mellicious: pink manicure (Mel - snow)

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)
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.

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