Jul 04, 2013 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Phil Christy’s best memories of attending Liverpool High School in 1937 focus on the good times.
Sure, the nation had yet to fully recover from the Great Depression, but there was still fun to be had.
“We danced and danced and danced,” Phil said June 23 at the Class of ’37 reunion at Carnegie’s Pier 57. We danced to the ‘Tiger Rag.’ We did the dipsy-doodle.”
“It was no dipsy doodle,” chimed in his wife, the former Maggie Wackerle, who also graduated from Liverpool in ’37.
Maggie’s right, of course. The popular dances of the day were jitterbugs like the Lindy Hop. The music was played by guys like Benny Goodman and Bunny Berigan.
“We were good dancers, but of course, all the kids danced in those days,” Phil recalled. “I wish kids these days would dance like that.”
The 76th class reunion was organized by Ken Hurst, who lives in Liverpool on Tulip Street. Ken will celebrate his 94th birthday on July 5.
As you might expect, Class of ’37 reunions are not as crowded as they once were. “Getting old is no picnic,” Phil Christy said. “It’s tough to see all your friends die.”
Six classmates had been expected at the June 23 reunion, but Betty (Pease) Gilmore and Shirley (Hawks) O’Brien didn’t make it to Pier 57, leaving the Christys, Hurst and Marjorie (Glahn) Parsons to reminisce without them.
The Christys now live at The Nottingham in Jamesville, and Parsons resides on Otisco. Two more surviving classmates were unable to attend, Vic Tillotson who lives on Bailey Road and John Haydon, who has relocated to Florida.
Besides urging youngsters to learn the joys of jitterbugging, Phil Christy, who became a successful Syracuse attorney, had a few more words of advice for the new generation: “Don’t give up on your goals.”
Liverpool Mayor Gary White rang me up last Friday morning asking that we clarify the source of the village’s recent donation of $5,000 to the Liverpool Clock Campaign spearheaded by contractor Jack Fisher.
Village trustees voted to contribute leftover money from a federal “multi-modal” grant administered through New York state. The $305,677 grant had been delivered to Liverpool in 2001 to as part of a transportation improvement program at Washington Park, White explained, and some $29,000 remained unspent. Since the Victorian-style timepiece is planned for the eastern end of the park, the trustees deemed it appropriate to make the donation from the remainder of the Washington Park Capital Project Fund.
As to future maintenance of the clock, White said that Fisher’s continued sales of commemorative engraved bricks at $50 a pop should create a fund to pay for upkeep.
Syracuse brassman Jeff Stockham spent two weeks in New Brunswick in May 2012 as music consultant and instrument-furnisher for the historical film “Copperhead,” which is now playing at the Manlius Art Cinema.
Stockham overdubbed cornet parts for the movie’s soundtrack. “Copperhead” was directed by Ron Maxwell whose credits include the Civil War films “Gettysburg” and “Gods & Generals.”
Starring Jason Patric and Peter Fonda, “Copperhead” focuses on Upstate New York families fractured by the violence of the Civil War.
Last year, Stockham had a bit part as a bandsman in Steven Speilberg’s Academy Award-winning film, Lincoln.
Stockham’s Civil War brass band, the Excelsior Cornet Band, will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. Monday, July 8, at Johnson Park in Liverpool.