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February 10, 2001

The Teen Ten

The recent discussion of roller skating days at Cicero's rink on several instances brought back a topic that was prime in our youth (probably any generation's youth since the development of the phonograph), the musical accompaniment of our lives. Music and its makers were avidly discussed and were the favorite topics of the teen column. The most popular department in the column, both by its readers and its writer, was the Teen Ten, which was mainly a compilation of the favorite pop tunes at the weekly record hops, canteens, and on the street, but secondarily a focus on the broader subject of the music and its making.

Not everyone shared the same degree of enthusiasm for the subject, and I think it was more a male than female topic (I don't know why, but CD players, sound systems and related commodities are male-market items for probably similar reasons). It seems that the musicians are more important to the fairer sex than the music, though I stand to be corrected. But on that point, though the first chapter of my novel, "Why Elvis Can't Act," was greatly exaggerated, there was almost violent reaction by some male defenders of King E when the real column appeared.

I still remember specific friends (Dave Campbell and Johnny Grant, in particular; Dave loved "Three Bells" by the Browns, and "Primrose Lane" by Jerry Wallace; Johnny and I often talked about Pat Boone's recent releases, neither of us able to get around "Moody River"). Laughingly, I recall Stewart Wertz as the best friend I ever had whom I had the least in common with, but one topic we both liked was music, and our tastes in songs were also close. His favorites were Ray Charles' "Born to Lose" and "Hit the Road, Jack," which were on my very good, but not best, list.

What about you? Any musical memories to share?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


With the help of a fertility specialist, a 60-year-old woman had a baby. All her relatives came to visit and meet the newest member of their family. When they asked to see the baby, the 60-year-old mother said, "not yet." A little later they asked to see the baby again. Again, the mother said, "not yet." Finally, they say, "When can we see the baby?" And the mother says, "When the baby cries." They ask, "Why do we have to wait until the baby cries?" The mother replies, "because I forgot where I put it."

Sent by Bob Kennedy

Who you are does make a difference

A high school teacher decided to honor each of her seniors by telling them the difference they each made. She called each to the front of the class, one at a time. First, she told each of them how they had made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each one a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters, that said, "Who I Am Makes a Difference."

Then the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a people's lives. She gave each student three more ribbons and sent them out to spread this acknowledgment ceremony. Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom, and report back to the class in about a week.

One boy in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt. Then he gave him two extra ribbons and said, "We're doing a class project on recognition, and we'd like you to find somebody to honor, give him or her a blue ribbon, then give that person the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me what happened."

Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been known as being kind of grouchy. He told his boss that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. He asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and permit him to put it on him. His surprised boss said, "Well, sure." The junior executive placed the blue ribbon on his boss's jacket above his heart.

As he gave him the last remaining ribbon, he said, "Would you do me a favor? Would you take this ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else? The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people."

That night, the boss came home to his 14-year-old son, sat him down, and said, "The most incredible thing happened to me today. One of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine! He thinks I'm a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says 'Who I Am Makes A Difference'" on my jacket. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor. As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought I want to honor you. My days are really hectic and when I come home I don't pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I yell at you for not getting good enough grades and for your bedroom being a mess, but tonight I just want to let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You're a great kid and I love you!"

The startled boy began to sob and sob, and couldn't stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, "Dad, earlier tonight I sat in my room and wrote a letter to you and Mom explaining why I had killed myself and asking you to forgive me. I was going to commit suicide tonight after you were asleep. I just didn't think that you cared at all. The letter is upstairs. I don't think I need it after all."

His father walked upstairs and found a heartfelt letter full of anguish and pain. The envelope was addressed, "Mom and Dad."

The boss went back to work a changed man. He was no longer a grouch but made sure to let all his employees know that they made a difference. The junior executive helped several other young people with career planning and never forgot to let them know that they made a difference in his life.

And the high school boy and his classmates learned a valuable lesson. Who you are does make a difference.

You are under no obligation to send this on to anyone...not to two people or to two hundred. As far as I am concerned, you can delete it and move on to the next message. But if you have anyone who means a lot to you, I encourage you to send him or her this message and let them know. You never know what kind of difference a little encouragement can make to a person. Send it to all of the people who mean anything important to you.

Or just smile and know that someone thinks that you are important, or you wouldn't have received this in the first place. Remember that! I give you a blue ribbon. Who you are makes a difference, and I wanted you to know that.

Sent by Mike Harrison
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