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H igh school was a great ride. I liked the schoolwork, my friends, the band, DeMolay, and my other activities, but it bothered me that Hot Springs schools still werent integrated. The black kids still went to Langston High School, which claimed as its most famous alumnus the legendary Washington Redskins back Bobby Mitchell. I followed the civil rights movement on the evening news and in our daily paper, the Sentinel-Record, along with Cold War events like the Bay of Pigs and the U-2 incident with Francis Gary Powers. I can still see Castro riding into Havana at the head of his ragtag but victorious army. But as with most kids, politics took a backseat to daily life. And apart from Daddys occasional relapses, I liked my life a lot..cartier love ring replica.
It was in high school that I really fell in love with music. Classical, jazz, and band music joined rock and roll, swing, and gospel as my idea of pure joy. For some reason I didnt get into country and western until I was in my twenties, when Hank Williams and Patsy Cline reached down to me from heaven..www.sigmund-freud.co.uk.
In addition to the marching and concert bands, I joined our dance band, the Stardusters. I spent a year dueling for first chair on tenor sax with Larry McDougal, who looked as if he should have played backup for Buddy Holly, the rocker who died tragically in a bad-weather plane crash in 1959 along with two other big stars, the Big Bopper and seventeen-year-old Richie Valens. When I was President I gave a speech to college students in Mason City, Iowa, near where Holly and his pals had played their last gig. Afterward I drove to the site, the Surf Ballroom, in neighboring Clear Lake, Iowa. Its still standing and ought to be turned into a shrine for those of us who grew up on those guys..Cartier love bracelet replica.
Anyway, McDougal looked and played as if he belonged with them. He had a ducktail hairdo, crew cut on top, long hair greased back on the sides. When he stood for a solo, he gyrated and played with a blaring tone, more like hard-core rock and roll than jazz or swing. I wasnt as good as he was in 1961, but I was determined to get better. That year we entered a competition with other jazz bands in Camden in south Arkansas. I had a small solo on a slow, pretty piece. At the end of the performance, to my astonishment, I won the prize for best sweet soloist. By the next year, I had improved enough to be first chair in the All-State Band, a position I won again as a senior, when Joe Newman won on drums..cartier love bracelet replica.
In my last two years I played in a jazz trio, the 3 Kings, with Randy Goodrum, a pianist a year younger and light-years better than I was or ever could be. Our first drummer was Mike Hardgraves. Mike was raised by a single mom, who often had me and a couple of Mikes other friends over for card games. In my senior year Joe Newman became our drummer. We made a little money playing for dances, and we performed at school events, including the annual Band Variety Show. Our signature piece was the theme from El Cid. I still have a tape of it, and it holds up pretty well after all these years, except for a squeak I made in my closing riff. I always had problems with the lower notes..www.ideafutura.co.uk.
My band director, Virgil Spurlin, was a tall, heavyset man with dark wavy hair and a gentle, winning demeanor. He was a pretty good band director and a world-class human being. Mr. Spurlin also organized the State Band Festival, which was held over several days every year in Hot Springs. He had to schedule all the band performances and hundreds of solo and ensemble presentations in classrooms in the junior and senior high school buildings. He scheduled the days, times, and venues for all the events on large poster boards every year. Those of us who were willing stayed after school and worked nights for several days to help him get the job done. It was the first large organizational effort in which I was ever involved, and I learned a lot that I put to good use later on..cartier love braclet replica.
At the state festivals, I won several medals for solos and ensembles, and a couple for student conducting, of which I was especially proud. I loved to read the scores and try to get the band to play pieces exactly as I thought they should sound. In my second term as President, Leonard Slatkin, conductor of the Washington National Symphony, asked me if I would direct the orchestra in Sousas Stars and Stripes Forever at the Kennedy Center. He told me all I had to do was wave the baton more or less in time and the musicians would do the rest. He even offered to bring me a baton and show me how to hold it. When I told him that Id be delighted to do it but that I wanted him to send me the score of the march so I could review it, he almost dropped the phone. But he brought the score and the baton. When I stood before the orchestra I was nervous, but we got into it, and away we went. I hope Mr. Sousa would have been pleased..hermes h bracelet replica.
My only other artistic endeavor in high school was the junior class play, Arsenic and Old Lace, a hilarious farce about two old maids who poison people and stash them in the house they share with their unsuspecting nephew. I got the role of the nephew, which Cary Grant played in the movie. My girlfriend was played by a tall, attractive girl, Cindy Arnold. The play was a big success, largely because of two developments that werent part of the script. In one scene, I was supposed to lift up a window seat, find one of my aunts victims, and feign horror. I practiced hard and had it down. But on play night, when I opened the seat, my friend Ronnie Cecil was crammed into it, looked up at me, and said, Good evening, in his best vampire voice. I lost it. Luckily, so did everyone else. Something even funnier happened offstage. When I kissed Cindy during our only love scene, her boyfrienda senior football player named Allen Broyles, who was sitting in the front rowlet out a loud comic groan that brought the house down. I still enjoyed the kiss..hermes h belet replica.
My high school offered calculus and trigonometry, chemistry and physics, Spanish, French, and four years of Latin, a range of courses many smaller schools in Arkansas lacked. We were blessed with a lot of smart, effective teachers and a remarkable school leader, Johnnie Mae Mackey, a tall, imposing woman with thick black hair and a ready smile or a stern scowl as the occasion demanded. Johnnie Mae ran a tight ship and still managed to be the spark plug of our school spirit, which was a job in itself, because we had the losingest football team in Arkansas, back when football was a religion, with every coach expected to be Knute Rockne. Every student from back then can still remember Johnnie Mae closing our pep rallies leading the Trojan yell, fist in the air, dignity discarded, voice roaring, Hullabloo, Ke-neck, Ke-neck, Hullabloo, Ke-neck, Ke-neck, Wo-Hee, Wo-Hi, We win or die! Ching Chang, Chow Chow! Bing Bang, Bow Wow! Trojans! Trojans! Fight, Fight, Fight! Fortunately, it was just a cheer. With a 6291 record in my three years, if the yell had been accurate, our mortality rate would have been serious..cartier love bracelet replica.
I took four years of Latin from Mrs. Elizabeth Buck, a delightful, sophisticated woman from Philadelphia who had us memorize lots of lines from Caesars Gallic Wars. After the Russians beat us into space with Sputnik, President Eisenhower and then President Kennedy decided Americans needed to know more about science and math, so I took all the courses I could. I was not very good in Dick Duncans chemistry class, but did better in biology, though I remember only one remarkable class, in which the teacher, Nathan McCauley, told us we die sooner than we should because our bodies capacity to turn food into energy and process the waste wears out. In 2002, a major medical study concluded that older people could increase their life span dramatically by sharply decreasing food intake. Coach McCauley knew that forty years ago. Now that I am one of those older people, I am trying to take his advice..http://www.chronopay.eu/.
My world history teacher, Paul Root, was a short, stocky man from rural Arkansas who combined a fine mind with a homespun manner and an offbeat, wicked sense of humor. When I became governor, he left his teaching position at Ouachita University to work for me. One day in 1987, I came upon Paul in the state Capitol talking to three state legislators. They were discussing Gary Harts recent downfall after the story broke about Donna Rice and the Monkey Business. The legislators were all giving Gary hell in their most sanctimonious voices. Paul, a devout Baptist, director of his church choir, and certified straight arrow, listened patiently while the legislators droned on. When they stopped for breath, he deadpanned, Youre absolutely right. What he did was awful. But you know what else? Its amazing what being short, fat, and ugly has done for my moral character. The legislators shut up, and Paul walked off with me. I love that guy..http://www.leadformance.co.uk/.
I enjoyed all my English courses. John Wilson made Shakespeares Julius Caesar come alive to Arkansas fifteen-year-olds by having us put the meaning of the play in ordinary words and asking us repeatedly whether Shakespeares view of human nature and behavior seemed right to us. Mr. Wilson thought old Will had it about right: life is comedy and tragedy..www.sebby.cc.
In junior English honors class, we had to write an autobiographical essay. Mine was full of self-doubt I didnt understand and hadnt admitted to myself before. Here are some excerpts:.http://www.titelhelden.eu/.
I am a person motivated and influenced by so many diverse forces I sometimes question the sanity of my existence. I am a living paradoxdeeply religious, yet not as convinced of my exact beliefs as I ought to be; wanting responsibility yet shirking it; loving the truth but often times giving way to falsity. . . . I detest selfishness, but see it in the mirror every day. . . . I view those, some of whom are very dear to me, who have never learned how to live. I desire and struggle to be different from them, but often am almost an exact likeness. . . . What a boring little wordI! I, me, my, mine . . . the only things that enable worthwhile uses of these words are the universal good qualities which we are not too often able to place with themfaith, trust, love, responsibility, regret, knowledge. But the acronyms to these symbols of what enable life to be worth the trouble cannot be escaped. I, in my attempts to be honest, will not be the hypocrite I hate, and will own up to their ominous presence in this boy, endeavoring in such earnest to be a man. . . ..Cartier Love Bracelet Replica.
My teacher, Lonnie Warneke, gave me a grade of 100, saying the paper was a beautiful and honest attempt to go way down inside to fulfill the classic demand to know thyself. I was gratified but still unsure of what to make of what Id found. I didnt do bad things; I didnt drink, smoke, or go beyond petting with girls, though I kissed a fair number. Most of the time I was happy, but I could never be sure I was as good as I wanted to be.
Miss Warneke took our small class on a field trip to Newton County, my first trip into the heart of the Ozarks in north Arkansas, our Appalachia. Back then it was a place of breathtaking beauty, hardscrabble poverty, and rough, all-consuming politics. The county had about six thousand people spread over more than a couple of hundred square miles in hills and hollows. Jasper, the county seat, had a little more than three hundred people, a WPA-built courthouse, two cafs, a general store, and one tiny movie theater, where our class went one night to watch an old Audie Murphy western. When I got into politics I came to know every township in Newton County, but I fell in love with it at sixteen, as we navigated the mountain roads, learning about the history, geology, flora, and fauna of the Ozarks. One day we visited the cabin of a mountain man who had a collection of rifles and pistols dating back to the Civil War, then explored a cave the Confederates had used for munitions storage. The guns still fired, and remnants of the arsenal were still in the cave, visible manifestation of how real a century-old conflict was in places where time passed slowly, grudges died hard, and handed-down memories hung on and on. In the mid-seventies, when I was attorney general, I was invited to give the commencement address at Jasper High School. I urged the students to keep going in the face of adversity, citing Abraham Lincoln and all the hardships and setbacks hed overcome. Afterward, the leading Democrats took me out into a bright starlit Ozark night and said, Bill, that was a fine speech. You can give it down in Little Rock anytime. But dont you ever come up here and brag on that Republican President again. If hed been that good, we wouldnt have had the Civil War! I didnt know what to say.
In Ruth Sweeneys senior English class, we read Macbeth and were encouraged to memorize and recite portions of it. I made it through a hundred lines or so, including the famous soliloquy that begins, Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time and ends, Lifes but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Almost thirty years later, when I was governor, I happened to visit a class in Vilonia, Arkansas, on a day the students were studying Macbeth, and I recited the lines for them, the words still full of power for me, a dreadful message I was always determined would not be the measure of my life.
The summer after my junior year, I attended the annual weeklong American Legion Boys State program at Camp Robinson, an old army camp with enough primitive wooden barracks to house a thousand sixteen-year-old boys. We were organized by cities and counties, divided equally into two political parties, and introduced as candidates and voters to local, county, and state politics. We also developed platforms and voted on issues. We heard addresses from important figures, from the governor on down, and got to spend one day at the state Capitol, during which the Boys State governor, the other elected officials and their staffs, and the legislators actually got to occupy the state offices and legislative chambers.
At the end of the week, both parties nominated two candidates for the Boys Nation program, to be held toward the end of July at the University of Maryland in College Park, near the nations capital. An election was held, and the top two vote-getters got to go as Arkansas senators. I was one of them.
I went to Camp Robinson wanting to run for Boys Nation senator. Though the most prestigious post was governor, I had no interest in it then, or in the real job itself, for years thereafter. I thought Washington was where the action was on civil rights, poverty, education, and foreign policy. Besides, I couldnt have won the governors election anyway, since it was, in the Arkansas vernacular, saucered and blowedover before it started. My longtime friend from Hope, Mack McLarty, had it in the bag. As his schools student-council president, a star quarterback, and a straight-A student, he had begun lining up support all across the state several weeks earlier. Our party nominated Larry Taunton, a radio announcer with a wonderful silken voice full of sincerity and confidence, but McLarty had the votes and won going away. We were all sure he would be the first person our age to be elected governor, an impression reinforced four years later when he was elected student body president at the University of Arkansas, and again just a year after that when, at twenty-two, he became the youngest member of the state legislature. Not long after that, Mack, who was in the Ford business with his father, devised a then-novel leasing scheme for Ford trucks, which eventually made him and Ford Motor Company a fortune. He gave up politics for a business career that led him to the presidency of Arkansas-Louisiana Gas Company, our largest natural gas utility. But he stayed active in politics, lending leadership and fund-raising skills to many Arkansas Democrats, especially David Pryor and me. He stayed with me all the way to the White House, first as chief of staff, then as special envoy to the Americas. Now he is Henry Kissingers partner in a consulting business and owns, among other things, twelve car dealerships in So Paulo, Brazil.
Though he lost the governors race, Larry Taunton got a big consolation prize: as the only boy besides McLarty with 100 percent name recognition, he was a lock cinch for one of the two Boys Nation slots; he had only to file. But there was a problem. Larry was one of two stars in his hometown delegation. The other was Bill Rainer, a bright, handsome multi-sport athlete. They had come to Boys State agreeing that Taunton would run for governor, Rainer for Boys Nation. Now, though both were free to run for Boys Nation, there was no way two boys from the same town were going to be elected. Besides, they were both in my party and I had been campaigning hard for a week. A letter I wrote to Mother at the time recounts that I had already won elections for tax collector, party secretary, and municipal judge, and that I was running for county judge, an important position in real Arkansas politics.
At the last minute, not long before the party met to hear our campaign speeches, Taunton filed. Bill Rainer was so stunned he could hardly get through his speech. I still have a copy of my own speech, which is unremarkable, except for a reference to the Little Rock Central High turmoil: We have grown up in a state ridden with the shame of a crisis it did not ask for. I did not approve of what Faubus had done, and I wanted people from other states to think better of Arkansas. When the votes were counted, Larry Taunton finished first by a good margin. I was second with a pretty good cushion. Rainer finished well back. I had come to really like Bill, and I never forgot the dignity with which he bore his loss.
In 1992, when Bill was living in Connecticut, he contacted my campaign and offered to help. Our friendship, forged in the pain of youthful disappointment, enjoyed a happy renewal.
Larry Taunton and I defeated our opponents from the other party after another day of campaigning and I arrived in College Park on July 19, 1963, and eager to meet the other delegates, vote on important issues, hear from cabinet members and other government officials, and visit the White House, where we hoped to see the President.
The week passed quickly, the days packed with events and legislative sessions. I remember being particularly impressed by Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz and completely caught up in our debates over civil rights. Many of the boys were Republicans and supporters of Barry Goldwater, who they hoped would defeat President Kennedy in 1964, but there were enough progressives on civil rights, including four of us from the South, for our legislative proposals to carry the day.
Because of my friendship with Bill Rainer and my more liberal views on civil rights, I had a tense relationship with Larry Taunton the whole week of Boys Nation. Im glad that, after I became President, I got to meet the grown-up Larry Taunton and his children. He seemed to be a good man whod built a good life.
On Monday, July 22, we visited the Capitol, took pictures on the steps, and met our states senators. Larry and I had lunch with J. William Fulbright, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and John McClellan, chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The seniority system was alive and well, and no state had more power from it than Arkansas. In addition, all four of our congressmen held important positions: Wilbur Mills was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee; Oren Harris, chairman of the Commerce Committee; Took Gathings, ranking member of the Agriculture Committee; and Jim Trimble, who had been in Congress only since 1945, a member of the powerful Rules Committee, which controls the flow of legislation to the House floor. Little did I know that within three years I would be working for Fulbright on the Foreign Relations Committee staff. A few days after the lunch, Mother got a letter from Senator Fulbright saying that he had enjoyed our lunch and that she must be proud of me. I still have that letter, my first encounter with good staff work.
On Wednesday, July 24, we went to the White House to meet the President in the Rose Garden. President Kennedy walked out of the Oval Office into the bright sunshine and made some brief remarks, complimenting our work, especially our support for civil rights, and giving us higher marks than the governors, who had not been so forward-leaning in their annual summer meeting. After accepting a Boys Nation T-shirt, Kennedy walked down the steps and began shaking hands. I was in the front, and being bigger and a bigger supporter of the Presidents than most of the others, I made sure Id get to shake his hand even if he shook only two or three. It was an amazing moment for me, meeting the President whom I had supported in my ninth-grade class debates, and about whom I felt even more strongly after his two and a half years in office. A friend took a photo for me, and later we found film footage of the handshake in the Kennedy Library.
Much has been made of that brief encounter and its impact on my life. My mother said she knew when I came home that I was determined to go into politics, and after I became the Democratic nominee in 1992, the film was widely pointed to as the beginning of my presidential aspirations. Im not sure about that. I have a copy of the speech I gave to the American Legion in Hot Springs after I came home, and in it I didnt make too much of the handshake. I thought at the time I wanted to become a senator, but deep down I probably felt as Abraham Lincoln did when he wrote as a young man, I will study and get ready, and perhaps my chance will come.
I had some success in high school politics, getting elected president of the junior class, and I wanted to run for president of the student council, but the accrediting group that oversaw our high school decided that Hot Springs students were not allowed to be involved in too many activities and ordered restrictions. Under the new rules, since I was the band major, I was ineligible to run for student council or class president. So was Phil Jamison, the captain of the football team and the odds-on favorite to win.
Not running for high school student-council president didnt hurt me or Phil Jamison too much. Phil went on to the Naval Academy, and after his naval career he did important work in the Pentagon on arms control issues. When I was President, he was involved in all our important work with Russia, and our friendship gave me a close account of our efforts from an operational level, which I would not have received had I not known him.
In one of the dumber political moves of my life, I allowed my name to be put up for senior class secretary by a friend who was angry about the new activity restrictions. My next-door neighbor Carolyn Yeldell defeated me handily, as she should have. It was a foolish, selfish thing for me to do, and proof positive of one of my rules of politics: Never run for an office you dont really want and dont have a good reason to hold.
Notwithstanding the setbacks, sometime in my sixteenth year I decided I wanted to be in public life as an elected official. I loved music and thought I could be very good, but I knew I would never be John Coltrane or Stan Getz. I was interested in medicine and thought I could be a fine doctor, but I knew I would never be Michael DeBakey. But I knew I could be great in public service. I was fascinated by people, politics, and policy, and I thought I could make it without family wealth, or connections, or establishment southern positions on race and other issues. Of course it was improbable, but isnt that what America is all about?