(Host) "What is so rare as a day in June?" the poet writes. Commentator Willem Lange
seconds the question, and notes that June is a time of promise and
promises long remembered.
(Lange) June is bustin’ out all over
All over the meadow and the hill!
Buds’re bustin’ outa bushes
And the rompin’ river pushes
Ev’ry little wheel that wheels beside the mill!
I’m pretty sure it was Mrs. Callahan’s idea. She’d been our music
teacher since fourth grade, and had somehow managed to turn a restive
mob of young savages into moderately literate musicians; we could
identify notes on the scale, much like Huckleberry Finn, who "could say
the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty-five." Now, in
the spring of 1950, as we approached our ninth-grade graduation and
departure from Bellevue Junior High School, she planned an extravaganza
that would showcase our budding talents. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s "June
Is Bustin’ Out All Over!" would open the show, with solos, duets,
ensembles, and instrumental numbers to follow. Our families were
invited. My own parents were deaf, which would limit their ability to
appreciate it; on the other hand, consider what they’d be spared.
Sixty-two years later, googling the lyrics, I see that most of them
were far too risqué for a 1950s school performance; but Mrs. Callahan
picked out the one verse that would pass muster with any censors.
Miss Ruby, our band teacher, led us in a stirring Sousa march. Proudly
playing first trumpet, I got carried away and added a dinger at the end
that wasn’t in the music.
But the great event
came when Dick Lounsbury and I, clad in drag and named, in the program,
Dixie Lounsbury and Wilhelmina Lange, sang a falsetto rendition of the
old folk song "Lavender Blue." My mother had made me a bonnet and sewed
my sister’s amputated pigtails inside the back. I can report without
bias that we were the hit of the evening.
A week later our principal, Mr. Kittlaus, whom we unanimously
considered an officious oaf, gave a speech and issued us our diplomas.
From there we turned away to what seemed at the time an endless summer
of bicycles, baseball, and fishing. After that, it was different high
schools and then, for some, college. Most of us never saw each other
again. By now it’s safe to assume that some of us never will.
But the month of June, between the coy promises of spring and the
swelter of midsummer, still shines like a bright pearl: a time of
graduation to whatever is coming next; of weddings; and a time for many
of us to reflect on Junes long past and promise fulfilled or still
This is Willem Lange in Montpelier, and I gotta get back to work.