Tag Archives: Charboneau

Rock-n-Roll DJs: My brief crush on Jack Rose #AtoZChallenge

Sepai Saturday 568. R is for Rock-n-Roll DJs: My brief crush on Jack Rose. Eighteenth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

The soundtrack of my early teens was WENE 1430 AM — our local radio station on Main St. in Endicott, N.Y.

The station went Top 40 in 1962, six months before I turned 13 — and rocketed straight to number one in the Triple Cities as we Baby Boomers started to tune in.

WENE Radio Center in its heyday. Located on Main St. in Endicott, N.Y., WENE 1430 AM radio was the soundtrack of my teen years.

Sure, I still listened to Detroit, Boston and New York City mega-stations when they boosted their signals late at night — but their disc jockeys were faraway idols, reachable only by letters.

Jack Rose takes my call

Press and Sun Bulletin. Jack Rose had the afternoon time slot on weekends.

The WENE disc jockeys, however, were just a phone call away — and that’s how, at 14, I started calling Jack Rose, who had the afternoon slot on weekends.

I heard on air that WENE was refusing to play a song by Eric Burdon and the Animals. So I phoned the station to complain — and Jack Rose took the call.  This was definitely teen diary material!

WENE Top 40. The “Big Parade of Hits” for February 8, 1964.

Aug. 8, 1964. [DJ] Jim Scott said today that he didn’t like “House of the Rising Sun,” so I called WENE to talk to him. I got Jack Rose and talked to him. Jack said, “Well don’t worry, pretty soon it will be on the survey and he’ll have to play it.” He’s really a SHARP guy!! I’m gonna call him back later tomorrow!

Aug. 9, 1964. Called Jack. He said “call back at 6” and we talked for 1.5 hours! He’s 6’ tall, age 23, goes to Harper [College] and is real sharp. He’s a real panic to talk to.

Rock star proxies

In the Top 40 era, WENE disc jockeys were like rock star proxies — popular and idolized from a distance, yet accessible enough for a phone chat. And I was not the only one dialing the station!

WENE disc jockeys and staff back in the day. I never met Jack Rose — and he never sent me a photo. So I only got to know him through his dulcet tones on the air and on our regular phone calls.

Lots of local teens were calling WENE in the early 1960s. And before long — much to the consternation of our mothers — my best girlfriends from the block and from school were also regularly chatting with their own personal DJs.

Fast forward to now and I was surprised to discover — in the audio history below — that the station actually had a policy of encouraging WENE disc jockeys to spin records at local hops and to get to know their teen fan base.

Well, no wonder they always answered the phone when we called!

Here today, gone tomorrow

Alas, as with most of my teen crushes and idols, Jack Rose was here today, gone tomorrow — on to greener pastures in Radio Land, as I got over him and moved on with my teen life.

Nov. 8, 1964. Called Jack! He’s gonna work at WARM [in Wilkes Barre, PA] or WINR [in Binghamton].

Nov. 15, 1964. Well, he’s gone! Jack (Rose) got the job at WARM (590 am – 9-12 noon weekdays!!). We talked for an hour today. He promised he’d write me. And he will. I cried for a while, but he will write.

Nov. 22, 1964. Jack’s last day at WENE! Lots of kids called him up to say goodbye!!

Dec. 8, 1964. Got a letter from Jack Rose! He’s a doll for writing. Next letter I’m going have him send me his pic! Dyin’ to see him!

A cherished brush with celebrity

And that was the end of that. I never did meet Jack in person — and he never sent me a photo. So I only got to know him through his dulcet tones on the air and on our regular phone calls.

Yet for a teen girl like me, living in small suburban Endwell, chatting with Jack Rose was one more cherished brush with celebrity — right up there with kissing Gene Pitney and having my Dave Clark 5 Fan Club announced in the local paper

Up next, S is for Space flights, Sweater sets and Slam books. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time! Meanwhile, please visit this week’s other Sepia Saturday bloggers.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Orange juice can curlers and On-the-roof suntans #AtoZChallenge

O is for Orange juice can curlers and On-the-roof suntans. Fifteenth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

During my early teens in 1963-65, the favored hairstyle was straight, shoulder-length hair with a flip at the bottom — sometimes teased at the top for what today’s stylists call “elevation.”

Alas, my curly brown hair had plenty of elevation — especially when it was rainy or humid. The trick was trying to flatten my hair and straighten my curls out.

One sure-fire method was to set my hair using orange juice can curlers. The Hair Do magazine cover below gives you a relatively fancy idea of how this worked.

Hair Do magazine cover from the 1960s. Image: Pinterest

Air dried coiffure

In my early teens, large curlers, blow dryers and myriad hair products were not yet commercially available. So we curly-haired girls turned to DIY solutions — stockpiling frozen orange juice cans until we had enough to cover our heads.

Most of the teen girls on my block, and even some of the moms, set their hair this way — then wrapped a light chiffon scarf over the top so their coiffure could air dry. Thus it was normal on our street to see females at work and play with a head full of curlers.

Frozen orange juice cans made excellent hair curlers during my early teens (1963-65). Photo: Molly Charboneau

I became adept at using the orange juice can curlers in my early teens — but when I couldn’t air dry in the daytime, I’d have to sleep overnight with them in. Ouch!

The only way to do it was to hang your head off the bed — which made for a challenging night’s sleep. Fortunately, chemical hair straightener kits came out in my later teens and I was able to give up the OJ curlers for good.

Getting an early tan

Another beauty challenge for teen girls in the early 1960s was having a good tan over the summer. There were no sunscreen creams back then. In fact nobody was aware of the damage the sun’s rays could do to fair skin — and being fair, I usually burned my first time or two in the summer sun.

On the roof suntanning (c. 1964). That’s me on the left, at age 14, my hair freshly out of orange juice can curlers, getting a rooftop tan up on our screened porch with my friend from up the street. Photo: Norm Charboneau

My teenage girlfriends and I exchanged tips about this tanning/burning problem, and the accepted solution was to start your tan as early as possible and build it up gradually.

So some time after Easter — when it was often still cold out with frosty nights — I’d lay a blanket down in our back yard at high noon, put on my bathing suit, and start working on my tan. Brrrr!

On-the-roof tanning

Eventually, this gave way to a new and improved procedure: I’d climb onto the roof of our porch (the same one where I read Edgar Allen Poe) and start my tan up there, where the dark roofing was a bit warmer.

Sometimes my girlfriend from up the street would join me. And there, on high — with our hair carefully set and clad in our modest two-piece bathing suits — we’d start our on-the-roof suntans to be ready for the summer.

Up next, P is for Peg: My mulitasking mom. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Norm: My career-building dad #AtoZChallenge

N is for Norm: My career-building dad. Fourteenth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

From 1963-65, while I was engaged in early teen activities in Endwell, N.Y., my forty-something dad Norm was busy career building at General Electric in nearby Westover, N.Y.

Dad’s job was a short trip from our house, on the way to Johnson City — and he bought a little Fiat 500 for his commute to the plant so my mom could have the big car to shop, shuttle us kids around, drive to grad school in Ithaca and eventually to her own job at a parochial school.

Dad’s General Electric career

In general, my family members did their own thing by day — then we met up around the family dinner table at night to report on our activities.

That’s where we got used to hearing about Dad’s job at GE — along with his primary task, Quality Control (known as “QC” at our house) — as he focused on climbing the corporate ladder.

“Mad Men” electronics version (c. 1964). My dad Norm is at the back of the table, the last man on the left in glasses and a dark suit. He’s pictured here at a General Electric training session with colleagues in their requisite suits, white shirts and pencil ties. Scan by Molly Charboneau

But except for our dinnertime chats and our family’s annual restaurant trip to celebrate Dad’s raise, his work life seemed remote from my day-to-day early teen concerns.

Dad’s family life

Yet Dad was concerned with his children’s lives — and I was pleasantly surprised to find a couple of news reports on his role in the Endwell Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).

The clip at left is from 1963 when I was 13. About halfway down, it lists my parents as “advisors” to the Hooper School PTA — and the last line says Dad served as Scout Liaison.

My younger brothers were Boy Scout age then — and I was still in Girl Scouts in 1963.

An earlier clip from 1961 says Dad was program chair for a panel on “Your Child’s Future: Must Everyone Go to College?”  — a question Dad would answer with a resounding “yes,” as he and Mom wanted that for all of us kids.

Dad on the weekend

On weekends, Dad focused on household tasks and family time.

And on June 10, 1961, about four years after we moved to Endwell, N.Y., Dad paid $850 for our lot on Page Lake — where we spent most Saturdays in the summer during my early teens.

I’ve written about feeling trapped there as my teens progressed because I missed my friends and busy life back home.

My family at Page Lake, New Milford, PA in the early 1960s. That’s me on the dock and my mom and brothers on the rock. Photo by Norm Charboneau

Yet I now feel fortunate to have had that “away” time at camp in my early teens, where I learned to appreciate nature and solitude — which I’m sure is what Dad had in mind when he purchased the land all those years ago.

Up next, O is for Orange juice can curlers and On-the-roof suntans. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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