My class in school was the beginning of the baby boomers in Concord. My parents were married at the George Wheeler Farm on Rt 117, Nine Acre Corner, in May 1945. My father and his best man, Ken Enochson, served in the US Marine Corp as pilots. Tragically, Ken died in a crash of his Corsair in training later that summer. My father served as Ken’s body’s escort home. My mother joined him. In the midst of tragedy, I was conceived, and nine months later I was born at Emerson Hospital and named after my father’s best friend.
We started school at the newly constructed Alcott School for grades K through 6. As we entered third grade it was clear that the building would not accommodate the growing student body. (My class, 1964, had over 200 graduates while the class of 1963 had under 150.) In order to enable construction of an adequate school building, our class started fourth grade at Peter Bulkeley but finished the year at Alcott with the expectation that we would complete our elementary schooling there.
The boom continued and, by the time we entered sixth grade, Alcott was too small. So, we returned to Peter Bulkeley for sixth grade, and then, seventh and eighth grade.
We enjoyed school. But who wouldn’t enjoy Mr. Dickie, an exceptional math teacher who sparked an interest in math among many of us and sent us on to Mr. Levy at Concord-Carlisle High School. In our free time, we preferred to play baseball, all kinds of baseball games at Emerson Playground, depending on the number of players and the fields available. One thing missing from our baseball experience was the leisurely trot around the bases after hitting a home run. In those days, there were three football fields laid out on Emerson Playground (inside the track oval and two fields parallel to Everett St, one at each corner). The football field by the Armory provided the lines to define a baseball field: one sideline was the third base line while a yard line served as the first base line. We were home!
There were no dining facilities at Peter Bulkeley. As a result, we had to walk to Alcott for lunch. Two days a week, after lunch, the gymnasium at Alcott was set up with a disc jockey playing music for dancing, a sock hop. We segregated themselves into the four corners of the gym. The 7th grade boys, in one corner of the gym, could stare across their end of the gym at the 7th grade girls while they stared back. The 8th grade students did the same.
All was fine until the day Charlie Blair, an 8th grader, decided to ask one of our girls to dance. Infuriated, we re-composed the words to the Coasters hit, Charlie Brown (he’s a clown), into Charlie Blair (he’s a square) which, with much relish, we sang the next time the song played at the sock hop.
The seasons changed and it was spring. And then, one day, we, the 7th grade boys, skipped the sock hop to play baseball.
A female classmate, Karen Whitestone, told me later that, after discovering that we were not at the sock hop, she and her friends walked out of the sock hop and returned to the playground. As they walked by us playing baseball, they glared at us. Much to their chagrin, we didn’t notice. And why would we notice girls when we were playing baseball?