Music Monday – Closing Time

It’s a sad time for many generations of students who walked the halls of Heidelberg High School.  In drawing down the force levels in Germany, the Army relocated the functions of the Heidelberg community.  As such, Heidelberg High School is closing its doors for good.  The large majority of Lions (our mascot) have fond memories and strong bonds with our fellow pride members and are deeply saddened by the cl0sing of our school.  I wrote a post about the unusual bond the we Lions share last year:  The Pride of Lions.

Closing Time by Semisonic

(released 1998; peaked #1 US Alternative, #2 Canadian Alternative, #11 US Hot 100)

Closing time
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from
Closing time
This room won’t be open till your brothers or your sisters come
So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
Closing time

Semisonic’s song may not be about the closing of a school, but taken out of context, a lot of the lines can be applied to the closing of our school.


…and since we’re talking about my high school closing, I’ll throw in one more.  At my senior prom after party, a couple of classmates sang this song.  It was the theme of our prom and they did a great job!

Always by Atlantic Starr

(released 1987; peaked #1 US Hot 100, #1 US R&B, #1 US Adult Contemporary, #3 UK Singles)

Music Monday – Rick Rolled

There’s this Internet phenomenon that I heard about a couple years ago.  I was actually accused of trying to do it to some friends and I was told that I would have to be a little more stealthy if I was going to successfully Rick Roll someone.  Rick Rolling, for those of you who may not have heard, is getting someone to click a link that spawns Rick Astley‘s video for “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

As it turns out, I wasn’t really trying to Rick Roll anyone.  I like Risk Astley’s music.  I liked it when it first became popular back in the late eighties when he had quite an impressive*** string of hits and I still like it.  His first couple albums were catchy and upbeat, for the most part, and Rick has a great voice which he showcased more on his next album Free.  From that album, here’s Cry for Help.

I think his career suffered a bit because his big hits from the albums Whenever You Need Somebody and Hold Me in Your Arms were all disco-ish, dance club jams, so when his slower, less club-worthy offerings hit the airwaves, they weren’t what most of the listening public were interested in hearing from him.  Some of them still did well enough, though.  Peaking at #10 in the UK, here’s the title track from Hold Me In Your Arms.

What I really find interesting is how we, as consumers, listeners, will purchase and request to hear on the radio some song by a new artist just breaking on the scene and watch their song and/or album debut at number one and within a few years be joking about the song/artist whenever we hear it or hear someone admit to liking the song/artist.  A couple that pop into my head are Vanilla Ice with Ice Ice Baby and Billy Ray Cyrus with Achy Breaky Heart.  Those songs and artists didn’t become household names on their own.  It took millions of people buying and requesting them.  I was in Korea when I first heard Ice Ice Baby and had my parents buy it and ship it to me before it hit the PX.  I still own it and am not ashamed to play it.  Sure, it’s cheesy rap and Vanilla Ice wasn’t the best rapper ever, but it’s catchy.

To that extent, I still have Whenever You Need Somebody vinyl and Rick’s Greatest Hits on CD.  The jams never get old.  I was going to link Together Forever in here, but since I linked the title track from his second album, I’ll link in the one from the first.  Here’s Whenever You Need Somebody.

OK.  I can’t stop myself.  This is a shout out to my fellow HHS Senior Class Trippers.  I vividly recall dancing the night away in Lloret de Mar to this after a visit to the Hula Hula club.  What a great trip!

***According to his website’s biography page, and cited on Wikipedia, Rick Astley is in the Guinness Book of World Record for being the only male solo artist to have his first eight singles hit the top ten in the UK.

A Few of My Favorite Things…err, Teachers, that is

Today, Heidelberg High School Lions are mourning the loss of one of our beloved teachers, Mrs. Wanda McCollar.  Not only did she teach us writing and visual arts, but she had a way of wrapping lessons on life up into what she taught, as well.  She was funny and charming and had a way of drawing even the shy folks out of their shells for one period of the day.  She was the first teacher to get my interested in poetry.  I remember analyzing The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot.  I remember having to write a one hundred word sentence that wasn’t a run on.  And I remember the stories she’d tell us.  She was a nut.  And we loved her.  Thankfully, through Facebook, lots of Lions were able to friend her and enjoy her humor and friendship as adults.  She will be missed.

As I thought about Mrs. McCollar today, I also started thinking about the vast number of teachers I’ve had over the years and how many really stand out…and while there were some things I liked about a lot more of the teachers or some of the things I did in their classes that were memorable, the only ones who really stand out positively for me, other than Mrs. McCollar, are:

“Your head is hard, it is difficult.”  – Mr. Moore, HHS – My eleventh grade honors English teacher.  He was a trip.  I learned more about speaking correctly in his class because that seemed to be what we did the most…talk.  He’d come in and we’d talk and he’d call us names or make little insults in ways that made us remember the corrections he made to our speech.

“Hazlo!” – Senor Pappas – My fourth year Spanish teacher, HHS.  He had a way of teaching class that made it seem like we weren’t really working although I know we worked the whole period.  One of his favorite things to do was, when going over command forms, to open his door and then make sure the German teacher, Mr. Berg, had his door open.  “Hazlo!” sounds quite a bit like the German word for a-hole…especially when heard from across the hall.

Mr. “Slam” Graham – Lawrence North High School, Indiana – I can’t freehand draw a thing, but give me a drafting table and some Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits, and I can whip out your drawing in no time.  Mr. Graham looked more like he belonged on a construction site than in the classroom, but he had an engaging personality and cool, approachable manner that made asking questions easy.  But don’t let his college sports jock manner fool you, he knew his subject and always got the line weight perfect the first time when drawing.

I’m sure that many of the other teachers I had were great and that they reached other students, but for some reason they just didn’t make a strong impression on me…positively, at least, and this post isn’t about the ones I didn’t like.

I’m going to close with a quote by Stephen King, which comes from the pages of “Lisey’s Story“:

“You want to be good for the ones you love, because you know that your time with them will end up being too short, no matter how long it is.”

If you have/have had a great teacher, let them know what an impression they had on your life before they are gone.  R.I.P., Mrs. McCollar.

The Pride of Lions

Improve your image, be seen with a LionThe strength of the pride is in the bonds of its members.

For members of the pride of Lions from Heidelberg High School, the bonds are strong.  Scattered around the world, we find other members and welcome them back into the group, typically through Facebook.  Our pride in our school and bonds with each other extend not only to fellow students and classmates in those grades with whom we may have shared classes, but to those Lions who came before and after us, as well as the faculty and staff of our beloved school.

What is it about HHS that makes our bond so tight?  Why is it that we’re willing to embrace fellow students from ten to 20 years earlier or later as if they were our peers?  It’s a puzzling question.  One that I can’t quite put my finger on.  I attended three different high schools.  First half of ninth grade at one, through the end of tenth at the next, and the last two at Heidelberg.  At the first, I am in touch (through FB) with about ten people who were my friends there (and during the previous two years during middle school) and I have no contact at all with anyone from my second high school.  My list of friends from HHS, though, is close to or greater than 200.

So, why is it that there are so many Lions on my list, many of whom share between 130 and 180 mutual friends?  I think a big part of it is that the majority of us are Army Brats, rounded out with dependents of Army civilians, contractors, and some foreign military, Canadians mostly, as I recall.  The “Army Brat” culture is a bond in itself, but now displace these kids and put them in a foreign country and that bond gets tighter…now they are “Overseas Brats.”  I don’t want to get off track discussing the Army Brat and Overseas Brat culture here, but they are integral to the bonding of the HHS family.

Heidelberg #1The other big factor in the HHS bond is Pride.  We loved our school and the Heidelberg community!  Years later, we still hit the school website and check Stars & Stripes news site to see what’s going on in our old stomping grounds and with our school and its sports teams.  We were all pleased to hear that the boys and girls basketball teams both took home European Championships this year, by the way.  We still buy HHS hoodies and t-shirts and such and wear them around.  We have planned mini-reunions multiple times a year at various locations around the U.S. and, of course, there are the reunions in Heidelberg –those that can’t make it eagerly await the pics of our friends and are green with envy.  We also have impromptu gatherings when one of us is heading somewhere for business or pleasure, we’ll send out a notification and Voila!  a gathering of Lions ensues.

I know this sounds like I’m just painting a rosy picture of our school and that we never had problems.  We did.  Just like any other school, we had our cliques, but we had a lot more “cross pollination” amongst those cliques than I saw at either of my other two schools.  Maybe it was because, as Army Brats, we’d grown up in varied places and learned to get along with lots of different people and cultures.  Maybe it was because we knew that if we got into really big problems, it could spill over into trouble for our parents or result in us being sent back to the States.  Whatever the reasons, as a rule, we just all got along better than normally seen in American high schools.

…and that has spilled over to our lives years after graduation.  We still love our school.  We miss Heidelberg.  We still have some semblances of the cliques, but we still cross-pollinate and chat and get together when we can.  We are saddened when we lose a member and we gladly welcome members into/back into the family when we find them.  Our Pride is strong and we work to keep it that way.

Heidelberg Schloss from across the Neckar

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