I don't know if I was 8 or 10 or exactly when I really became aware of it, but it was somewhere along in this period. They were pretty careful about what they showed, I'm sure, but it was intense enough to get my attention, I know that.

I've been talking in every entry for days about us moving, but I don't think we moved in 1968. We moved one more time, but I think that was in 1969 so I'll save that for tomorrow. It didn't involve switching towns again, anyway, so it wasn't as big of a deal. (And after that the next time I moved was when I left for college.)
mellicious: pink manicure (m15m - deus-ex-machina)
2014-12-05 02:36 am

1967 - I am he as you are we (or something like that)

There's a lot of good music from 1967, but I have to go with The Beatles on this one.

(Runners up: The Doors, Procol Harum)
I have to tell the story here - completely out of sequence - about seeing "Magical Mystery Tour" along about 1983 or so very, very stoned, and thinking it was the greatest thing ever. Then I saw it again later without being under chemical alteration and couldn't figure out what I thought was so great about it. (So that's what the marijuana does to you, kids.)

I doubt that I saw "Magical Mystery Tour" in 1967, or at any time during my childhood. Maybe clips. You have to remember that we had three or maybe four TV stations - probably still 3, actually. We got our first color TV when we were in Lamesa, I remember that vividly. Before that I also remember pretty vividly watching the Mercury launches in black and white. And I'm sure Channelview had a movie theater, but there were no cineplexes or anything like that yet - they didn't come along until the 70s, and so the one movie theater showed one or two movies over and over for an entire week, and then switched to something else. So the amount of things you saw on TV or at the movies was really limited. I certainly knew who the Beatles were by 1967, because they were inescapable. But whether I knew the individual songs at the age of 7? I'm not so sure.

NOTE: If you're here from Holidailies, I accidentally linked this entry instead of the previous one, so the story is all out of order. If you care, go read this entry first. (I'll add that one on Holidailies too as soon as it will let me!)

OK, so in 1967 I finished second grade in Channelview, and then that summer my parents did what they'd been wanting to do and finished the process of going "home" by both getting teaching jobs in my dad's hometown. (Not my mom's, that was never a question. For one thing, I think, my mom was from a really small town, it's still small even now - like, <1000 people kind of small. We visited there a lot but I don't think any of us really wanted to live there.) So we moved back to where we started - or where I started, anyway, because we'd lived there from the time I was born. (I was actually born in Texas City, but that's not a place we ever lived.)

That's the only big event I can think of that year. I went to third grade in another new school; my mother was one building over teaching fourth grade. although technically she was at a different school. K-3 was "primary" and grades 4-6 were "elementary" - I don't think I've ever seen another school district that does it that way. My dad taught seventh grade biology, always - I'm not sure about what he taught in Channelview, but after that, anyway. And he coached. And drove a school bus in the mornings. (We really didn't see him a lot for the next few years.)

Oh! I guess I do know another thing that happened that year - my dad, remember, had not gone to school to be a teacher, and he had to get certified. He had some kind of "emergency certification" deal that was only good for a year, is how I remember it. And so we spent most of the summer living in Huntsville so my parents could (both) go to school. My dad took whatever he needed to get certified and my mother took some kind of graduate education class - I wasn't very interested in exactly what they were taking, to tell you the truth, although I do remember looking over her shoulder at one of the papers she was writing, and asking her questions. But we loved that summer; we wanted to go back the next year. We lived in a dorm, in both halves of a suite - two bedrooms and adjoining bathroom. My parents had one room and the two of us girls had the other one. It was the boys' dorm; it looked more like a motel, really. The doors all opened to the outside. (The college girls, of course, were better protected, and chaperoned, probably, at that time, and their dorms weren't built like that.) Anyway, in the summer it was almost all occupied by families and it was like a big ongoing picnic, if you were a kid. We ran in and out of different people's rooms - I remember somebody's mom reading Dr Seuss to us in a room with the door open - and hmm, I guess that means there wasn't any A/C? maybe that's why ALL the doors were open a lot. I also remember going to an indoor pool that I remember as being really huge - I imagine it was "Olympic-size" and I wouldn't have seen one of those before. All in all, it was a great summer and I can't believe I almost forgot about it.

Another thing I remember is my sister getting mad about something and deciding she was going to run away from home. She would have been five - she turned six in the fall. My mom was very calm about it and just let her go. I followed her down the street, and she changed her mind, of course, in about two blocks. -- This also seems like a good time to say that my sister got caught in that thing where you had to be six by Sept 1st to start school that I mentioned yesterday - her birthday was in the middle of September. So that's why she was just starting kindergarten that fall. Where I was always the youngest kid in my class, she was one of the oldest - and that also put her three years behind me in school even though she was not even a year and a half younger than me.

Added: I keep working backwards, from fall to summer and now back to spring, because I remembered something else that happened in second grade: I had the chicken-pox and then the mumps, one after the other. (Actually it's possible it was the other way around, I don't remember any more.) This was before there were any vaccinations for those or measles, either. I had bad cases of both and ended up missing something like a month of school.

(I added the link for the mumps because I don't think people know much about the mumps any more, do they? except maybe it's one of the M's in MMR...)
mellicious: pink manicure (Rudolph gif)
2014-12-04 03:34 am

1966 - you been lyin' when you oughta be truthin'

1966 was an eventful year. I finished kindergarten - my mother told me that I got up and sang a song at the end-of-school program, but I have no memory of that. I do know that by the end of kindergarten I had learned to read. I don't really think this was indication that I'm a genius or anything - remember that my mother had been teaching first grade. (Eventually she'd teach every grade between first and sixth.) She hadn't really made any effort to teach me to read, per se, she told me later, but she read to us a lot and I think I was "ready to read" as they say, and I just really wanted to learn how. In kindergarten they started teaching us the sounds that different letters made and once I had that missing piece I just ran with it. By the end of the year I was getting in trouble for reading the instructions in the workbook to my table so we could get ahead of everybody else. (Usually the only things I got in trouble for in school involved talking too much. I liked to talk, especially if I was bored. This worked in my favor, sort of, as you'll see in a minute.)

My dad didn't really like being a salesman. He had been a football player in high school and somehow he thought this qualified him to be a football coach. Nowadays I don't think you could get away with that kind of thing; his college degree was in agriculture - he was selling fertilizer, which is how we ended up in the wilds of west Texas in the first place. And the other piece of this was that my parents wanted to get out of west Texas and closer to home - which was the Houston area. My mother had a relative who was an administrator in Channelview, on the east side of Houston. Some time in the middle of the summer, apparently, idle talk about wanting to come home and my dad wanting to coach football turned into a job offer - jobs for both my parents, actually. We were visiting my grandparents when all this happened, and as it turned out my sister and I never went back to Lamesa at all - we stayed at my grandparents' house while my parents went home, resigned hastily from their jobs - I think it was already around the first of August when this happened - and packed up everything in the house to ship it back to Houston. I thought I was going to start first grade in Lamesa; instead it was Channelview, a place I'd never heard of. I knew that being close to my grandparents and Houston and all that was a good thing, theoretically, but I don't think I was too happy about being uprooted at the last minute like that. But when you're six, you don't have a say in these things.

Channelview was not really the greatest place in the world. The name comes from it being on the Ship Channel - it's very industrial. I imagine that's partly why they had all these teaching vacancies. That was the year my mother taught sixth grade, which she wasn't too happy about. (Sixth-graders think they know everything, she said.) So I started first grade, already knowing how to read, and unhappy and bored. Naturally, I talked a lot. I'm pretty sure that was a big reason for what happened next, which was that they decided to move me to second grade. I suspect that if I'd kept my mouth shut I would have gone merrily on with first grade. I didn't have any problem with moving up - I thought it was exciting. My mother said later that she wished they hadn't done it, but the academics of the thing were never really the problem. I think I found second grade pretty hard for a while, but I adjusted. I don't remember anybody ever being mean to me about it, even. The problem, especially later on, was that I wasn't very mature for my age, and when you added being a grade ahead to that, I was very immature compared to other kids. In Texas you started first grade if you were 6 by September 1st, and my birthday's in the spring so as it turned out a lot of kids in the second grade, and on all the way through school, were always a year and a half older than me. (The worst crisis about that, as far as I was concerned, was that I was the last person in my class to get my driver's license. Before that it didn't seem so important.)

Okay, so that was 1966 for me personally. I flirted around with doing various other songs for Music Advent, but I just had to do this one in the end - Nancy Sinatra. I loved the song at the time, plus the choreography in this video is hilarious.
mellicious: pink manicure (Mel - snow)
2014-12-02 09:14 pm

1965 - the stars at night are big and bright/the neon lights are pretty

I looked at the Billboard list for 1965 and zeroed right in on a song I wanted to talk about for Music Advent, because I loved this song so much at one point in my childhood: Downtown, as seen above. I'm pretty sure it was not 1965 that I'm thinking about, it was a little later on, like maybe '67 or 68, though. I remember us dancing around my grandmother's house to this song, but I don't think I was 5 at the time. (For one thing, my grandmother lived too far away to visit much, when we were in West Texas.)

In 1965, we started out in Snyder, Texas, as I talked about yesterday, and at some point before the start of the school year we moved to Lamesa, Texas, which is somewhat larger but still kind of out in the middle of nowhere. (I don't know what it's like nowadays, because I haven't been out that way in years and years, but in the 1960s, even the biggest towns in that part of Texas, like Lubbock and Amarillo, were not very big. It was all pretty much the middle of nowhere by the standards of people who are used to cities.) I went to kindergarten in Lamesa - I think I have a picture of that so I'll throw that in below. I'm not sure any more if my parents bought the house we lived in or rented it, but it was much bigger and newer than the rent-house in Snyder was so I'm inclined to say they bought it. (By which I mean it was a 60s-standard 3-bedroom ranch house, like the new house we had lived in the year before and the one we lived in later on, too. 4-bedrooms were more expensive, I only remember families with a bunch of kids having those back in the day.)

Here's Lamesa on Wikipedia. The whole county didn't even have quite 15,000 people in it as of 2010, and almost all of them live in Lamesa. So yeah, still very small.

I remember a lot more about Lamesa than I do about Snyder. I remember that there was a cotton field behind our back yard and I was pretty fascinated by that. Our house had a cement-brick fence around it on three sides - all the houses in our subdivision did. I think it must have been because of the sandstorms (or maybe so you didn't have to look at the cotton field!) but I'm not entirely sure. I do remember watching a sandstorm through the window, not that it was very interesting to watch! My mother said later that there were also tornadoes and funnel clouds pretty regularly. I don't have any conscious memory of seeing those, but for years after we lived there I had nightmares about tornadoes, so I'm guessing I probably did see some. Oh, and that cement-brick fence was just wide enough for a kid to walk on easily, and just high enough - 5 feet, maybe, or it could have been 6 - to drive mothers crazy trying to keep the kids from doing it. And to make it worse, the fence started at about 3 feet on the sides of the house and it stairstepped up to the full height in back, so it was extremely easy to get up there. I was always afraid of heights so I don't remember getting up on the highest part much, but I remember other kids doing it all the time. (There were 3 little boys more or less our age that lived in the house next door to us; we got in a lot more trouble because of them than we ever would have thought up on our own.)

That line in the title (the first part, that is) is from "Deep in the Heart of Texas" for those of you who don't know that already. That song is not, to my knowledge, from 1965, but I quoted it because I remember going to some kind of church function, a cookout kind of thing, probably, that was out in the country and I remember how big and bright the stars really were. It was the first time I had seen the Milky Way. (It also makes a nice contrast with today's song talking about the neon city lights, doesn't it? I didn't plan ahead to do that, I just remembered the thing about the stars when I started thinking about that time.)

My kindergarten class
(I'm one of the three with red coats. I don't remember the name of that blond kid next to me, but I remember him. Most of the rest of them don't stick in my mind so much. We moved so much in those years that the kids all blend together. Also, it looks like my mother attempted to curl my hair that day. It never would hold a curl, much.)

Oh, I know one more thing - it snowed that winter, and we didn't have any snow-boots or gloves so my mother improvised with plastic bread-bags. There used to be some pictures of that but I apparently never scanned them. I bet I have them somewhere, though.
mellicious: pink manicure (keyword-346)
2014-12-01 08:16 pm
Entry tags:

Addendum with picture

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!
mellicious: pink manicure (baseball - Kissimmee)
2014-12-01 07:05 pm

1964 - a robin feathering his nest

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)
2014-12-01 12:09 am

1963 - frolicking in the autumn mist

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 (madness)
2014-11-30 08:47 pm

1960: music for the year I was born (and why I hate it)

My plan for #musicadvent (I'm using the hashtag because that name came from Twitter) was to start with the first year I can remember at all, which is 1963. If you didn't see any of this last year, the idea here is to pick one song a day, a different year each day. Last year it started in 1989 and worked up to the present, year by year. It turns out that the person who came up with the idea last year had a similar idea to mine for this year - or possibly that's what they were actually doing in the first place, if they're young. (Added: actually she may have gotten the idea from me, at least there's a tweet I missed at the time that makes it sounds like it. I wasn't sure.) In any case, this year the rule is to start with the year you were born and then work onward from there. Because I'm not good at following rules and because I was born in 1960 but the music of the early '60s mostly bores me (and also because I largely came up with this idea in order to have an excuse to talk a lot about the music of the 80s, and starting earlier would mess up that plan), I've decided I'm going to come up with something for 1960 today - I have no idea what, right now - and then tomorrow I'm going back to my original plan of starting with 1963. (The plan for the LJ/Holidailies part of this also includes plans to talk about what I remember about those years and such, and since I don't remember 1960-1962 at all, that wouldn't work for that, either.)

OK, I have looked at the Billboard list from 1960, and I'm going to go with the #1 song here, because it illustrates oh-so-well why I'm skipping ahead: it was "Theme from A Summer Place" by Percy Faith. I went and listened to 15 seconds or so of it, and I swear my blood pressure started going up. I'm going to link to a YouTube video in case you don't know the song offhand, but I can't even bear to embed it.

If you're younger, you may not understand why I hate this song with quite such a fiery passion. Well, of course it pretty much objectively sucks, too, but that's only part of the reason. I grew up on a steady diet of The Percy Faith Orchestra and Mantovani and all that kind of thing (which nowadays is not even anything you hear on elevators, but it's pretty much where the term elevator music comes from). My dad, especially, loved that stuff. My mother had slightly cooler tastes, for her era - by which I mean she liked Elvis, at least - but she didn't care about it enough to try to overrule my dad. The only radio station my dad would listen to was KODA, which even nowadays is "Sunny 99.1" and still annoys the crap out of me, although it doesn't play Mantovani any more, of course. (Actually it's one of those stations that switches over to 24-hour Christmas music sometime in November, and you know how annoying those are.)

You notice I was all neutral about it in the first paragraph and I just said it was boring, and then I actually listened to one of those songs and I was like omgplznoooooo in about two seconds. So much for neutrality. Anyway, you get the idea, I think. Like many things in childhood, I had this shit crammed down my throat, and even in middle age I can still get worked up about it. So I think that's enough said, right?
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas - purple star)
2013-12-23 09:02 pm

Three decades of Christmas crafts

I saw the prompt from a few days ago about Christmas crafts, and it got me to thinking. The thing is, my mother was an elementary school teacher, and we grew up doing LOTS of crafts. It was how she kept us entertained, quite often. I'll have to go see what I can find as far as pictures. I know I used to have some of that old stuff still around. And well, I've looked, now, and I can't find pictures of anything that was one of my mother's projects, so far. I know that one thing - probably the oldest I remember - was pasta glued onto cardboard and spray-painted gold. And those were hanging around for a surprising number of years. And I think maybe there were some salt-dough ornaments, and I know there were some felt birds that were mostly Mama's doing, because they date from before we were old enough to have been much help, there. I'm pretty sure I still have at least one of those birds around somewhere.

I don't put this in the "Mom craft" category because I'm pretty sure that these came from Sunday school (where they likewise had a huge arsenal of crafts to keep everyone occupied). I'm not sure if I made this one or my sister did, but I found it in with my mom's Christmas stuff after she died:
toilet paper clown
Not the nutcracker, the clown. Recycling (I won't try to call it upcycling) toilet paper rolls is not a purely recent idea.

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mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas excess)
2012-12-23 06:32 pm


I was thinking vaguely about doing another Christmas quiz that I saw, but I'm feeling entirely too lazy. (Actually I feel a little light-headed, which had better not mean that I'm about to get sick again. This time of year you never know.) But the quiz had a question about Santa, and that reminded me of this:
Visit to Santa, mid-60s
I think this was probably 1966 - at least my hair matches the other pictures from that year - and I do not look really thrilled about seeing Santa. My sister (the blonde one) looks a little intimidated, too, and she's usually one of those people who lights up any time there's a camera nearby, so it's possible that something else was going on to draw those odd expressions out of both of us! (Look at her body language, that's what I'm looking at. Like maybe Santa's squeezing a bit too tight, or something. I just look kind of bored.)

(We have other Santa pictures somewhere from other years, I'm pretty sure. This is just the one that made it onto Flickr.)