At Goldsmith-Schiffman Field
by Tommy Towery
During our high school days football games, not all the penalties took place on the football field at Goldsmith-Schiffman Field. Sometimes one could throw a flag for unsportsmanslike conduct, illegal formation, or offsides for actions which happened external to the game. For many of us this was one of the first places we dated members of the opposite sex. In the days before we had our driver’s license and cars, we would often meet at movies or the ballgames. For me, it was the site of one of my first heartbreaks. It involved an incident between my first girlfriend and another person who I considered a good friend. His name was Benny and he and I had been running around together since the summer before the fall football season. How we became friends is a story all to itself, which I will not go into here. He was not like the other friends I had, but was more of a rebel, and my association with him was leading me toward the dark side. Perhaps it was the opposite sides attract scenario which attracted me.
I had played the matchmaker role by fixing up my girlfriend’s friend (who I will call Janice) with my friend Benny so the four of us could go places together. He was a little older and already had his license. I did that not only to help Janice find a boyfriend but also because my girlfriend couldn't go out on single dates yet, only double dates. In reality, those also had to be double dates with Janice since she was the only girl my girlfriend's mother trusted. For a month or so, the four of us ran around together. I failed to notice that a strong attraction was building, but not between Janice and Benny, but instead between my girlfriend and my friend Benny.
That was nothing new though. She had always been attracted to many different boys, and usually only went with one for about two or three months before moving on to another. At this time in history, I was the one. Janice and Benny never really seemed to hit it off and by fall football season they had quit seeing each other.
My suspicions about the attraction between my girlfriend and good friend increased. His phone and her phone were busy at the same time for long periods of time. At parties and dances, they seemed to spend a lot of time together. They often accidentally bumped into each other at various places and traded strange glances. Jealousy began to rear its ugly head in my mind but cunning movements by the friend and the girlfriend kept my suspicions unconfirmed. Ultimately, the truth could no longer be hidden.
One night, I met my girlfriend at a Lee and somebody-else football game at Goldsmith Schiffman Field. Benny did not go to Lee, and did not go with me that night. My girlfriend and I were sitting in the stands watching the game, when for some unknown reason, she jumped up like she had seen a ghost, said she'd be back in a minute, and ran off. Fifteen minutes passed and she still had not returned. Finally, I got worried and started looking for her, walking around the field several times, to the snack bar, to the rest rooms, but could not find her anywhere. I went back to the bleacher where we were sitting and she still had not returned.
Goldsmith Schiffman Field was an old ball field. It was old and it was small. It had a ten-foot rock wall surrounding the field and blocking the view of the street outside. I finally went outside the gate to see if she had possibly gone outside for some reason. As I looked up the street, I saw her and my friend walking toward me holding hands. Not knowing I was there, they stopped, put their arms around each other and engaged in a passionate kiss. I turned and walked back inside, alone and crushed.
A few minutes later she came running in, by herself and returned to her place by me in the bleachers. She acted as if nothing had happened. When I asked where she had been, she said she was in the girl's room talking to a friend in trouble who needed someone to talk to. She stayed with that story for the longest, until I finally confronted her with what I had witnessed. A few days later, with me hurt, jealous, and unable to forget or forgive, the relationship between my first girlfriend and me came to an end for the first time. She was the first girl with whom I had ever gone steady and that was the first time I had ever broken up with a girl. It hurt. She later apologized for her transgression, but I had lost all trust in her and there would never again be a time I ever felt I could completely trust her.
Something good did come out of that event though. It brought to an end the friendship and association I had with Benny and his wild ideas about what was legal and acceptable. Had the relationship continued, I only could have ended up in trouble. So, I called off the friendship and went back to my other, less wild, church and Scout friends. After that I only saw him rarely and knew we could never be real friends again. As for the girlfriend, we finally got back together and went steady and broke up several more times before I graduated and moved away.
Memphis, TN - I had a great Thanksgiving and hope you did as well. Memphis had their final home football game today and Sue and I sat and watched the whole game in the rain. They are bowl eligible and now we are waiting to find out which bowl will select them. Thanks again for all the contributions which help me make each week's issue interesting. Done with love from all of us.
The Virtual Jukebox
This Week's Selections By
Tommy, the virtual jukebox is a great idea, but how does one select only three songs out of so many Golden Oldies from our LHS years? After pondering for a while, I thought of some special memories associated with the music.
#1 - Scotch and Soda
The Kingston Trio ushered in the era of folk music with their first hit, "Tom Dooley," in 1958. It sold over three million 45 rpm records. About that time, 33 1/3 rpm LP record albums were introduced. The original trio of Bob Shane, Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds produced 19 albums that made Billboards top-100 list. Suddenly every guy wanted to play the acoustic guitar, and romance his date by crooning "Where Have All The Flowers Gone." The success of The KT paved the way for other folk groups like Peter, Paul and Mary and The Weavers, and helped launch "Hootenanny" on TV. Other huge hits included "Greenback Dollar," "The Reverend Mr. Black." "Worried Man," "Zombie Jamboree," "Tijuana Jail" and the immortal novelty song "M.T.A." with that catchy fist line: "Let me tell you a story 'bout a man name Charlie, on a tragic and fateful day, he put a quarter in his pocket, kissed his wife and family, and went to ride on the M.T.A." The first of my three songs is "Scotch and Soda," written and performed by Bob Shane.
TRIVIA QUESTION - In the introduction to M.T.A. the Kingston Trio state, "The Metropolitan Transit Authority, better known as the M.T.A." Today the same system is known as the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority or the MBTA. They sell a refillable card which can be used for fares on the system. What is the card called? The answer is found below.
#2 - King of the Road
A very different artist was Roger Miller, who wrote and performed novelty hits such as "Dang Me," "Chug-a-Lug," and "England Swings." When asked by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show how he was able to come up with such wacky lyrics, Miller quickly replied: "I get stoned." In later years he won a Tony on Broadway for Best Musical, writing "The River." Spin for us his signature song, "King of the Road."
#3 - The Sweetheart Tree
Full disclosure by John. - I had a Major Crush on Natalie Wood. She made 56 films, most of them dramatic roles, but my favorite was playing the feminist Maggie DuBois in the 1965 slapstick comedy "The Great Race." Directed by Blake Edwards, it cost $12 million, which was the most expensive comedic film ever made at the time. Starring Tony Curtis as The Great Leslie, Jack Lemmon as the evil Professor Fate, and Peter Falk as his bumbling sidekick Max, the movie featured the longest pie fight in film history; it lasted four minutes and twenty seconds on the screen, but took five days and 4,000 pies to complete. In supporting roles were Keenan Wynn, Arthur O'Connell, Dorothy Provine, Larry Storch (remember "F Troop" on TV?) and Vivian Vance. The score was by Henry Mancini, and some of the lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The movie was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Song, for "The Sweetheart Tree" which did not win. Onscreen the song was performed by Natalie Wood sitting on the bank of a pond where she had just bathed, wearing nothing but half of a white sheet and a guitar. In reality it was dubbed, actually sung by an uncredited vocalist. Although it may not have come out as a 45, I hope you can find "The Sweetheart Tree" for us.
TRIVIA ANSWER - The "Charlie" Card.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: Last Week's Issue
Tommy, Last week's was a very entertaining issue. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from us and ours.
Beth McNabb Weinbaum
Thank you for all you do to keep us all connected through your efforts to produce "Lee's Traveller." I also want to thank the contributors who add their own perspectives of our growing-up years. Keep up the good work.
Subject: Song Request
I have a request for the virtual jukebox - "There I've Said It Again" by Bobby Vinton
dedicated to Brenda Blevins.
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