The Day I Turned 16
Pat K. Fanning
I was living in the Lincoln Memorial Baptist Church pastorium on Meridian Street along with my parents when I turned 16 on Jan 16, 1963. All of my older siblings were grown by then. A memorable décor item in my room was my canopy bed - white and so beautiful to me. Mom had the room all done up in pink and I even had a pink bathroom, which was a neat thing back then...and of course, my own “Princess” phone. Pink of course.
I could describe my parents as lovingly strict, but fun to be with, and my friends loved and respected them. They were a bit older than most of my friends' parents, because I was the baby of five, and being the preacher's kid seemed to make my life a little different than the average kid back then. Looking back, on raising my own children years later of course, I valued the way I was raised and Roy and I tried to guide our children in a similar way that we were raised. I considered myself sort of "shy" -- but no one ever agrees with me on that. So I think I was just self-conscious - until I began to recognize my self-worth. Now, I'm not shy, or self-conscious, or reserved. I SO WISH I WERE!
Our family car was a Ford - no idea what model - probably a galaxy 500; but my primary mode of transportation was what I called "my car" - "Old Betsy." She was a pitiful Plymouth that eventually lost reverse, so I had to always remember to park where I could drive forward. I got in some messes sometimes with that deal, but I loved it still.
My best friends were Nelda Simmons (Blankenship); Pat Worley (Reid); Janie Sanders; Trina Duskin; Betty Jo Key, Judy Johnson, Ann Wilson, and a bunch of our youth at Lincoln Baptist and of course, Lee High too.
My favorite fun activities were roller skating, bowling, swimming -- and church activities and school events. Since I wasn't allowed to "dance" it turned out that I learned how by Roller Skating. Dad would drop in to pick me up at Carter's and he'd watch me skate a waltz, or two-step, and have a partner even --- and thought it was so neat. Neither of us considered it "dancing." Only in the last few years has it dawned on me - that I was DANCING all along. Now, I'm stuck and can only dance if I am on skates. Haaa! Maybe a slow dance if I'm careful - but talk about being self-conscious, I truly am when I'm on a dance floor even to this day. And I've tried "line-dancing" but must have two left feet; I just can't keep up. Now, if I had skates on it would a different story.
Since we didn't have a TV, I only got to watch television at friends' home, and they were the usual shows that were popular at that time. It was on a black and white TV of course. My favorite type of movies was whatever was showing on TV at my friends' homes, because I wasn't allowed to go to movies. I didn't go to a REAL movie theater until I was almost 20, after I was married.
My favorite music to listen to was Pat Boone, Paul and Paula, Elvis, all the music played at Carter's Skateland, and of course our church music. I was playing for services by this time, and that was a great thrill for me.
My favorite food was the local "fast food" cafes (Mullins, Dillard's, Kildare, Zesto, and Bon Air Restaurant.) Whew! I'd love to have one more roll from Bon Air before I die; or corn dog from Zesto. If I could eat anywhere I wanted to eat I would go to get a hamburger at most any of those places. By then McD's and Hardees were coming on the scene and seemed better than today's do, but I still loved the OLD familiar places the best. My favorite beverage was Coca Cola. Then it changed to sweet tea; now it's coffee (black) or water.
Up until that day, my best vacation ever had been to Silver Springs, Florida with my parents and to the Smokies.
I had a crush on Roy - mostly. But there were a few others who I thought were cute and would eventually enjoy a date or two with them. Roy was older and out of school, so it was sort of fun to have boyfriend "at school" to walk the halls with. I was looking forward to turning 16 because I could "officially" date. Although I was semi-dating Roy Fanning (my future husband but didn't know it then) during December for youth events, and after church drives through Shoney's and Jerry's.
My first kiss was scary! Totally unexpected, too! I was excited to become "Sweet 16 and never been kissed." But my date and first love, Roy, surprised me on January 1, 1963 at midnight - when he kissed me on our front porch. It caught me so off-guard that I ran to my bedroom and cried. However, eventually, I learned to enjoy his kisses. But I was sort of sad that I broke my goal to be sweet 16 and never been kissed. That was only one of my many "goals" that didn't make it, too.
If I wanted to look good I would wear my hair up in a "do" and spray it down really good; it was also important to put on my eye makeup.
For my birthday I planned a "spend the night" party for all of my pals and we'd go skating or bowling then back to our house for a fun night of ghost stories and no sleep. Then my mom and dad would cook us the best breakfast in town and stuff our faces. Everyone would go home soon after breakfast, then we'd all crash.
My favorite subject in school was choir and biology (Mr.Fox) - we thought he was so "cool", and I thought I wanted to work as a secretary or such when I graduated from high school. In reality, music became a major factor in my life from age 7 until today at 68, and I've loved every opportunity to use it whenever I could for church, weddings, parties, and even funerals. I wish I'd kept a journal - Tommy. Boohoo.
My favorite group/organization to which I belonged was our church, of course. There was always something planned for the kids, from missions events, to kids (then youth) choirs, we had a teen trio of Pat Worley, Sandra Bulman and myself, and our director, Jim Moses. He was so patient with us and he managed to train us to sound pretty good (best I can recall.) Of course, I enjoyed anything music - school choir, musicals, and plays. I wish our kids had grown up with the kind of life we had. They missed the good things of life.
Overall, and in retrospect, life was good when I was 16 and has been to this day. I give all the credit to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for keeping His hand on my life, for opening doors of ministry (and even a secretarial position or two), and for allowing me to teach piano and children and youth choirs through the years. Never, at 16, did I envision how my life would be. I'm so grateful for everything. I’ve had a few regrets along the way, but in the end, everything always turned out for "the good." (Romans 8:28).
Thank you for allowing me to walk down memory lane. This was fun!
Memphis, TN - A couple of weeks ago I informed you I would be without internet for the last two weeks. I can now inform you the reason for the outage was because Sue and I were on a 12-day cruise from New Orleans to Boston, with stops at Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and St. John islands. We completed the adventure with a few extra days in the Boston area.
We will be having a busy summer but I will try my best to continue to publish a new issue of Lee's Traveller each week as I have done in the past. Please continue to send me your own stories and photos to share with your classmates. Any which I have received since I began the trip will be taken care of this next week and published as soon as practical or possible.
By the way, we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed our trip.
Click on the image above to see the information about the
upcoming joint '64-'65-'66 2015 Reunion.
From Our Mailbox
No email this last week because of lack of internet connections.