However, this year I may crash my sister's class reunion.
Annette graduated in 1957, and these days I find myself obsessing over a music genre called “Doo-Wop.”
I ride around with my CD player cranked up, playing The Flamingoes, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and The Crests.
In an age in which the bass response is so loud on car CD players that it rattles the windows of every car and building for three blocks, people really look at me funny.
But back to the purpose of crashing the Portsmouth High School class of 1957 reunion.
Back then, there was a great group attached to Portsmouth High School and the Portsmouth community in general, the IV Leaguers.
I am an IV Leaguers fan. My brother Butch, or if you want to get real formal, Carlton, found four IV Leaguers songs for me, and I now listen to them over and over again. I even have worn one out and am on my second CD.
The IV Leaguers were in the classes of 1956, '57, '58 and '59.
In the class of 1956 was Tom “Flip” Phillips, arguably the best drummer ever from this area. Tom, who no longer is with us, was the one I was closest to.
Representing the class of 1957 were Charles “Chub” Bartlett, and Bob (Tosk) Destocki (pronounced Detoski, don't ask me why.) Bob went on to win an award as music coordinator for one of the great camp films of all time, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Every time Bob comes to town, we don't seem to be able to make a connection. If he comes this time, we will sit and we will talk.
Three members of the group were in the class of 1958, Harry Cranston, Don “Dumbo” Stamper and Jim “Monk” Middlecamp.
Howard “Bud” Stockham represented the class of 1959.
Cranston and Stockham played the hottest guitar in rock 'n' roll, the Fender Stratocaster. You just have to hear the song “Jim Jammin.'”
Their vocals were impeccable, the arrangements ahead of their time and their harmony was nothing short of perfection. Sure the lyrics were “moon, june, spoon,” but in “Doo-Wop,” all lyrics are “moon, june, spoon.” The lyrics were about loving and losing the girl. That pretty much summed up life for guys in the '50s, so what more could you ask for in a song?
What makes this time period so significant is it was not only the end of a physical era, but it was the end of a societal era as well. There was a bigger change from 1959 to 1960 than ever occurred at Y2K. The whole world changed in one year.
In the '50s, the only thing political going on was running for president of the senior class. By the '60s, we were fighting a war, and people were marching in the streets. In essence, the age of innocence was over.
For example, the 1960s didn't have anything that matched the '55, '56, or even the '57 Chevy. The 1965 Mustang pales in comparison.
So these days, I find myself reminiscing about hot rods and duck tails, rolled up Levi's, T-shirts and dirty white bucks, walks in the moonlight and holding hands as you watched James Dean on the big screen at Eastland Theater.
I think it would be great to find a group of people who would like to get together on Saturday nights, put on a stack of oldies, dance a little and talk about the past a lot. Anyone wanting to form such a group should contact me. I think it would be fun.
But for now I'll be content to close my eyes, listen to “Ring Chimes” by the IV Leaguers and pretend I'm waiting on Pat Darone to fix my pizza.
“Hey Pat, throw some extra sauce on that!”