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191216 December 16, 2019


Remembering Christmas 1963
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    In 1988 I wrote my first book “A Million Tomorrows – Memories of the Class of ‘64” which was a reflection on the entries I made in a journal I kept 25 years earlier as a senior at Lee High School. Looking back at it I see my thoughts on the entries made on Christmas Eve of 1963 highlighted my maturing understanding of the true spirit of Christmas.

    “For some reason my family adopted the tradition of opening all of our presents on Christmas Eve.  I suppose that came along after Santa Claus started passing by our house in search of houses with smaller children.  I remember the guitar I received that year was a real surprise when I opened it.  With the shiny new guitar, I had the instrument I wanted and needed for the folk music that lived inside my heart.  Unfortunately, the guitar was like the piano I had earlier encountered in some respects.  It would never be conquered.  I learned to play a few chords and make a few songs sound as they should, but it was not an instrument which I ever really mastered.  That didn't stop me from being proud of it, and proud of having received it as a present.

    I didn't write down what presents I gave everyone.   The one present I did write about was the box of Snickers candy bars.  A female friend, Carol Jean, always liked Snickers, so my best friend Bob and I thought it would be neat to surprise her with a whole box of 24 candy bars.  They cost five cents each at the time so we only spent $1.20.  It wasn't what we spent that was important but what we did with it.  We bought the box, wrapped it in Christmas paper, and late at night when everyone had gone to bed, we drove over to Carol Jean's house and slipped it behind the screen door.  We signed the card "To Carol Jean from Santa's Elves."

    That simple entry, perhaps more than any other of the day, reflected I was discovering the true spirit of Christmas and the joy of giving.  I discovered the joy of touching other's lives with a token of love and friendship, and the magical surprise of helping someone wake up on Christmas morning and finding a box which appeared out of nowhere totally unexpected.  

    That was the joy of giving, the joy of Christmas.  The simple act shared the magic of Santa Claus.  We shared in the spirit of the three wise men, bringing their gifts to the Babe.  When the thoughts changed from "me" to "you," and the joy changed from “getting” to “giving,” the secret was revealed.

    Most of the entries made on Christmas Eve in 1963 talked about what I got instead of what I gave.  Unknown to me a message was hidden in the text.  I was beginning to really understand, even though I did not see it back then.  When we came upon the idea of the box of Snickers, we came upon the idea of Christmas.  The greatest gift of all was to spend the time with those you love and cherish every fragile minute of it.”

1966 Spring Events for the Class of 1966

Jan 1, Simon & Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" reached #1.
Jan 1, By law all US cigarette packs began carrying the warning: "Caution! Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health
Jan 12, "Batman" with Adam West & Burt Ward premiered on ABC TV and continued to 1968. 
Jan 17, A US Air Force B-52 carrying four unarmed hydrogen bombs crashed on the Spanish coast. Three of the bombs were quickly recovered, but the fourth 
            wasn't found until April. 
Mar 3, "Lightnin' Lou" Christie was striking gold this day for his hit "Lightnin' Strikes". 
Mar 4, John Lennon said: "We (Beatles) are more popular than Jesus." 
Apr 12, Jan Berry (1942-2004) of the "Jan and Dean" duo was involved in a car crash that left him in a month-long coma. 
Apr 13, Pan Am placed a $525,000,000 order for 25 Boeing 747s. The 747 jumbo jet revolutionized mass air transportation.
May 1, Last British concert by Beatles was at Empire Pool in Wembley.
May 13,  Rolling Stones released "Paint it Black."
May 24, The Broadway musical "Mame" opened with Angel Lansbury and Bea Arthur at Winter Garden Theater in NYC for 1508 performances. 

        Memphis, TN -  We are rapidly coming up on the Christmas Holidays and if any of you have any Christmas wishes are memories I invite you to share them with your classmates by emailing them to me in time to include in next week's issue.

Name That Tune

    If you have paid attention to the Name That Tune songs for the last three weeks you might have noticed they all had one common theme - the tragedy of lives lost to many factors. I personally find it a little odd we were subjected to so many different songs about death either by accidents, legal sentences, or by the worst method - suicide. I am happy we lived in a world where suicide was not as prevalent as it appears to be today. I cannot understand why, but we seemed to be able to hear the suicide stories in songs and not take them personal. We lived in different times.

    One of the tunes used last week was from the movie "Billy Jack" which was a strange movie to me. I never really got on board the popularity train of the movie, but many found it a cult classic. The song is also a little hard to understand when it sings of the slaughter of a village of people who were already willing to give up their treasure. I do like the song though.

Last Week's Name That Tune

Name That Tune

Jeffrey Fussell, LHS '66"Strange things happen for sure. Last week, the Dickey Lee song “Laurie” blanked me, Even this week’s reveal, it wasn’t familiar. So what happens next? You lead off with a very familiar tear-jerker by none other than Dickey Lee:"

“Patches” – Dickey Lee
“Moody River” – Pat Boone
“Tom Dooley” – The Kingston Trio
“Abraham, Martin, & John” – Dion
“One Tin Soldier” - Coven

Tom Gilbert, LHS '67, I can name the first three Patches, Moody River and Tom Dooley. Cant recall the remainder.

Max Kull, LHS '67, "Going back to the Dickie Lee stumper well...."

Patches - Dickie Lee
Moody River - Mr. White Bucks (Pat Boone)
Tom Dooley - Kingston Trio
Abraham, Martin, and John - Dion
One Tin Soldier - The Original Caste or Coven (not sure which)

Tom Davidson, LHS '69 "My guesses for Name That Tune are:"
1. Patches
2. Moody River - - Pat Boone
3. Tom Dooley - - as in hang down your head Tom Dooley! 
4. Abraham, Martin and John
5. One Tin Soldier - - them from Billy Jack

Linda Collinsworth Provost, LHS  '66, "This weeks NTT guesses. Thanks for the fun!"

1 - Patches

2- Moody River

3 Tom Dooley (as in hang down your head)

4 - Abraham, Martin & John

5 - ??

One Tin Soldier

This Week's Name That Tune Group
(Even though it is a little difficult to see at first, there is a common bond to these songs.)

Name That Tune