Hit (and then Get) the Right Notes

     The thought that occurred to me when I read that a page of Buddy Holly’s high school math notebook was going to be auctioned for an estimated $300-$500 was not the value placed upon such a sheet of ephemera but what significance a series of penciled equations would have to anyone. A scribbled “Peggy Sue, I love you” in a margin might be spurious, even if such a sentiment does not fade away.

     Taking a cue from this auction I have ransacked rusty lockers in abandoned schools, cedar chests in musty attics, and dusty closets that have remained closed for decades to uncover pages from the past which were untimely ripped back then and are now brought back for some new ripping off. Offers are now welcome for …

     A sheet from Frankie Avalon’s penmanship book revealing a predilection for repeating capital D’s and an affection for a girl named Dinah.

     A page from a coloring book belong to Dodie Stevens showing a man garbed in a Panama hat with a purple hatband, tan shoes with pink shoelaces, and a polka-dot vest.

     A list a young Neil Diamond took to a Brooklyn grocery store which indicates he was to bring home two orders of cherries and a bag of sweet, crunchy granola.

     An arithmetic scratch sheet belonging to Sergio Mendes in which each column of figures totals 66.

     A page from Don Gibson’s diary written during a dateless period when the only soulful comment is “Oh, lonesome me.”

     A page from a 1961 calendar showing a cute feline with Al Stewart’s penned heading “Year of the Cat.”

     A torn placard used by Sam Cooke when he was trying to sell a tricycle for “Only 16.”

     An incomplete maze in the shape of a starship belonging to a young Mickey Thomas with “Find your way back” scrawled along the bottom.

     A page ripped from Robert Zimmerman’s first address book listing a residence at “Positively 4th Street.”

     A class roster compiled in 1952 by Shirley Ellis in which each student’s name is rhythmically repeated in a column labeled “The Name Game.”

     Five candy wrappers once owned by little Brenda Tarpley (later Lee), all of them completely empty and therefore a genuine handful of sweet nothings.

     A crude stick figure armed with an oversized pistol drawn by third-grader Ellas McDaniel with the wording “Bo Diddley’s a gunslinger.”

     In grade school Waylon Jennings did not think much of a friend’s crude drawing of a Ford Model T as evidenced by his critical comment “Are you sure Hank done it this way?”

     Andy (Youakim) Kim’s crudely-printed note in crayon to his first babysitter: “Rock me gently.”

     A missing dog poster once tacked to a kiosk by a tearful Ral Donner with the wording “You don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it.”

     A scrap from Les Paul’s astronomy textbook showing two planets separated by the query “How high the moon?”

     A note to the principal by eight-year-old John Ramistella (aka Johnny Rivers) in 1950 excusing his absence because he had the rocking pneumonia compounded with a case of the boogie woogie flu.

     The diagram Jackson Browne drew for an auto mechanics class of a revolutionary vehicle that could function on gasoline or oxygen so it would even keep “running on empty.”

     A class transfer slip indicating a request from Charles Anderson (aka Chuck Berry) to drop biology because of “too much monkey business” and replace it with study hall because he had “no particular place to go.”

     A hiking report from his Cub Scout leader issued to Jerome Geils with a bold “unacceptable” stamped over the excuse “I must have got lost.”

     A detention slip signed by Bobby Pickett, admitting that he was being detained one hour after school for skipping school on October 31st because he considered it the monsters’ holiday.

     One of Cicero’s speeches on which Bill Medley had drawn a heart around the initials “B.M. + L.L.” and has printed the words “A little Latin with Lupe Lu.”

    A map drawn by John Batiste (aka Phil Phillips) in geography class with every significant body of water labeled “Sea of Love.”

    A portrait of an anatomically-correct male painted by Leslie Goldstein (later Gore) in 10th-grade art class with her inscribed declaration that “That’s the way boys are.”

     Jackie Wilson’s six-step exercise plan for infants he called the Baby Workout.

     An unsent letter to Santa Claus from seven-year-old Dionne Warwick who in 1947 specifically wanted “trains and boats and planes.”

    A page of sketches from Walden Cassotto’s woodworking class drawn years before he became Bobby Darin which bears the pledge “If I were a carpenter, I’d make things.”

     A sheet from a spiral-bound second-grade spelling notebook belonging to Concetta Franconero (aka Connie Francis) in which v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n is spelled correctly 18 times.

     A page from Eva Boyd’s physics notebook disputing Newton’s laws of motion and replacing them with one she called the loco-motion.

     A three-page story with a double surprise ending penned by Gary Anderson (aka Gary U.S. Bonds) for Spanish class entitled “Twist, Twist Senora.”

     Don’t delay. Let the bidding begin. Heed the advice Don and Phil Everly lettered on the sign they made for their high school store: “Get them before they are gone, gone, gone.”


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