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Lange: June Is Bustin'

06/25/12 7:55AM By Willem Lange
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(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 tantalizing.

This is Willem Lange in Montpelier, and I gotta get back to work.


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