High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Tale of Two Ditties

 50 years ago,  

 in November of 1963, 

 two records entered the pop chart. 

 Their trajectories were destined to 

 collide at a critical juncture on the 

 timeline of American history. 

The first of those records was “Wonderful Summer”
performed by one-hit-wonder artist Robin Ward.
The second was “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen.

These two recordings formed a musical bridge
that for all intents and purposes led America
from the 1950s into the 1960s.

The wholesome teen ballad "Wonderful Summer"
epitomizes the Fifties and an age of innocence
that was drawing to a close at the end of 1963.
The rough and rowdy "Louie Louie" helped
usher in the tumultuous Sixties.

With its lush string orchestration, overdubbed vocals
and atmospheric sounds of sea birds and crashing waves,
Robin Ward's "Wonderful Summer" is a wistful, evocative
recording that is today classified as a girl group sound.

"Wonderful Summer" began climbing the chart
the first week of November. For those of us who
lived north of the Mason-Dixon, the record
took us back to those warm, carefree days
of summer and strolling the beach with
that special someone.

Mid month, "Wonderful Summer" peaked
on the chart at #14.

One week later our sweet dreams of casual summer
romance were shattered and we awakened to the
cold, harsh reality that our charismatic young president,
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had been taken from us by an
assassin's bullet. The sense of safety, security and order
that our generation had enjoyed until then was suddenly,
brutally and permanently violated on November 22nd, 1963.
That date, 50 years ago today, marked the end of
innocence and idealism in America and the
beginning of an age of cynicism and
irreverence that persists to this day.

"Wonderful Summer" is forever linked in my memory
to the slaying of the president, the soothing sounds
of terns and tides drowned out by the relentless,
maddening beat of muffled drums
across the Potomac.

Enter "Louie Louie" by the Kingsmen, one of the
greatest and best known rock 'n' roll records of
all time. Driving sales and forever cloaking the
recording in legend and lore were the song's
allegedly dirty lyrics. No one was ever able
to prove the obscenity theory because the
vocal track is buried beneath a dense layer
of crashing cymbals, drums, guitars and
organ, rendering most of the words
unintelligible. As a result of the murky
mix, the Pacific Northwest band was
able to deny that its interpretation of
a song originally recorded in the 50s
by R&B singer Richard Berry
was anything but benign.

Teens everywhere wanted needed something to
believe in.  They therefore remained convinced
that "Louie Louie" contained naughty lyrics.
 My best friend and I were among the die hard
disciples. We played the record over and over,
 listening for clues, brainstorming for hours trying
to break the code, decipher the message and
identify every delightfully filthy word that was
embedded in the song.  We played the 45 at
different speeds. We even played it backward
and when we did I was sure I heard someone
utter the words "The walrus was Paul." 
"What could that mean?" I wondered.

Play this clip and you’ll discover that the
actual lyrics to "Louie Louie" are as
safe as momma’s milk. (Shucks!)

Historically, the Beatles are credited with shaking up
pop music and in the process jolting grief stricken
Americans out of their depression following the
assassination.  As I remember it, "Louie Louie"
provided us with a much needed distraction
even before the Beatles arrived.

In the weeks following the assassination, “Louie Louie”
climbed to #2 and was just starting to fade off the chart
in January when the Beatles dropped the bomb with
“I Want To Hold Your Hand.” That’s why I say
“Louie Louie” deserves to be recognized as the
first major musical stimulus to help our nation
recover from those tragic events in Dallas.

It's hard to believe 50 years have passed since that black Friday, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Those of us who were children and teenagers on the 22nd of November, 1963, remember the shocking, unthinkable event that took place that day
much the same as 9-11
is remembered today by Generation Y millennials. The world we knew - the world we thought we knew - was changed forever and the future was fraught with uncertainty and apprehension. Today, as we mark this grim anniversary, I have vivid flashbacks of my mother lying on the sofa in front of the television all that weekend crying her heart out.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a brilliant leader.
 Intelligent, quick witted and able to inspire millions
around the world with his vision, his youthful
vigor, confident manner and winning smile,
John Kennedy was the greatest president
I have known in my lifetime. 50 years
after the senseless act that took
his life, I still feel the sting and
a tremendous sense of loss.

Anybody here seen my old friend John?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good they die young.
I just looked around and he's gone.

Have a Shady day!


  1. My Kindle won't let me play the selections so I'll do that when I get home. 1963 was a changing year for me in so many ways. Early that year my Dad's company went on strike. My parents tried to act calm about the financial worries..but we knew the score. After a few weeks Dad was back working and we were OK...then he had a heart attack...but he did good and again we took a deep breath.
    Then both my Grandfathers died...But life went on. Then November arrived. Our home burned down...Then JFK was killed...As a 10 yr old I truly was traumatized in '63. My family loved the Kennedy legend. My Aunt worked on his campaign in the Chicago area. I think it was the realization that we would never be safe..that bad things happen to good people. Today as we look back and remember, I have to wonder if Pres. Kennedy would be idolized or ripped apart by the media. The times truly have been a changin'

    1. Hi, dear YaYa! Thank you for coming.

      Just the other day you explained on your own blog how difficult the month of November has been in your family's history. Thank you for taking time to flesh out the details here today.

      You were 10 on November 22, 1963 and I had just turned 14 two days earlier. Like you I felt jolted, overwhelmed and apprehensive about what could happen next. I joined a nation in shock, disbelief and mourning. Until that day, a presidential assassination was something you read about in a history book. We assumed (never assume), that sufficient security measures had been put in place in the modern era to protect the president and other public officials from harm. Young, handsome and athletic looking, John F. Kennedy seemed invincible. When I heard early reports of the shooting, I assumed that perhaps he had been grazed by a bullet or at worst shot in the arm. It never dawned on me that he actually could have been killed. Minute by minute the news grew worse until the very worst was confirmed by the news media.

      Song lyrics come to mind, the words to "Life In A Northern Town" by Dream Academy:

      He said, "In winter 1963
      It felt like the world would freeze
      With John F. Kennedy and the Beatles"

      Ah hey, ma ma ma
      Life in a northern town
      Ah hey, ma ma ma
      All the work shut down

      To me, all the WORLD shut down 50 years ago today, ushering in the darkest, coldest, most depressing holiday season I can remember.

      Your stories about November traumas and tragedies got me thinking about some other song lyrics, the words to "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Read them and consider how they might serve as a metaphor for what happened to John Fitzgerald on that November day and the inherent dangers faced by those who seek the office of President and those who occupy the White House:

      That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
      When the gales of November came early

      The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
      When the wave broke over the railing
      And every man knew, as the captain did too
      'Twas the witch of November come stealin'

      And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
      With the gales of November remembered

      Our nation weathered that storm in November 1963 but it changed us forever.

      Thanks again for being here and for sharing your memories with us, dear friend YaYa! Have a safe and happy weekend!

  2. One of my aunts loved the Kingsmen, and I remember her playing so many of their songs, Louie Louie included. A fitting selection on this somber day, my friend, to remind us that no matter how dark times are, there are still better days ahead. Loved your other picks, too! I hope your week is terrific!

    1. Thank you, Shelly! It's a curious phenomenon. After plunging down into a prolonged period of shock, depression and grief, the emotional roller coaster millions of us were on suddenly rocketed upward, lifting us out of despair, occupying our minds and helping is to move past the Dallas tragedy and heal. That's exactly what happened when the Kingsmen captured the imagination of young people in December 1963 followed by the Beatles in January 1964. The Kingsmen lifted us out of the doldrums with "Louie Louie" and the Beatles rocked America with a one-two knockout punch - "I Want To Hold Your Hand" followed by "She Loves You."

      Thank you very much for your visit and comment, dear Shelly. Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Hi there Shady. Unfortunately, I have never heard of The Kingsmen, and, to be honest, I have never liked that song either! (Oh, what a spoilsport I am today!). I did smile though, at you and your friends playing the record over and over, trying to find the 'dirty' words!! This is a sad and sombre day indeed for your countrymen. Such an awful shock that echoed throughout the world. I will never forget the sight of Jackie Kennedy in her shocking pink suit climbing along the back of the car. My thoughts go out to you all. Have a good weekend over there in deepest Florida dear Shadykins. Smooches.

    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme, and thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on this sad day. 15 minutes ago, we passed the exact moment the shots rang out in Dallas 50 years ago, changing the world.

      I have been reading about the assassination and there seem to be varying explanations as to why Jackie climbed onto the back of the presidential limousine in the moments after the shooting. One explanation suggests she was instinctively trying to escape the bloodbath taking place in the car's interior for fear of becoming the next shooting victim. Another states that she was retrieving part of her husband's skull. A third explanation states that she was trying to summon the Secret Service agents riding in the car behind them. Whatever the case, the Zapruder film is permanently etched in our minds frame by frame and I wish with all my heart that I could run it in reverse and magically prevent the slaying of the president. Leaders of JFK's caliber are rare and we could not afford to lose him.

      Thank you again for your visit, dear Thisisme, as your American friends observe a very dark day in our history.

  4. I was watching a programme on it this evening. I knew that President Kennedy suffered from chronic back pain , and , apparently, the reason he remained upright after he had been shot, was because of the back brace that he was wearing. Take care dear Tom.

    1. That's an interesting fact, Thisisme, and one that I hadn't heard disclosed in conjunction with the shooting. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

      I just finished watching MSNBC's streaming video of the NBC news coverage of the assassination "as it happened." I am accustomed to seeing the CBS/Walter Cronkite coverage but I never before watched the NBC news team's minute by minute account. Correspondents Chet Huntley, Frank McGee and Bill Ryan struggled with the primitive television news gathering capabilities of the era in an effort to get the facts straight and break the news to a stunned nation. It was riveting. My mother always watched NBC news (The Huntley-Brinkley Report) and therefore it's safe to say I just watched the same program she did on 11-22-63. I couldn't believe I had to go to basketball practice in the gym as scheduled that day after school, and when I finally arrived home by bus that evening I found my mother sobbing hysterically in front of the TV, She kept weeping all weekend, barely able to function. Mom later sealed in air tight plastic sleeves a Life Magazine, a Look Magazine and a couple of newspapers bearing the bold assassination headlines. She went up to the attic of our house and lowered the plastic sleeve and contents by rope down the inside of a wall to the foundation. I imagine that "time capsule" of hers is still there to this day!

      Thank you again, dear friend Thisisme, for realizing how important and significant this day is for millions of Americans who loved President John F. Kennedy.

  5. Good Afternoon Shady. I've been home today and watched the JFK 50 memorial in Dallas. What a time that was! I was also saddened, and, I felt sorry for Dallas. I lived in Kansas City then, and poor Dallas sure took a beating from this tragedy, as did all of our country. You have done a wonderful tribute here today to JFK and a couple of great artists!

    'Wonderful Summer' was a great song, and very popular among the young lovers everywhere.But, I honestly don't remember Robin Ward doing anything else.

    As for the Kingsmen...they didn't have to do anything else, lol! What an explosive song, to be all songs perhaps! Yes, we had all kinds of lyrics for that one didn't we? I mean, there were contests to see who could make up the best lyrics to Louie, Louie-"yes that's no, those words aren't them!" Anyway, I won't recite my take on what the words were! I did listen to your take of it....hmmm, does anyone beg to differ? Just kidding. No matter what the lyrics, a lot of us will always love that song.

    It's a cold and rainy day in Fort Worth today, a good day to stay home-I did have the day off. We are actually lingering in the 40+° today, only to buzz up into the 60's tomorrow!

    This is a very nice post Shady, with good photos, and even better remembrances of 1963's November. Have a good evening ~sDs~

    1. Hello, ~sDs~! Well, if it was around 40 degrees in Fort Worth today then it was a good day for you to stay home, drink a cup of hot chocolate and maybe hop in bed and pull the covers over your head. That's how I've been feeling all day even though we're having near record heat in the mid 80s!

      Thank you for joining me as I observe the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. My memories of that terrible day are still fresh and vivid and I am still hurt, angry, bitter - you name it! We was robbed!

      I saw a report on our local news this morning suggesting that Kennedy might have come close to being assassinated four days earlier when his motorcade drove through downtown Tampa. The news report said there had been rumors that an attempt was being contemplated by local enemies of Kennedy's policies. As Martin Luther King said after the assassination, (paraphrasing here) "If a hundred Secret Service agents can't prevent what happened today, then we all need to be ready to go at any time." I always felt sorry for the fine citizens of Dallas who welcomed and cheered the president only to have their city go down in history as the site of such a horrible event.

      Robin Ward was a one-hit-wonder. The B side of "Wonderful Summer" is another dreamy girl pop sound entitled "Dream Boy." You can listen to it on YouTube.

      I'm glad you like the Kingsmen and "Louie Louie." Some of my fondest memories are of sitting by the fireplace in my basement game room in the winter of 1964 listening to the first Kingsmen album. As for the "Louie Louie" lyrics, keep in mind that I only heard someone say "The walrus was Paul" when we played the record BACKWARD. :)

      Thank you again for coming over and helping me mark this sad occasion, November 22, 1963, "a date that will live in infamy."

      Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend Suzanne!

  6. Very interesting thoughts on how music influences a nation's psyche. Like you, I can still feel the emotion of that day 50 years ago. I think many of us who have memories of that day remember it as a very personal loss in addition to being such a national tragedy.
    And "Louie, Louie....I don't think I went to a single party in college where that song wasn't played and where there wasn't speculation about the lyrics.

    1. Hi, dear Jeanie! Thank you for coming by to testify on this important and tragic date in our nation's history. I am amazed how raw the emotion is all these years later.

      Did you watch the TV movie Killing Kennedy starring Rob Lowe? I did and think it was nicely produced, although no docudrama could ever back the sheer horror of that day.

      I'm glad you appreciate the way "Wonderful Summer" contrasts with "Louie Louie," each song representing its own era as our country transitioned from innocence and dreamlike tranquility to cynicism, skepticism and turmoil after 1963.

      It means the world to me that you contributed to the dialogue today, my dear friend. Take care, Jeanie, and I'll be connecting with you again soon!

  7. "The walrus was Paul" is the great track, I also have never heard of The Kingsmen, hope it was interesting.

    Komatsu Parts

    1. Hi, Bruce! I assume you're referring to "Glass Onion," the Beatles song which actually includes those lyrics. As you know, "Glass Onion" and other songs on the White Album were thought to contain cryptic messages from the band to the fans, some of them wide open to interpretation.

      I hope you liked this Kingsmen track and will look into more of their music. They were one of the few American bands able to produce hit singles and albums at the height of Beatlemania and the British Invasion that followed.

      Thanks for your comment, Bruce. I hope to see you again soon!

  8. Hi Shady,

    "Wonderful Summer" was a very pretty song but, you mean to tell me, "Louie Louie" didn't get it's start from the movie Animal House? LOL!

    I can read in your words how sentimental today is for you. It is a sad day, indeed! So hard to believe it's been 50 yrs. It's always interesting to read/hear people's answer to the age old question, "where were you when. . ." The only thing I remember on that date 50 yrs ago was my mother ironing while watching TV (probably a soap opera) when the "special report" came on. Since I was only 3 at the time, I really didn't understand the devastation but I could tell something huge had happened by watching my mom's reaction (and crying). I've always been so intrigued by anything " Kennedy". I am fascinated by film footage and books concerning, what I consider, the closest thing we have to U.S. Royalty.

    1. Hi, Toni! Thank you for adding your thoughts and memories to the discussion.

      Who could ever forget Bluto, Pinto, Flounder and the other Deltas getting blitzed and singing along to "Louie Louie"? It was one of the many great scenes in Animal House, one of my favorite movies.

      Yessum, the two phrases of the day are "where were you when..." and "what if..." If your mother was watching a soap opera when she heard about the assassination, then she was watching As The World Turns on CBS. At 1:40 pm Eastern time, ten minutes into the program, Walter Cronkite broke in with the first bulletin. It's interesting to note that NBC and ABC were not broadcasting at that time of day, the time period filled by local affiliates' programming.

      There was never a First Family like the Kennedys and there hasn't been since. They continue to fascinate. In an interview one week after the assassination, Jackie Kennedy remembered the recording Jack loved to listen to at bedtime, reciting: "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot" She added, "There'll never be another Camelot again..."

      Thank you very much for another exemplary comment, dear friend Toni. Have a safe and happy weekend and join us Friday for Kathleen's next IDM chapter!

  9. Margaret Elizabeth SchneiderNovember 23, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    The day President Kennedy was killed I was listening to my transistor radio while I did housework. The news came over that and I was so shocked! I turned on t.v. right away and watched every minute of the reports for a lot of days. It was the only assassination of a president in my lifetime. I was very sad for a long time because I really liked President Kennedy and thought killing him was a very hateful thing to do. I think the world has too much hate in it. People should love each other more. That's what I try to do. We have to overlook people's faults and love them anyway.

    1. Hi, Margaret! I can picture you doing housework and listening to the transistor radio when you received the terrible news that President Kennedy had been slain. Your reaction was the same as mine, my mother's and millions of other Americans who loved John Kennedy and felt they knew him thanks to the miracle of television, a medium that he used expertly. Mercifully, his was the only assassination you or I have endured so far. Let's hope the madness that drives people to commit these evil deeds will someday, somehow be replaced with peace, love and understanding.

      Thank you for sharing your memories of that black Friday 50 years ago and for dispensing valuable advice about loving thy neighbor regardless of their flaws or their religious or political beliefs.

      Please take good care of yourself, dear friend Margaret, and keep in mind that your daughter and I will be presenting the next enthralling chapter of your true life story, In-Dellible Memories, this coming Friday!

      God bless!

  10. Kathleen Mae SchneiderNovember 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    On that terrible day, I was looking through a microscope on the window counter in my advanced biology class at Central York High School. (As I recall, I was counting fruit fly eggs for an experiment for my senior research project on innate behavior.)

    As I looked up from my microscope to take some notes, I looked out the window to the front steps of the school to see a police officer lowering the flag on the flagpole to half mast. As I wondered what had happened, the principal broadcast the news of John Kennedy's assassination over the PA system.

    I remember our teacher, Mr. Bell, turning a kind of ashen color as he told all of us to abandon our experiments and go to our seats, where we just sat, stunned and uncharacteristically silent, for the rest of the class. Lots of kids were quietly crying, even the football players! I joined them and I think school was cancelled for the rest of the day.

    When I got home, the t.v. was on non-stop throughout the crisis and I remember my father, a staunch Republican born in Maryland, saying no one had the right to kill a president, no matter how much they disagreed with him.

    I remember hearing comments from people when JFK was elected, about being unsettled by having a Catholic president, but it didn't seem to be an issue after he took office.

    I admired John Fitzgerald Kennedy for his quick wit and sense of humor that he displayed during his unscripted news conferences and most of all for his recognition of the arts and music being so essential for our lives. He had an appreciation of their importance without being a snob and used his office to promote and encourage aesthetics in our country.

    My mother and I were real teary-eyed messes for the rest of the week and had a tough time going back to normal. I still get choked up looking at the flashbacks. I think many Americans have a sort of PTSD reaction when the assassination is remembered.

    However, in one of our books called Four Days, the historian Bruce Catton writes, "What John Kennedy left us was most of all an attitude. To put it in the simplest terms, he looked ahead." I think as we commemorate his tragic death, we all need to remember his youthful outlook and proceed into the future with his Boston-accented "vigah" that he always exemplified. Our country, and we as individuals, need that intelligent and forward-thinking approach that makes nations great and assures the future of mankind.

    1. Hi, dear Kathleen! Thanks for joining the discussion and answering the questions "Where were you and what were you doing..."

      Good for your father! In a time of national crisis, be it the 9-11 terror attacks or a presidential assassination, all Americans need to come together and stand united. The 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination only comes around once. This week, people of all religious beliefs and political persuasions have an opportunity to come forward, reflect and remember a fallen president. I am very well aware that a few of the people who left comments on this post are on the opposite side of the political aisle and/or of a different faith than Kennedy. I want to state right here and now that those people showed a lot of class by coming here and paying their respects regardless. There's an old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all." I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. My credo is this: "If you don't have anything nice to say about someone, you aren't trying hard enough. FIND something nice to say!" It's the only way we're ever going to get over ourselves and heal the wounds we have inflicted on each other for so long.

      With that in mind I hope that you and all the readers took the full ride and listened at the end of the post to Tom Clay's epic mash-up of "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and "Abraham, Martin and John." Anyone who can watch and listen to that video the whole way through w/o shedding tears either wasn't there or doesn't care.

      I agree with you and with Bruce Catton that America needs energetic, enthusiastic, forward thinking men and women, not only in the White House, but in congress, state and local politics and trickling all the way down to every individual old and young. The answer isn't always "no." There's power in "yes" - working together as a nation and finding a way to solve our problems. John F. Kennedy had the perfect temperament to be president. He knew how to use television to project his youth and vigor onto us. He summoned us to duty as citizens. He set the bar high. He expected something of us and made us want to accept the challenge. It's called leadership and John F. Kennedy was the last great leader this country had.

      MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
      All the sweet, green icing flowing down
      Someone left the cake out in the rain

      I don't think that I can take it
      'Cause it took so long to bake it
      And I'll never have that recipe again

      Thank you very much, dear friend Kathleen, for reading my Tale of Two Ditties and for sharing your memories with us. I hope you, Bob, Lis and Mother Margaret all have a splendid Thanksgiving!

      God bless!

  11. Shady my friend, I had never heard of Robin Ward but of course the Kingsmen have the very priceless version of Louie Louie. I was only 3 (or Bouncin Barbie as you say) so I don't remember that day and I'm probably one of the lucky ones. Watching the news footage of that horrible assassination is gutwrenching. Those were such easy times compared to now and to have the memories shattered by such hatred is so so sad. This was a wonderful post nevertheless!

    1. Hi, Barb. Thank you very much for coming over to talk. You and Toni Deroche were lucky to be three years of age when this dastardly deed took place in Dallas. Those of us who were older share a curse. The painful memories of that day are burned into our brains and haunt us every year at this time. I found the 50th anniversary of the assassination the most emotion charged of any previous observances. It all came rushing back, the shock, the disbelief, the anger, the resentment - emotions I didn't want to have to experience again. The word you used, "shattered," is very appropriate because the hopes and dreams of Americans, especially the younger generation who idolized Jack Kennedy, were shattered that day.

      In Greek mythology, Icarus took flight on wings made of feathers and wax. He felt free and dared to soar high - so high that he ventured too close to the sun. The heat melted his waxen wings and he fell into the sea and drowned. That's how many of us felt when the young president who represented us so well, was cut down in the prime of his life. In a single, awful moment, we went from soaring to sinking.

      Thank you very much, dear friend, for bringing your comforting words and your loving friendship here today. I greatly appreciate your visit, Barb!

  12. I have so many memories of President Kennedy. I remember when he was running for President and my mom and dad would argue because my mom was a Democrat and my dad a Republican. They cancelled out each other's vote every election. I remember kids at my school campaigning for Nixon because they were afraid of a Catholic being President.

    I remember the words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country." When he set up the Peace Corps I, a self-centered teenager, wanted to join up as soon as I was done with high school.

    I remember reading about the Kennedy family in Look and Life magazines. I grew to love them so much. My mom and dad would laugh at the sharp wit of Kennedy when reporters would ask him questions. We loved watching the presidential news conferences, which he was famous for.

    That terrible day he died, I was at school, like so many others. Like your mom, I also cried all weekend and on into the week. My heart was broken that this good man had been killed. His death, along with the Viet Nam War, changed my world.
    Thanks for honoring President Kennedy with your blog today. God bless.

    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Belle! I find it interesting that your mom was a Democrat and your dad a Republican. Kathleen told us that her father was also a dyed in the wool Republican and hinted that her mother, Margaret, was in the liberal camp. I can add that my mother was a liberal Democrat all her life and my father, although never admitting which way he was going to vote, was definitely the more conservative of the two.

      As you pointed out, John F. Kennedy inspired and motivated people with his words, especially young people. He made us believe that one person could make a difference or even change the world. One of my favorite quotes of his was delivered during an address at American University in Washington, D.C. a few months before his death: "Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal." God knows, if we could all remember those words and stop posturing, bickering and finger-pointing, we just might make democracy work. It's not "us" versus "them." It's just "us."

      I'm sure you remember Vaughan Meader, the comedian who impersonated President Kennedy so artfully on the Grammy Award winning 1962 comedy album The First Family. The record grew out of America's fascination with and love for with the Kennedys and JFK's own sense of humor which was revealed whenever he engaged in Q&A with the White House Press Corps.

      Intelligent, witty, energetic, visionary - John F. Kennedy had it all - and then he was gone, leaving us to ponder "if only." If only Kennedy would have decided not to go to Dallas... If only the parade route had been changed... if only the rain had not stopped, forcing the bubble top to be placed over the limo... If only the rifle had jammed or Oswald's aim wasn't so deadly accurate... If only...if only...if only...

      Thank you again for coming over and giving me a hug, dear friend Belle. I appreciate your friendship and support more than I can express.

      Please take good care of yourself and I hope to see you again soon. Kathleen's chapter is up next and I hope you will enjoy it!

  13. I just came to know that even in Italy there are celebrations for Kennedy, it surprised me a lot to be honest!I didn't expect it. thanks for you message and for thinkin' about me on Thanksgiving :)
    have a nice week

    1. Hi, Katia! I am pleased to learn that there are/were observances for President Kennedy in your country. I watched special programs on TV all last week and finished viewing the final one yesterday, the anniversary of his funeral.

      I will be thinking about you on Thanksgiving, dear friend. Thank you for coming, Katia. I hope you and your husband have a nice week as well!

  14. Hello Tom! It's been a while! I've been taking blogging slowly recently, clearing my head and all that. I'm glad to feel inspired again and catch up with everything and everyone! I hope you are well friend!

    Emma x

    1. Hi, dear Emma! I noticed that you've been gone a while. I think you're still coming down off that Parisian high! :) Anyway, welcome back to SDM&M! A friendly hello counts for a lot in my book and I appreciate your visit and comment. When I celebrate Thanksgiving this week, your friendship is one of the things I will be thankful for.

      Good night to you in Dublin, dear friend!

  15. Kathleen Mae SchneiderNovember 26, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    I've been kinda busy this week, but I wanted to stop by again and weigh in on the songs and video on this post.

    The smooth, mellow sound and sweet melody of "Wonderful Summer" takes me back to the summer camp in the Poconos where I worked as arts and crafts director for several years to help pay for college. I remember a few short-lived romances with other counselors and staff that ended in August when we closed up camp and went our separate ways. It was a time of intense emotions and reckless youth, but a necessary part of moving into adulthood for me.

    As for "Louie, Louie" - I can appreciate the song much better now than when trying to study in my dorm with it blaring over and over and over again from another room down the hall! I used to think it was the only song those girls knew!

    The video was moving and so evocative of that era. Although I felt sad watching it and felt the pain of that tragic time all over again, I was glad to hear that the child didn't know what terms such as "prejudice" meant. If only those words could become obsolete!

    Thanks so much for this time capsule, Tom!

    1. Hello, again, dear Kathleen! You say you've been busy this week? Doing what? :)

      Isn't it interesting how "Wonderful Summer" was released, it seems, a couple of months later than it should have been - in November? By that time songs of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season were started up the chart. I'm pleased to know that Robin Ward's girl pop ditty takes you back to summer camp in the Poconos. I visited the Poconos a number of times but never in the summertime. A memory I have that is similar to yours was of late summer 1965 when I attended a church camp in the country and experienced summer romance. The song linked to that memory is "Save Your Heart For Me" by Gary Lewis which was hot in July, August and September of that year.

      I always thought of "Louie Louie" as a guy song. It's interesting that some of the girls in your dorm took a liking to the rough and rowdy rock anthem.

      The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy only comes around once and now has passed. For those of us who belong to the Baby Boom generation and are old enough to remember that day and how deeply affected we were by the loss of our young president, this was the biggest and last anniversary many of us will live to see. It's good to know that recordings like disc jockey Tom Clay's "What The World Needs Now Is Love"/"Abraham, Martin and John" will outlive us and convey to future generations the depth of our feeling and our sense of loss.

      Thank you very much, Kathleen, for another thoughtful comment. I can't wait to see your next chapter post this Friday.

      Good night, dear friend, and happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    2. Kathleen Mae SchneiderNovember 26, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      I almost forgot! About that picture of young Shady on the tree branch - my grandfather trained his dogs to put raccoons in similar spots!

    3. Luckily, there were no coon hounds nipping at my heels leading up to that photograph. My father, an avid photographer, was constantly looking for creative ways to pose people. One of his favorite techniques was putting vertical space between camera and subject. When I was eleven he climbed a long ladder and took a picture of me from above the backboard of my basketball goal. I was down below holding a basketball, my face framed perfectly by the rim and net. The picture used in this post was taken a few years later on one of our many hikes in the country, this time with subject elevated and photographer down below.

      Thank you again, dear Kathleen, for thrice lending your support to this important post as we paused to remember, not one great man, but four.

      Didn't you love the things that they stood for?
      Didn't they try to find some good for you and me?
      And we'll be free
      Some day soon, and it's a-gonna be one day

      Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
      Can you tell me where he's gone?
      I thought I saw him walkin' up over the hill,
      With Abraham, Martin and John.

  16. I always love reading your posts! (: They give me such insight on the time period and what was going on. I enjoy reading your stories so much! Always very interesting. I hope you have a great rest of the week and a lovely Thanksgiving! (:

    1. Hi, dear Molly! This is a pleasant surprise and I'm very happy to see you, my good friend. Thank you for what you wrote here. It means a lot to me knowing that you enjoy reading my posts and learning what life was like when I was your age. It was a different world then, but the great news is that young people like you are bringing the past into the present and experiencing it fresh and new just like I did. That is a bond you and I proudly share. Friendships like ours that cross over generations are what make blogging great.

      I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving, Molly. Thanks to your visit today, my Thanksgiving was made even more joyful than it would have been. You're the best!


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