1972: the Easter break

Kentucky State College Concert Choir

Robert Yates.Aaron Yates.Audrey
Robert, Aaron, Audrey Yates on Easter Sunday (April 2), 1972 at 29 Ackley Avenue, Johnson City, NY, home of Les and Trudy Green

In the 1972 annals, I had totally forgotten that the Okie came home with me for Easter break, beginning March 28. She drove us from New Paltz to Johnson City, near Binghamton. She met our family friends the Pomeroys.

The next day, we went to my old high school, Binghamton Central, and talked with my friend Carla [we’re still in touch] who yelled to me from a third-story window until a teacher closed it. Also, Amy H. [recently reconnected] and others [who I’ve lost track of]. Saw one of my favorite teachers, John Kellogg [RIP].

March 31 – My good friend Carol and her then-beau drove the Okie and me up old Route 11 from Binghamton to Syracuse to see the new movie The Godfather. [Was it not yet playing locally? Possibly.] Other films I had seen in March 1972: The Importance of Being Earnest; Gimme Shelter; Billy Jack; 2001: A Space Odyssey; and Performance, which I described as “weird”.

April 1 – My cousin Robert Yates, his wife Audrey, and their two-year-old son Aaron came to visit. Robert was my mother’s first cousin. But she was born in 1927, and he in 1946, so he was actually closer to my age. Robert, Audrey, my sister Leslie, and I went bowling at two different venues, in JC and the Vestal Plaza, a total of six games.

Easter Sunday

April 2- A bunch of returning college students, including me, were acknowledged at church. Inspired sermon by Rev. A.C. Bell. After dinner, lots of card games (whist, hearts) with Robert and Audrey, who returned to NYC that day, my parents, the Pomeroys, and me. The Okie also left for her parents’ house.

[Young Aaron was murdered – shot or stabbed, I understand – when he was 18 or 19. This devasted his parents, of course, but Robert became a great father figure, not just to his nieces and nephews, but to kids in the neighborhood. He died in 2016.]

April 3 – I was “supposed to meet some people @ Bing. Pub. Library… but no one showed. Someone mistaking me for an employee I assisted w/ card catalog.” [I did work there as a page two or three years earlier.] Saw familiar faces, including Vito [RIP, 1991], Michael Butler, Don Wheeler, and others.

Later, I interviewed my father for my economics paper.

April 4 – participated in a memorial for MLK, with participation by my church’s choir. Later, my mom’s bowling team won the championship. The US recognized Bangladesh.

KSCCC

April 5 – Adam Clayton Powell died yesterday, and baseball DIDN’T start today.

A concert by the Kentucky State College Concert Choir (KSCCC) was held at First Presbyterian Church. Rev. Roberts, the father of my HS friend Catherine Carson, gave the invocation. The Broome County Urban League officers, which probably included my father, were introduced.

“Guys in black tuxes with white shirts. Gals with pink blouses and light purplish long skirts. They sang four very beautiful classical numbers; I liked to listen to them with my eyes closed. Then a Slavic song and a chant-like song they had done last year. Males sing semi-spirituals and a female soloist sang an operatic song and another piece…

“Mom and I noticed that dad didn’t applaud at all for Motherless Child. Perhaps it means too much for him.” Someone announced that my sister Leslie “has won a scholarship to KSC.” [No, she did not end up going there.]

“Four spirituals with African drums… After the standing ovation, they sang Ain’t A That Good News (like it’s supposed to be sung) and The Battle Hymn of the Republic with a piano intro full of discords, which dad dug.”

Afterward, some co-ed seemed to be flirting with me, which was both awkward and nice. “Leslie auditioned sans choir as the audience like I had last year. [I have no recollection of that happening in 1971.] She sang a capella I Wish I knew How It Would Feel To Be Free rather well. She went with the KSCCC to a party at the Treadway Inn.”

Note that KSC, an HBCU, became Kentucky State University in 1972.

1972 – the surprise party

New Hampshire primary

Awkward
From TheAwkwardYetti.com

Mar 5 – After playing pool with Uthaclena, I stopped at the vending machine. I took off my boots to keep my roommate’s floor clean. One of my socks came off. I walked into my room. I saw a stranger, the Okie’s roomie, then my father near the window, and my sister Leslie near my roomie’s mirror. SURPRISE party! Shocked was more like it.

Marcia, Mom, and of course, the Okie and the roomie were there. My family brought Kentucky Fried Chicken, cake, and some beverages. The roomie made a general birthday page in the dorm, and a few people came by. Leslie took her friend Joe to the bus station, then returned. The Okie’s mother and baby sister visited.

I got from my family two rolls of Scotch tape, a bottle of Stridex, 24 8-cents stamps, underpants, a nice blue shirt with a strange VOTE button, and some albums:
Color Blind – the Glitterhouse
Stoned Soul Picnic – the Fifth Dimension
Santana III
There’s A Riot Goin’ On – Sly and the Family Stone
The Okie was worried I wouldn’t like the Leadbelly album she bought me, but I did, especially Bourgeois Blues and Gallows Pole.

The Okie’s father arrived before my family left. Apparently, he was nervous to meet them for some reason, the Okie told me later.

The Okie and I went to see the movie Last Summer, which she found very upsetting, relating to Cathy Burns’ Rhoda. (Burns, who died in 2019, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.)

After the party

Mar 6 Yesterday must have really thrown me because I was so disorganized. Couldn’t find my checkbook or notebooks. Forgot the meal ticket booklet, the fact that one of my classes was canceled, and that my gym stuff was in my laundry

Mar 7 My 19th birthday. Also, the day of the New Hampshire primaries. According to WNPC: Muskie 42%, McGovern 34%, Yorty 8%, Hartke 4%, with votes for supposed non-candidates Mills (5%) and Kennedy (1%). (Official numbers were slightly different.)

Did three loads of laundry. Uthaclena gave me the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album.

Later, I suddenly became very depressed, in part about off and on communication with the Okie.

In general

A lot about snowball fights, doing schoolwork (I really like my Basic Economics II class), Uthaclena reading comic books (e.g. Green Lantern/Green Arrow 89), the Okie’s unreliable car, writing letters, and eating ice cream sandwiches.

Feb 24 – Uthaclena received the Bangladesh album. I gave him Absolutely Live – the Doors. A couple of days later, he bought Pictures at an Exhibition – Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
Feb 26 – Bruce Goldberg had said on WNPC (college radio) that Muhammad Ali was going to meet the kangaroo boxing champion of the world. Apparently, MSG was going to sue Bruce for defamation of character over what was a joke.

1972: A Hole In The Bucket

other implements of destruction

me and Leslie, Feb 1972

My diary notes a fight I had in February 1972 with my girlfriend at the time, the Okie. It involved the song A Hole In The Bucket.

The tune has a bit of history in my family. My father used to sing it, playing both the put-upon Henry and the, er, strident Liza. But by the time we were teenagers, my sister Leslie and I had taken over the song in the Green Family Singers shows. It was our tour de force. I did the cowering bit so well that once, I nearly rolled into a pond at a campground. And Leslie was also very good in her role.

I suspect I had in my mind our version, or maybe Dad’s, or Harry Belafonte and a female singer. Here’s one with Odetta. The Okie’s rendition couldn’t compare. I’m guessing that I was wrong here, overly and unnecessarily critical. One does get a certain version of a song in one’s ear. BTW, here’s a Sesame Street take.

And other things

Besides going to class at SUNY New Paltz and the like, I used to write letters, to Leslie and to several friends I had gone to school with at Binghamton Central High School. I played 8-ball quite often; you’d think I’d get better at it, but not appreciably so.

To no surprise, I listened to a lot of music this month, Led Zeppelin III, Beatles, Donovan, plus whatever was on the college radio station, WNPC.

Feb 4 – read Ms. magazine cover to cover, even the ads
Feb 5 – The Okie tried to teach me to drive her Saab. The manual transmission did me in.
Feb 6 – The Okie, a guy named Steve and I went to see the movie Carnal Knowledge, which I thought was a good film
Feb 7 – the assigned readings to Intro to Black Studies were Before the Mayflower [which I still have], Blues People [ditto; it’s by Amiri Baraka, then Leroy Jones], Soledad Brothers, and an anthology
Feb 8 – I put a check in the bank to put my checking account $4.39 in the black
Feb 13 – Saw the movie Yellow Submarine
Feb 14 – I bought as Valentine’s Day presents two Kris Kristofferson albums, Me and Bobby McGee, and The Silver Tongued Devil and I
The Sunday News (NYC newspaper) editorial thinks this “Women’s Lib” has gone “far enough” and that we need to get back to “normalcy”; no female at Annapolis, e.g.
Feb 17 – Leslie took the bus from Binghamton to visit me; on the 19th, she went on the bus to NYC. [The out-of-focus photo is from that trip.] Later, the Okie’s car got hit, although not seriously. Leslie and the Okie’s roommate slept in my bed, with the Okie and I sleeping on a sleeping bag on the floor. “A lot of laughing and joking for quite a while.”

The snow event

Feb 20 – Digging out several cars after yesterday’s snowstorm. There was a community spirit, but also the more cars we got out of the parking lot, the more additional vehicles could be freed. Where the Okie’s car had gotten stuck the day before on Route 299 was a huge pile of snow. But eventually, we [Uthaclena, the Okie and her roommate, me and my roomie] dig into the pile with our buckets, sticks, and “other implements of destruction.” [Yes, I quoted Arlo.] But we discovered the car wasn’t there after all.

We went to the police station. The older guy there Uthaclena thought was going to keel over, and frankly the Okie and I agreed. He said the car was at Tantello’s Texaco, so the Okie wrote a check for $15.75, but we looked and the car wasn’t there.

It was actually at Uppy’s Gulf. After the woman there told the Okie how to spell Uppy’s, she announced they didn’t accept checks. So we pooled our money to pay the $15 towing fee and the $2 for “parking.” [I have the Uppy’s voided check in my diary.]

The coterie of stuffed animals

Minnesota Twins

stuffed animalsWhat I realized after this post by fillyjonk was that I haven’t spent nearly enough time playing with the stuffed animals. Note that these are MY animals, not my daughter’s. A couple of them technically are my wife’s that I bought for her.

The monkey with the mask is Oscar. He knows he was a replacement for my previous monkey, Ersie, who I lost in the divorce. He’s the most verbal of the creatures and does a great Ersie two-step. His name comes from the fact that my friend Uthaclena found him in a movie theater. I suppose I should get him an N-95 mask except that he really doesn’t get out much these days.

The large white bear in the back, somewhat obscured, is named Mr. Applause. I think it’s the brand of the bear. He’s very cuddly. My sister Leslie gave him to me in the 1990s.

The orange lion to the left is named Lenny, I suppose an obvious name for a lion. But he is really named for Leonard Bernstein, the composer and conductor who had wild and expressive hair. Sometimes he roars, but they are friendly sounds.

The tan bear to the right of Mr. Applause is Gunther. Gunther is so very engaging that my friend Dorothy actually borrowed him for a time.

Genesis

My late brother-in-law John had bought my wife a flower arrangement with came with a bear who was named Genesis, or Genny. Genny got lost on a vacation. I tried to replace her. Both of the dark brown bears, the one behind Lenny and the one to the right were attempts to substitute for Genny. They weren’t quite the right size. But they’re still nice.

There are others that aren’t in the shot. Blanca is a white bear about the size of Jenny to the right. She knows limited Spanish and French. I think one of my former co-workers, Terry, gave her to me.

Twin bears, about the size of Nick, the Santa, are named Minnie and Paula. Minnie’s smile is more Mona Lisa while Paula’s is fuller. Named for two cities in Minnesota, where my late FIL’s favorite baseball team plays.

Stories exist for many of the other stuffed animals, but that’s enough of this. Otherwise, you might think I’m weird or something…

Ellen Green and my JEOPARDY quest

archive.org

Ellen GreenMy sister Leslie is friends with Ellen Green out in SoCal. Best I can tell, she’s no relation to us. But she has been on JEOPARDY. In her appearance on Show #4074 – Thursday, April 25, 2002, she started strong but ended up in third place. But it’s cool to even get to the stage.

This fall, I got to meet Ellen during my weekly Zoom meeting with my sisters. She seems very nice. Subsequently, Leslie sent me a link to Ellen’s appearance, which is housed on archive.org.

In fact, there are several dozen Jeopardy episodes there, some going back to 1984 when Alex Trebek first started hosting the show. They tend to be items likely originally recorded on VHS tape from the local affiliate as opposed to a pristine copy put out by the Jeopardy folks. Some include the ads, which are entertaining on their own. There is even something labeled as Islamic Jeopardy.

Can I find either of my episodes? Well, not so far. I found specific references to my one win, on services such as Yideo.com and Trakt.TV. Oddly, I did find a sparse reference to Roger O. Green on IMDB, which made me laugh.

Looking through YouTube, I had little expectation of finding anything. Their copyright police are quite vigilant. But I did come across the credit roll for 11/10/1998, my second and final appearance.

DIY

So it gets me wondering. Can I upload the episodes to Archive.org? I have a VHS tape of the shows. It also contains some behind-the-curtain footage. Don’t ask how I got it. Now, this tape has been kindly transferred to a DVD. But can that be uploaded? I have no idea since I own no computer that has a drive where the shiny disc used to go. Any insights would be appreciated.

Incidentally, my sister also has ANOTHER friend who was on Jeopardy, Jim,  who was a four-day champion in 1989 and got to the Tournament of Champions. Ellen and Jim recently met, and as Leslie reported, they were “like 2 peas in a pod…could not get a word in edgewise, but it was ok.” Jeopardy folks are like that.

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