mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
2014-12-08 07:17 pm

1970 - easy as 1-2-3

1970 was when the Jackson 5 were a new thing:

This is not the same video (although it's the same song) that I posted for Music Advent - I got my versions mixed up and the one I posted is a truncated version of their 1970 Ed Sullivan performance. I believe the longer Ed Sullivan one is out there, but I've lost the link.

One year (it might have been 1970 or it might have been later) I got a little portable cassette player for Christmas - not a Walkman, mind you, those didn't exist yet - and some cassettes to go with it, and one of them was the Jackson 5. Actually my memory is that I also got "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" which didn't come out until later, so I'm not sure. I may just be conflating two different years, though. Anyway, I liked the Jackson 5, but I wasn't obsessive about them or anything. I was obsessive about The Partridge Family a bit, and only the fact that I have other songs I want to talk about today and tomorrow may be saving you from getting a Partridge Family song. (I'm not sure about 1972 yet, we'll see.)

The teen idols when I was the age for that kind of thing were David Cassidy (of the Partridge Family, not to be confused with his brother who came later on), Bobby Sherman (who sang but was also on the series Here Come the Brides which was very popular at the time), Donny Osmond... and I'm sure there were some others that I'm forgetting. Davy Jones of the Monkees has to be thrown in there, too - that Brady Bunch episode where Marcia has a crush on him didn't come out of nowhere. Michael Jackson was also in that group to some extent but I read somewhere that the fan publications would not put a black performer on the cover at the time the Jacksons first became popular, so the Tiger Beat magazines in my head don't feature him. (Like many instances of racism at the time, I was completely unaware of that.) I loved David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman and I do remember loving Davy Jones when I was younger but not so much the others. I thought Donny Osmond was cute but I never liked The Osmonds' music that much. I think it was more age than race with Michael Jackson, for me - he was only about a year older than me and I just didn't see him as a sex symbol, then or later. Donny Osmond is about two years older than me; David Cassidy was about 20 when he suddenly became a teen idol and Bobby Sherman was closer to 30. Apparently I liked my men older! (Oh god, here is the motherlode of teen magazines. Jack Wild! - I know I had a huge crush on him at some point. And clearly Bobby was the big thing that year.)

In other happenings that year - I went and found this entry from several years ago where I talked about joining the choir in school, which happened in 1970. (I talk there about the difference between church choir and school choir, and the fact that you didn't have to audition for church choir, but I don't really have much memory of auditioning for school choir either. I think there was an audition but it was really just to see if you could carry a tune, and that was about it.) Actually I don't really remember choir all that well in elementary school, but then we only went once a week. I have a lot more memories of school and who was in my class and such, starting in 5th grade, but I think it's partly because many of them were the people who went on to be in choir with me for a number of years, and some of them were my best friends for several years.

I didn't talk about teachers. One thing that happened in fourth grade was that my teacher's husband died very suddenly over Christmas break - I think he had a heart attack. (Remember that my mother was a fourth grade teacher, too, at the time, so she was friends with all these people. But that would have been a big deal in any case.) My fifth-grade teachers were Mrs. Andrews and Mrs. Armstrong, who were both somewhat older ladies, as I remember it. (My mother would have been 30-ish at the time. I imagine that these two teachers were more like the age I am now, fifty-something.) Fifth grade was the first year we had more than one teacher; in sixth grade I think we had three, not counting the things you only went to periodically like music and art. We thought that made us very grown-up. In fifth grade one teacher taught language arts and the other taught science and math and social studies, but I am not completely sure which was which.

It's funny, I have a very clear picture of one classroom - I'm pretty sure it was Mrs. Andrews' and I think she was probably the one that taught English - but I can't visualize the other one. I can remember my 3th and 4th grade classrooms pretty clearly, and even the ones before that in a vaguer way. It's probably just because once we started having many classrooms I can't remember them all. I remember two of the 6th-grade rooms but not the third one. And after that I know I don't remember all of my junior high rooms too well.
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 (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 (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 (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 (Default)
2008-12-19 12:54 am
Entry tags:

Old pictures

This is my happy thing for today, old photographs out of one of my mom's albums. Newspaper photos tend not to scan too well, but I think you can get the idea!

Basketball coaches, 1967

More )
mellicious: pink manicure (Vote)
2008-11-04 05:14 pm

The election-day meme, and accompanying nostalgia

From [ profile] nonelvis :

1. Stop talking about politics for a moment or two.
2. Post a reasonably-sized picture in your LJ, NOT under a cut tag, of something pleasant, such as an adorable kitten, or a fluffy white cloud, or a bottle of booze. Something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS.
3. Include these instructions, and share the love.


I think I posted this one last year sometime, but I don't care, because I like it. And, kittens! And also because I posted about my grandma yesterday and that made me all nostalgic again.

My grandma's name was Maedelle. I am not completely sure if it was originally Mae Dell, and it just got squished together over the years, or if they named her that from the beginning. That name definitely belongs to that East Texas school of double names, in any case, which has mostly vanished nowadays. (I always remember that for years she had a hairdresser, a woman, whose name was Cecil Rae.)

Maedelle was a bit of a character. When she died, in 2000 - age 89 - my cousin Pat wrote a piece for the local paper detailing some of her eccentricities. One was their house, which rambled all over - you had to go down a few stairs, for example, to get to what Grandma called the "sleeping porch" - which may have originally been a regular porch, but by the time I became old enough to remember had been enclosed. Come to think of it, I'm sure it was originally outside, because I remember that for a long time there were still windows on the inside. My grandfather was (a) very low-key and (b) adored her, and so he pretty much let her do whatever she wanted. Later the porch my sister and I are standing on here also got enclosed, as an add-on to the kitchen.

She loved to cook. She was a great cook, in a very country, fried-food-heavy sort of way. At my grandparents' house, the big meal of the day was what they called dinner and which was at what most people nowadays would call lunchtime. I remember "the men" coming home at noon for dinner - I guess it must have been the men who worked for Papa selling tractors. Then Grandma put the leftovers in the oven where they stayed all afternoon (yeah, I know, botulism and all that, but I don't remember anybody ever getting sick) until they were warmed up again for supper.

I suppose the meals when we were there were probably bigger than usual, but what I remember was that there was always a helluva lot of food. More than one meat, several vegetables, rolls, dessert. Usually there was this thing called "congealed salad" which I always hated, but which was jello mixed with whipped cream or sour cream and fruit or nuts and then refrigerated until it, well, congealed. And, oh yeah, cakes and pies and cookies, always. She always left batter in the bottom of the bowl for us when she made cakes. And I still can't see a chocolate meringue pie without thinking of her, to this day.
mellicious: pink manicure (skull)
2007-11-01 07:35 pm

NaBloPoMo, day 1

So. I went and signed up for NaBloPoMo, even though I did rather badly at it last year. Of course last year was not in any way a normal year, and November was particularly bad, because that was when it became painfully obvious that my mother was actually dying. Under the circumstances, I'm not terribly inclined to beat myself up about whether I posted enough that month. And we will just see how this goes. I'll be surprised if I actually post every day, but stranger things have happened!

We are mostly occupied this week with unpacking, getting the new computer set up, and getting the last stuff out of the old apartment. We have until Sunday to be out, technically, but one of the assistant managers called me earlier to ask if we were done or not. I don't know if she had forgotten she gave us until the 4th or what, but I told her they were welcome to come in and start working on whatever they needed to work on, but that we were still working on getting the last few things out. That mainly means this:


We have been trying in a half-hearted way to sell it but have had no takers. I don't guess it's really in line with current furniture trends or anything, but it's in pretty good shape for its age, if you have room for such a thing. (We don't, really, which is why we're trying to get rid of it.) I think my parents bought it the year I was born - i.e., 1960 - and it was in my bedroom for my entire childhood. My mother had it in her apartment after the divorce and it eventually made its way back to me. Part of me hates to get rid of it, but the fact is, it's a clutter magnet, as well as being incredibly bulky. So I called the Salvation Army and they're going to come get it on Monday. (We called the apartment management back - with a bit of trepidation - to see if they'd have a problem with us technically missing the Sunday deadline to be completely out, but apparently not. They didn't say anything about it, anyway.)

In other news, I really, really need to find Microsoft Money, and get the data from the last backup and get caught up on my finances. We have a big cushion to work with right now, of course, or we would have really been screwed. For years we lived paycheck to paycheck and I had to constantly know what our bank balance was to keep from overdrawing the account. Now that it's not so crucial I have gotten very bad about getting behind on keeping up with it. (So far my copy of MS Money has not turned up, though, and we have relatively few completely unopened boxes now. I am going to have to do some sleuthing tonight, I guess!)

Added: it took me about 5 minutes to find my copy of Money. The next sticking point: I don't know my own passwords. I have a list but it's at work!