Friday, July 01, 2005

All this talk about pizza makes me hungry

VALOIS, N.Y. - I'm sitting here 15 miles from the nearest town, reading entry after entry in the SWCS Class of '66 Yahoo discussion group about all the delicious pizza we ate years ago.

Stop it, you're killing me.

But after reading the postings, I did a quick Google search for Pace's Pizza and found this:
  • Pace's Pizza et al

  • So Dino's shop is still open. Hoo-rah. If I get to Jamestown in August - which I hope to - I'm going in and getting a pizza, even though I really don't even eat pizza much these days. But I'll make an exception.

    It seems like we have hit a plateau of 35-40 Class of '66 classmates who are in the loop that there even is a reunion next year, although I just did get Dottie Holdsworth's email added to the list, so maybe I'm being premature.

    But is anyone out there proficient at searching for people? I've done some webcrawling and found Ward Romer and a couple of other folks. But a lot of the people we graduated with apparently exist below the Google-Alta Vista radar. That's not a bad thing, but it makes them tougher to find.

    Surely, someone in our class has done work as a private investigator and has access to all those illegal files and websites that we can't get to. Oooooh! We do have a judge in the class, Judge Christopher Henderson (Maryland Circuit Court) who Dave Carlson had dinner with not long ago. Maybe Chris can give us some judicial dispensation and help us find the missing 100+ from the class.

    Saturday night I'm going to a biggest Seneca lake party of the season, thrown every year by a well-known family who invites most of the shoreside residents to come and eat, drink and dance. And dance we do, especially after the drinking part. And one of the songs the group Steve Southworth & The Rockabilly Rays plays every year is today's blast from the past:

    Running Bear
    Johnny Preston

    [Words and Music by J P Richardson (The Big Bopper)]
    [Background sounds by Richardson and George Jones]

    On the bank of the river
    Stood Running Bear
    Young Indian brave
    On the other side of the river
    Stood his lovely Indian maid
    Little White Dove was her name
    Such a lovely sight to see
    But their tribes fought with each other
    So their love could never be

    Running Bear loved Little White Dove
    With a love big as the sky
    Running Bear loved Little White Dove
    With a love that couldn't die

    He couldn't swim the raging river
    'Cause the river was too wide
    He couldn't reach the Little White Dove
    Waiting on the other side
    In the moonlight he could see her
    Throwing kisses 'cross the waves
    Her little heart was beating faster
    Waiting for her Indian brave

    Running Bear loved Little White Dove
    With a love big as the sky
    Running Bear loved Little White Dove
    With a love that couldn't die

    Running Bear dove in the water
    Little White Dove did the same
    And they swam out to each other
    Through the swirling stream they came
    As their hands touched and their lips met
    The raging river pulled them down
    Now they'll always be together
    In their happy hunting ground

    Running Bear loved Little White Dove
    With a love big as the sky
    Running Bear loved Little White Dove
    With a love that couldn't die

    Wednesday, June 29, 2005

    Welcome to New York and here's your towel

    VALOIS, N.Y. - This is the kind of summer I remember growing up in Lakewood.

    It's 77 degrees outside, but it feels like 90 and the humidity is so high that the toaster over even steams when you cook an English muffin. If you want to keep your brow dry, you have to swab it with a towel every few minutes, or just let the sweat drip into your eyes.

    Love it.

    I would wake up on days like this in 1996 and dread going to work at Lakewood Beach because it would be roasting at first, which meant a gazillion people from Jamestown would arrive by bus. And almost always a thunderstorm would sweep through later, which meant that we closed the beach. Good news for lifeguards - we would barrel out to the Triangle for food. (Only one beer, of course).

    But those poor folks from Jamestown would end up huddled under the trees waiting out the maelstrom. They always wanted to cluster inside the beach house, but that was verboten, unless they were cute teenage girls, in which case Dan Harp and I would sometimes make exceptions. (Ha! Sometimes!)

    It always seemed to be this hot in late August when pre-season football practice started, too. One day 'Happy' Huff passed on the practice field and a bunch of the players had to carry him up the hill to the locker room. Happy weighed 200-pounds plus and it was, well, a load. I missed seeing it, but the legend has it that more water was available to players at practice after that.

    The radar weather map with the blog is from just a few minutes ago and shows thunderbumpers in other parts of the state, but no joy here. I shouldn't complain as I'm trying to get the front yard in shape for a memorial service for my late mother-in-law who died in February.

    In true upstate New York fashion, we will have a brief service and guitar music, followed by a potluck dinner - with a keg of beer.

    Check the weather Sunday for Valois New York. I'll bet it's going to rain like hell.

    Here's today's tune, by the tempting Temptations:

    I Wish It Would Rain
    The Temptations

    Sunshine, blue skies, please go away
    My girl has found another and gone away
    With her with my future, my life is filled with gloom
    So day after day, I stay locked up in my room
    I know to you it might sound strange
    But I wish it would rain
    (Oh how I wish that it would rain)

    'Cause so badly I wanna go outside (such a lovely day)
    But everyone knows that a man ain't supposed to cry
    I gotta cry 'cause cryin' is such a pain, oh yeah
    People, this hurt I feel inside words can never explain
    I just wish it would rain
    (Oh how I wish that it would rain)
    Rain, rain, rain
    (Oh how I wish that it would rain)


    Day in, day out, my tear-stained face is pressed against
    the window pane
    I search the skies desperately for rain
    'Cause raindrops will hide my teardrops
    And no one will ever know
    That I'm cryin', cryin' when I go outside
    To the world outside, my tears I refuse to explain
    Oh, I wish it would rain
    (Oh how I wish that it would rain)

    Let it rain, let it rain
    I need rain to disguise the tears in my eyes...

    Monday, June 27, 2005

    Funny what you keep, what you throw away

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In the same closet with the dusty cardboard box that held my Villanova sports-coat photo, there it was, my SWCS diploma.

    As Al Pacino says in the film Scent of a Woman, Hoo-Rah!

    Why this survived and my diplomas from two universities here in California got lost is a mystery to me. Somewhere in my travels I lost my draft card, too - and that I wanted to save to someday burn for my children.

    The SWCS diplomas are actually pretty impressive looking, though small compared to the sheepskins you get from graduating from a university. At my university, you don't actually get your diploma when you walk through ceremonies - they wait to make sure you don't have any parking fines outstanding or books from the library.

    Cloise Swearingen's signature is there on my diploma in a big round hand. Do I sense he was relieved when he signed it? He didn't hurry it at all; it's a very careful script.

    I'm not too sure what to do with the diploma. I suppose I could put it in my university office next to all my press credentials and old business cards from different newspapers. Or maybe I'll keep it out on my desk at home, wedged neatly between the photo from our 20th reunion and my best Class of '66 reference book - our red yearbook.

    Segue, segue, segue.

    Sorry, I couldn't think of a good transition from diplomas to music. Not many songs that exalt surviving four years of high school. I did find Bobby Rydell's Swinging School, but, well, another day for Bobby.

    So, instead, here's today's song, a Connie Francis tune, the lyrics of which even my seven-year-old granddaughter thinks are pretty funny. Having once been nailed for this particular offense (a long time ago, thank you very much), I view it slightly differently.

    But here you go:

    Lipstick On Your Collar
    performed by Connie Francis

    [Lyrics by Edna Lewis and Music by George Goehring]

    When you left me all alone
    At the record hop
    Told me you were going out
    For a soda pop
    You were gone for quite awhile
    Half an hour or more
    You came back
    And man, oh man
    This is what I saw

    Lipstick on your collar
    Told a tale on you
    Lipstick on your collar
    Said you were untrue
    Bet your bottom dollar
    You and I are through
    'Cause lipstick on your collar
    Told a tale on you, yeah

    ---- Instrumental Interlude ----

    You said it belonged to me
    Made me stop and think
    And then I noticed yours was red
    Mine was baby pink
    Who walked in but Mary Jane
    Lipstick all a mess
    Were you smoochin' my best friend
    Guess the answer's yes

    Lipstick on your collar
    Told a tale on you
    Lipstick on your collar
    Said you were untrue
    Bet your bottom dollar
    You and I are through
    'Cause lipstick on your collar
    Told a tale on you, boy
    Told a tale on you, man
    Told a tale on you, yeah

    Sunday, June 26, 2005

    My mother made me wear that coat, I swear

    VILLANOVA, Penn. - It was the fall of 1966 and I got unceremoniously dropped at Villanova University by an uncle who I had never met until I stepped off the plane that morning. He deposited me on the corner in front of the campus with a trunk full of badly out-of-style clothes, a worse haircut and not knowing a soul.

    And no one, no one had warned me about Freshmen Orientation.

    Villanova was steeped in lots of tradition, one of which was that upper classmen could pretty much torture you at will for the first four weeks of school. You were required - by the university - to wear bow ties, roll your pant legs up well above your ankles and wear a beanie.

    I am not kidding, a goddamned beanie.

    In this photo, which I found today in a box full of stuff from that era, my socks are rolled up and I'm wearing a purple, plaid sports coat. Not many game show hosts in that era would have had the guts to wear that coat. I stuck out just a little among my much-more wealthy classmates who were mostly decked out in suits or blue blazers.

    Still, what an exciting day. And I can still remember wanting to take a poke at the pudgy upperclassman who ordered me to roll up my socks. The beanies and bow ties we were given inside when we picked up the little index cards that said what our classes were for the entire year.

    By the end of the first week, the beanies, the bow ties and socks all disappeared. And so did the worst of the bullying upperclassmen, mostly because a few of my classmates lost their sense of humor and bloodied a few upper noses.

    What I remember most about that first day was sitting with about 1,000 other freshmen in the Villanova gym and hearing the president of the University tell us to stand up and shake hands with the boys (and it was 99 percent boys) on either side of us.

    Then he said, "By January, one of the young men you shook hands with will have flunked out."

    I made it halfway through my sophomore year before a combination of deteriorating study habits and developing social habits collided, and my GPA slid to where if I had not bailed out, I would have needed better than a 3.0 to move from sophomore to junior.

    And the coat?

    I left it as a souvenir for the next occupant of my dorm room. I wasn't going to ever need it again, unless there was a vaudeville revival and John Rupp and I worked up an act.

    Today's song is from that fall term and it played over and over and over and over and...:

    What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
    Jimmy Ruffin

    As I walk this land of broken dreams
    I have visions of many things
    But happiness is just an illusion
    Filled with sadness and confusion
    What becomes of the broken hearted
    Who had love that's now departed
    I know I've got to find
    Some kind of peace of mind

    The roots of love grow all around
    But for me they come a tumblin' down
    Every day heartaches grow a little stronger
    I can't stand this pain much longer
    I walk in shadows
    Searching for light
    Cold and alone
    No comfort in sight
    Hoping and praying for someone to care
    Always moving and going nowhere
    What becomes of the broken hearted
    Who had love that's now departed
    I know I've got to find
    Some kind of peace of mind
    Help me

    I'm searching though I don't succeed
    But someone look, there's a growing need
    All is lost, there's no place for beginning
    All that's left is an unhappy ending
    Now what becomes of the broken-hearted
    Who had love that's now departed
    I know I've got to find
    Some kind of peace of mind
    I'll be searching everywhere
    Just to find someone to care

    I'll be looking everyday
    I know I'm gonna find a way
    Nothing's gonna stop me now
    I'll find a way somehow
    I'll be searching everywhere