Click on the headline to link to a "YouTube" film clip of the film "The Last Picture Show" that evokes the sense of teen liff back in the days of the entry below, although it is about a decade earlier in time in the 1950s and in dust-blown Texas.
Not all the entries in this space are connected to politics, although surely most of them can be boiled down into some political essence, if you try hard enough. The following is one of those instances where trying to gain any “political traction”, or as I am fond of saying drawing any “lessons” would be foolhardy. I should also note that this entry is part of a continuing, if sporadic, series of “trips down memory lane” provoked by a fellow high school classmate who has been charged with keeping tabs on old classmates and their doings, even those of old-line communists like this writer. Go figure?
The "Big Night" Thanksgiving Eve Football Rally, Circa 1963
Scene: Around and inside the old high school gym the night before the big Thanksgiving Day game against our cross town arch-rival in 1963, but it could have been a scene from any one of number of years in those days.
Guys and gals, old and young, students and alumni are milling about for the annual gathering of the Red Raider clan. Every unattached boy student, in addition, looking around to see if she has come for the festivities, and every unattached girl student for he. A couple of fervent quasi-jock male students, one of them writing this entry, members of the Class of 1964, with a vested interest in seeing their football-playing fellow classmates pummel the cross town rival are in attendance, and also in the hunt for those elusive shes. This is the final football game of their final football- watching season, as students, as well so they have brought extra energy to the night’s performance.
Finally, after much hubbub the rally begins, at first somewhat subdued due to the very recent trauma of the Kennedy assassination, the murder of one of our own as well as a president. But everyone, seemingly, has tacitly agreed for this little window of time that the outside world and its horrors will not intrude. A few obligatory (and forgettable) speeches follow with a little of this and that, mainly side show antics. But what every red-blooded senior boy, and probably others as well, is looking forward to is the cheer-leading to get things moving, led by the senior girls like the vivacious Roxanne G., the spunky Josie W., and the plucky Linda P.. They do not fail us with their flips, dips, and rah-rahs. Strangely, the band and its bevy of majorettes do not inspire that same kind of devotion, although no one can deny that some of those girls can twirl.
But all this spectacle is so much, too much, introduction. For what is wanted, up close and personal, is a view of the Goliaths that will run over the cross town arch-rival the next day. The season has been excellent, marred only by a bitter lost to a bigger area team on their home field, and our team is highly regarded by lukewarm fans and sports nuts alike. Naturally, in the spirit, if not the letter of high school athletic ethos, the back ups and non-seniors are introduced by Coach L.. Then come the drum roll of the senior starters, some of whom have been playing for an eternity it seems. Names like Tom K., Walt S., Lee M., Paul D., Joe Z., Don McN., Jim F., Charlie McD., Stevie C., "Woj" (Jesus, don’t forget him. I don't need that kind of madness coming down on my face, even now) and on and on.
Oh, yes and “Bullwinkle”, Bill C., a behemoth of a run-over fullback ,even by today’s standards. Yes, let him loose on that arch-rival's defense. Whoa. But something is missing. The crowd needs an oral reassurance from their warriors that the enemy is done for. And as he ambles up to the microphone and says just a couple of words we get that reassurance from “Bullwinkle” himself. That is all we need. Boys and girls, this one is in the bag. And the band plays the school fight song to the tune of “On Wisconsin”. Yes, those were the days when boys and girls, young and old, wise or ignorance bled Raider red in the old town. Do they still do so today? I hope so.