Coming of age

As long as I live I will be happy about my age, because fate allowed me to be a teenager in the 1950s.

It was a time when driving around town was entertainment, and there was always a gathering of friends at places with carhops like Tom’s or Kitty Sue’s. We would turn up our car radios, tuned to the Colonel Station or Rebel Radio, and dance to songs like “Peggy Sue,” “Chantilly Lace” and “La Bamba.”

We tanned on the sand at Livingston Lake as the jukebox played “That’ll Be the Day.”

I had a crush on a tall guy with a basketball letter who loved to sing “Chantilly Lace.” Life was perfect joy!

Then, on this date 50 years ago, for one horrific moment, the music died.

I was a junior in high school when our car radios reported that Buddy Holly, J. P. Richardson, known as The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens had been killed in a plane crash.

We had already lost our rebel without a cause James Dean and, in three months, our classmate Kellon Sullivan would be shot to death on graduation night by an angry man in a restaurant parking lot.

We were coming of age. The moment passed. The music has never died.

JACKSON (MISS.) CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL BUDDIES: Front: Charlotte ‘Pudden’ Hutchins; back from left: Janice Van Zandt, Charles Chisholm, Ronnie ‘Toots’ Farris, Rodney Rountree, Betty Turner (BJ) and Larry Wood, 1959.


Anonymous said...

Hey B.J.,
Now that is what makes picture taking worthwhile. To be able to reminisce and see just what you looked like when you were a teenager. No wonder you were a "Beauty". You are gorgeous!
I want ALL your pictures & albums passed down to me. Thanks for sharing, it helps me remember my childhood and all the summers we spent at Huge White State Park and all the times you took us swimming at Livingston Lake. Those were the days...I love the music from that era. Preston and I watch ETV and hear all the great singers from that era (now with alittle age on them but they still sing the same).
The songs bring back so many wonderful memories...
Love, Deb

Frodo, the day the music survived said...

Scott Shannon, Frodo's favorite disc jockey of all time, said, yesterday, that Buddy Holley, to him, had the greatest influence on the development of "the" American art form. Even more than Elvis (to wit a few from Tupelo may dispute). "True Love Ways" is the single most-requested Buddy Holley song; it contained the very first application of violins to a rock-and-roll song. Noted also in that song was the background saxophone was played by the legenday "King" Curtis.

We got rhythm.

B.J. said...

A nod also to Gary Busey, whose portrayal of Buddy Holly was perfect and earned him AA and Golden Globe best actor nominations. And to Lou Diamond Phillips and Esai Morales for “La Bamba.” Frodo, my friend, a lot of singers paved the way for later rock groups, but Elvis was, is and will always be THE KING. Ask Keith Richards! BJ

Falzone for America said...


You got LEGS!

Bill Sumrall said...

Hubba, Hubba!

Gregg Sutton said...

Sometimes I wish I had lived in those halcyon years. Back when pot was something you cooked beans in. My parents are your age, and they are still “cool,” too. Sending your link to them. Enjoyed the post.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my Goodness! Great photo and sweet, sweet memories.
Love, Faye

Annelle said...

In the 50's I was growing up in a small town with only 1 traffic light...one Sunday afternoon we ran that light 23 times while listening to the best music ever, lol.

B.J. said...

Falzone For America emailed this link:

Take Me Back To The Fifties!

Frodo, three drinks down said...

Frodo has to admit that for a week now he has been trying to figure out which one it is that appears to be taking a whiff of her pits. Please help.