by Tommy Towery
Class of '64
The other day I was listening to a radio announcer rambling about odds and ends and he happened to get on the subject of the old process of writing SWAK (aka S.W.A.K.) on the back of letters you sent to loved ones. Now it has been a long time since I got even a personal, hand written letter, much less one that had SWAK on the back of it. Today most of my written correspondence is via email if it is personal to me, or via posting on Facebook if it is just something that someone wants to share with me. I do get the odd hand addressed envelope ever so often, but that is usually a book order consisting of a order form printed from my web site along with a check for payment inside an envelope hand-addressed to me. Okay, sometimes there is a little note included with the order, but it never has SWAK written on the back of the envelope, and it certainly doesn't rate as a symbol of affection.
Even though I possess a memory of things in my past that amazes many of you readers, I cannot recall when was the last time I got such a hidden message on the back a personal letter to me. I know I have received them in the past, along with some smiley faces skillfully drawn on the seal of the envelope, but I don't know who sent me the last one. I do remember that each of them brought a smile to my face and a zing to my heart. I remember a special period in my life after my graduation from Lee that I was being sent a lot of letters. It was during the summers I worked at the YMCA summer camp during my college days. For three summers I would pack up and head off to the camp located at Pickwick Lake and become supreme ruler of a cabin of eight boys ranging from eight to thirteen for at least six weeks. A couple of those years I also went to a camp in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas and worked for another four weeks at a camp for underprivileged kids. One year I even worked four weeks at the girls' four week session at Pickwick. There were not allowed to run co-ed camps then. I was the waterfront director and chief mechanic and maintainer of the ski boats, pontoon boats, and sail boats and also served as lifeguard. So, while at the camp for long periods of time with usually nothing but pre- puberty kids, it was a real treat when mail call resulted in a letter from a female admirer who included the SWAK (or sometimes S.W.A.K.) on the back of the envelope. Of course such markings were fodder for the teasing of the little boys who probably never kissed a girl, much less received a letter with such a token of affection attached to it.
Bryan Hyland helped spread the popularity of that four letter acronym with his hit song "Sealed with a Kiss." In 1962, his single began its run on 6th June 1962 and became a hit, reaching #3 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.
I guess today's equalivent would be the common <3 used in emails representing a heart.
Memphis, TN - Thanks to all of you for updating my data sheet with Veteran's Info. I am in the process of making those updates this week for next week's issue.
Sue and I just got home Sunday night from a 7-day cruise out of New Orleans on the Norwegian Jewell to the ports of Cozumel, Belize, Honduras and Costa Maya. It was a fun cruise, with a Halloween party thrown in. I won a bottle of Champaign in the costume contest for the most creative costume with my alien costume. It was funny because costumes are a big thing and there were many great costumes in the competition. I bet 50 people came up to have their picture made with me in mine, and I bet not a one of them knew that the alien was actually a 67-year-old. I love Halloween when you can be any age once you get inside a costume.
The Video of the 2000 Reunion
of the Lee High School
Classes of '64-'65-'66
This week we continue featuring segments of the video tape made at the 2000 reunion and supplied by Niles Prestage, Class of '65. It will be broken down into approximately five minute segments and continued each week as permitted. We hope you enjoy these visits back and the chance to see some old classmates who are no longer with us.
Your Favorite Songs Prior
To High School Graduation
Featuring Black in the Title
Jeff Fussell, LHS '66 - There were three notable songs I recall from my Lee years up to 1966 that had “Black” in the title. The first is the Rolling Stones “Paint It Black” from the 1966 album “Aftermath”.
Another was “Black is Black” by the one-hit wonder group Los Bravos. The group’s lead singer sounded so much like Gene Pitney that it caused confusion to some listeners.
The third that came to mind was the old Lefty Frizzell song, “The Long Black Veil” about the execution of a falsely accused man. This song was covered by a number of artists, including The Kingston Trio, Burl Ives, Joan Baez, and others. The most memorable to me was the Johnny Cash version from 1965.
John Drummond, LHS '65 - Before the arrival of The Beatles, followed by The British Invasion, our music was mostly Elvis, Rock N Roll, and folk songs. A popular TV show was "Hootenanny." Folk songs were often story-telling set to music. A good example was "The Reverend Mr. Black" which was (I think) recorded by The Kingston Trio. Great lyrics, with a surprise tagline at the end.
What Was Your Favorite Song Prior
To High School Graduation
Featuring Silver in the Title
Remember, it does not have to be a song that came out while you were in high school but only one that was a favorite before you graduated from high school. This is basically any song that you liked before you graduated. (or left school).
Email me with your picks