mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)

So in 1971 was when I suddenly discovered radio. I don't know where I had been getting the music that I liked before that - TV, to a great degree, I guess, and my friends.

I just realized something, and I'm not going to try to go back and fix it in the past entries, but I got mixed up somewhere back a couple of days ago about what grade was what year. I started off right, but by yesterday I had it wrong.
1969 grades 4/5
1970 grades 5/6
1971 grades 6/7
That's partly why I was mixed up about when we moved that last time, for one thing. I was thinking that spring of 1968 would have been fourth grade, but it was third. So we definitely didn't move until '69, then. In the 1970 entry I was still talking about fourth grade, but actually I was in 5th grade at the beginning of 1970 - I remember that because it seemed so amazing that it was not the Sixties any more - it seemed like the future.

(In my own defense, I've been going back and forth between Twitter, for Music Advent, and Livejournal and the Holidailies portal, for these entries, and posting different things at different times, and it's really no wonder I got confused.)

So by the time I discovered the radio in the spring of 1971 I was in sixth grade, which sounds about right. I remember that it was spring because I spent the whole of our Easter break holed up in my parents' bedroom where the stereo was. (It was a big console stereo with a turntable, it would seem like an antique now.) I became obsessed with the music on the radio - it was AM radio, I'm pretty sure it was 610AM (which nowadays is a sports station). It was "top 40" rather than "album rock" - which was what the group a little older than me would have been listening to - but it wasn't the stuff the adults were listening to, either. It was a mix, I think, of sort of the softer end of rock, and some R&B and some novelty stuff. I can look at the Billboard charts for 1971 and pick out some of the stuff they played. Some of the songs from this page of one hit wonders were there. I remember being especially fond of "Chick-a-Boom" which I guess would count as a novelty song, but which my mother seemed to think was kind of radical at the time. (Some of the other songs that we later sang in choir, I have trouble remembering what I liked when. But Chick-a-Boom was not anything we ever sang in choir, for sure!)

(My mother, incidentally, kept waiting for the day when we would start listening to "grown-up" music and forget that rock stuff. Along about 2000 - which was the year I turned 40! - I remember her finally saying that she guessed that wasn't going to happen.)

So here's one of the songs I loved. I didn't even realize it was the #1 song of the year, but that's what Wikipedia says.

mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
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 (Xmas lights pink)
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)
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)
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 (Default)

April 2019



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