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181217 December 17, 2018


James Albert Farr III
LHS '66
December 2, 1948 - December 7, 2018

This was posted on Facebook. 
"It is with great sadness that I tell my brother's friends that he has died.
He wanted me to post news of his death and let people know that his Facebook page will be deleted in a month or so.
He will be greatly missed."

Studied Animal Behavior and Evoluionary Biology at Florida State University
Studied Biological Sciences at Florida State University
Went to Lee High School
Lives in Tallahassee, Florida
From Huntsville, Alabama

Polly Redd emailed this :

    "I heard on Facebook that Jim Farr from the Class of '66 died this week. He had retired as a professor at Florida State where he did both his undergraduate and graduate work in the field of biology, animal studies. Jim never married but was an avid reader and an internationally known coin collector, specializing in coins from the Golden Horde of Mongolia from the 1200s. Jim and I had reconnected on FB and had many fascinating discussions of religion which he did not believe in and tolerance for all which he did. He had just celebrated his 70 birthday on Sunday. This was very sudden and sad for many of us who knew Jim."

Editor's Note: I have been unable to find a printed obit for Jim.

Only the Lonely

Another Week of Walking Songs
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    This past week I continued my Wednesday morning trek around the walking track at my church while Sue attended Bible study. As I was the only one taking advantage of the opportunities presented by walking around a measured course inside and out of the chilly weather, it posed no problem to adorn my earphones and enjoy the sounds of my youth while I did so.

    Any of you who have used the Pandora music streaming service will know many of the songs are repeated quite often, but every once in a while new ones are aired. Such was the case this week on my mile and a half walk so I will not expand on the songs I previously reflected on, but instead will expand a little on the new ones which awakened my memories on my repeatedly circular journey into the past.

    I will change the format a bit this week for your convenience, giving you the song title, the year it was issued, the artist, and a link to the song as it appears on Youtube. You can click on the link to hear it should you not remember it. I was a little surprised to find I remembered the lyrics of some of the songs, but did not know the exact title or the artists who sang them. My other revelation of the week was discovering how many songs we grew up with are less a testament of everlasting love, but rather followed the theme of the heartaches of unanswered or refuted love affairs. I use the term affairs quite loosely because at the time of many of these songs we were still in our early teens and the concept of an everlasting love (while undeniable in our minds) proved to be less concrete in real life.

    Let us begin our time travel.

Love you So (1959) – Ron Holden 

    This song was never a favourite of mine, but when it started playing I immediately remembered it. I had to look up the artist and still did not recognize him when I found out his name. I put this song into the dancing category, and further categorize it into one specific dance – the “Cha-Cha-Cha.” The cha-cha-chá, or simply cha-cha came to the U.S. in 1953 and is a dance of Cuban origin. I don’t remember many times we danced this dance, but it was a simple dance to do, and fun. I always enjoyed doing it, but rarely found a partner who knew how.

    As to the background theme of the song, it voices the concerns of the unexpected loss of a new romance, emphasized by the line “Each night I kneel and say a prayer, hoping when I wake you'll still be there.” 

Good Timin’ (1960) – Jimmy Jones 

    There are some deep thoughts in the words to this song, which many of us remember fast-dancing to.

“What would've happened if you and I
Hadn't just happened to meet
We might've spent the rest of our lives
Walkin' down Misery Street
But we had timin'”

    If you stop and read the words you cannot help but look back at some events in your life to which they apply. I saw a show on TV just last night in which one character posed some poignant questions to another one. They were talking about small decisions which could have changed everything later in their lives. “What if I had turned right instead of left?” “What if I had said yes instead of no?” I especially thought about the verse “”What would’ve happened if you and I hadn’t just happen to meet?” I look back at the events in my teenage life and see how potent that question can really be. I can recall several dealings in my own life in which something just seemed to “happen” that affected me the rest of my life. In my quest of the opposite sex, I recall more often than not the plans I made were less important in the scheme of things than the “moments” which just happened to me. I especially remember a spilt-second decision to visit my scoutmaster and how the trip led to me finding my first real girlfriend and another girl who became a lifelong friend who remains so today. 

Mission Bell (1960) – Donnie Brooks 

    This song falls into the wide category of a skating song in my memory. I was again surprised when I looked it up on the internet to find out I never really knew the real title of the song. I had to listen to it twice to even see where the title was used in the song, and even then it did not make much of an impact on me. “My love is higher than a mission bell.” I guess most of us growing up in Alabama could not really relate to how high a mission bell was? The only mission I knew about at the time was the Alamo, and its bell did not seem so high. Yeah, and how'd that work out?

Kiddio (1960) Brook Benton 

    “Daddy-Oh!” That was the first thing I recalled when this song started playing. I guess if there is a Daddy-Oh then the idea of a Kiddio should not be so strange. Of course, to me, hearing the term Daddy-Oh always brings to mind one cool cat. It was Ed “Kookie” Burns of 77 Sunset Strip. He was our generation’s trend setter and we all wanted to talk like Kookie. I never had Kookie’s hair, but I always travelled with a comb in my back pocket. Once I didn’t have any hair I quit that. Kiddio was more of a listening song to me.

You’ve Got What it Takes (1960) - Brook Benton & Dinah Washington

    So, if someone had what it takes for us back then, what was it? There are some odd lyrics to this song which today I find interesting, but when it was being played on the radio I never seemed to pay attention. What did take for us? Probably the biggest virtue most looked for was physical attraction. As someone with extremely low self-esteem when I was young, I often found myself hampered with the idea that I wasn’t physically attractive enough to catch the attention of the good looking girls around me. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the words of this song:
You don't dress with the best of taste, 
And nature didn't give you such a beautiful face
, but Baby, you’ve got what it takes.” I always thought I was a much prettier person “inside” than I was “outside.”

O Dio Mio (1960) Annette Funicello

    Annette ... what can I say that hasn’t been said for decades. She was the dream girl of all boys entering puberty in our times. We watched her grow up (and out) on The Mickey Mouse Club each afternoon after school. Tell me girls; was there a male Mousketeer who was the counterpart to Annette?

    As with many foreign song titles which came around during our days, I had no idea what the real meaning of this song’s title. Now that we have the knowledge of the internet I finally looked it up and OMG! I was shocked to find out the translation for the term was actually “Oh my God.”Still, we loved to slow-dance to the sweet voice of Annette.

Only the Lonely (1960) -  Roy Orbison 

    If there was one single artist who seemed to know the lyrics of my life when I was a teenager, it was Roy Orbison. His songs echoed the day-to-day thoughts I endured. I epitomize with the lyrics of Roberta Flack’s later hit “Killing Me Softly” which went:

“Strumming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly with his song”

    That was how I felt about Roy Orbison and the world he presented with his hits. I think as teenagers we all rode on emotional roller coasters and for me, my traveling companion was him, and this song symbolized a lot of the stages of my teenage years and my attempts to be happy.

    The world to which this song transports me is once again Carter’s Skateland. I remember it so well as one of the songs to which I would skate solo around the wooden rink and hold back the tears over a love that had gone wrong or one which was never returned or acknowledged.

“Only the lonely Know the heartaches I've been through.”

        Memphis, TN - I had the opportunity to work on another movie set for the Netflicks movie "Uncorked" this week. I got upgraded from being a hotel guest to being "hotel staff" which means nothing much but braggin' rights. We are sadded this week to hear of the deaths of Jim Farr, LHS '66, and of Betty Carter of Carter's Skateland fame.

    I got very little feedback on my song reflections (neither good or bad) so this week I did it again. If this is not material you wish for me to share, then please let me know and I will try to come up with something else.

Betty Caneer Carter
November 22, 1928 - December 13, 2018

    It is a little odd that I wrote so much about Carter's Skateland last week and this week it was announced on Facebook that Betty Carter (one of the original owners and operators died last week. I am sure anyone who ever visited Carter's remembers her sitting up in the ticket office and helping select the records to be played. Even though she was not a Lee alumni, she played a big part in many of our lives.


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