Friday, December 2, 2011

What I learned about sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll at Linton Hall

Not much!

But the place for learning about these things was at the picnic table next to the canteen. It was a wooden table, with two attached benches, and within reach of an electrical outlet on the outer wall of the canteen, where a kid (I don't remember his name) would plug in his portable record player and play 45 r.p.m. records.

(For younger readers, a 45 r.p.m. was a vinyl record, a bit larger than a CD, with one song on each side. For even younger readers, a CD is a hopelessly old-fashioned music storage disk which was in use before I-Pods.)

Near the picnic table were some cedar trees, I don't recall whether they were close enough to shade the picnic table, but I remember smelling the aromatic red wood of those trees, which is used to line cedar closets.

We heard very little of the outside world at Linton Hall Military School. I don't recall ever reading a newspaper or a news magazine while I was there, and it was only in the late sixties that we finally got to watch television -- "educational" TV was installed in the classrooms, and we occasionally got to watch the evening news, anchored by Walter Cronkite. Very few kids had radios, and we were only allowed to listen to them on rare occasions, such as during evening "rest" -- so hearing contemporary music was a rare treat for us.

When I hear certain songs I recall the first time I heard that particular song, where I was and what I was doing. Songs that I heard at Linton Hall for the very first time include 'Wichita Lineman,' 'Hush,' 'Harper Valley PTA,' 'A Boy Named Sue,' 'Little Green Apples,' and 'Aquarius."

While listening to these songs we would share sexual misinformation -- the clueless misinforming the clueless -- and trade a few dirty jokes. I still remember a couple of those, probably because I heard them over and over again. It wasn't the type of subject matter that the nuns would have wanted us talking about, and I remember one time when one of the kids told another one to be careful, that there was an officer in the group. I was the officer, and just said something like "What? I wasn't paying attention."

We also learned some bizarre conspiracy-type rumors. One cadet claimed that President Kennedy was still alive, and provided a blurry mimeographed (or photocopied) page as "proof." That was how urban legends spread before the Internet.

How do drugs fit in with rock and roll? A nun explained this to us once in the classroom. The Soviet Union, she explained, wanted to corrupt the minds of American youth. And the way they were going about it, she continued, was by giving large cash payoffs to musicians, so they would play what she called "dope music" -- songs with a repetitive beat which would brainwash young people into taking drugs.

Granted, this was the sixties, and there were songs about drugs; but it's exactly for that reason that I seriously doubt that musicians really needed any cash incentives to sing about drugs. Besides, many of the songs about drugs were anti-drug (the Rolling Stones' 'Sister Morphine' and 'Mother's Little Helper' are two examples that come to mind,) and several prominent musicians died during the sixties as a result of drug overdoses.

As much as she had the best intentions in cautioning us about the perils of listening to "dope music" her theories were a little flakey.

Even flakier was what the same nun taught us about sex. She explained that women derive absolutely no pleasure from sexual intercourse, and do it only to please men.

I later learned otherwise, but at the time I took her word for it, since the only sexual experience I had had at the time was holding hands with a girl once in kindergarten.

I shouldn't have expected a nun to be an expert on these things anyway.

That's it. You didn't expect a post titled "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll at Linton Hall" to be long, did you?

Copyright 2011 by "Linton Hall Cadet."
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This blog is not affiliated with Linton Hall Military School and all opinions are those of the author. Comments are always welcome; please do not use your name or names of others.

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