The Jr. High Sock Hop

And they call those funny feelings Love.

It’s 1958 – You’re A Teenager In L.A. – You’re In Junior High – This Is The Best Year Of Your Life, The Fortune Cookie Said So.

The Jr. High Sock Hop
And they call those funny feelings Love.

KFWB – Gene Weed – November 23, 1958 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

You remember: You swear it all happened at once. You went to bed as a kid and you woke up on another planet. Hair appeared everywhere – your voice dropped in your sleep – when you woke up you could’t stop looking at yourself in the mirror – your face got bigger and your nose started to take over your face.

Maybe it’s L.A. – maybe it’s the smog – maybe you realized the kid clothes you were wearing don’t don’t fit anymore – maybe you’re a teenager. The girls in your class have become mysterious and you find yourself staring . . .a lot. Some of them stare back – you can’t concentrate. You read the same two paragraphs in your Social Studies book over and over – you have suddenly become lousy at homework.

You have discovered your dad’s stack of Playboys in the garage and your hands get sweaty while blood rushes to your head as your eyes land on Miss October. There’s a three-ring circus appearing nightly in the space above your shoulders. You have made the discovery that your Homeroom Teacher bears an uncanny resemblance to Sophia Loren.

That’s you – and you’re not alone. You have friends and they brag – one of them claims to have “been there” and you wonder. You’re all breaking out – you look lumpy and red and you can’t leave your face alone.

The girl you have known since third grade and the first one to get braces has become the object of your unbridled and completely unexplained desire. When you ask her to the upcoming Freshman Dance she tilts her head and looks perplexed, but she agrees and tells you to wear a suit.

You have no clue as to what comes next – there’s no instruction book. Just a pamphlet; “The Do’s And Don’ts Of Good Dating” your gym teacher handed out. None of your friends seem to have any idea either – except the guy who makes claims. He goes on about “bases” and clean underwear.

Aside from watching American Bandstand a few times you really don’t know how to dance – it didn’t seem important until the second you find yourself and your date in the middle of the Boy’s Gym while Nel Blu Dipinto De Blu blares out over the PA system.

Lucky for you she has the presence of mind to grab your arm, fling it around her waist and whisper “follow me” as you stumble around in time to the music.

It wound up being the perfect night. You talked, you held hands, you French-kissed and the entire universe made complete sense. You got her number – she got yours and you promised to call over the weekend. You had no idea what you were getting yourself into but you didn’t really care – you entered another dimension.

And that weekend, when you and your folks did your weekly Sunday Dinner at Kowloon, and your mom leaned over and said “bring your girlfriend next time”, getting the Fortune Cookie that proclaimed “this is the best year of your life” – the whole thing fell into place.

At least for now.

And to accompany the magic, perplexing and inevitable moments; a half hour of Gene Weed at KFWB from November 23, 1958.


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