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HomeTheGoodStuffThe Good Stuff by Shelley Bennett

The Good Stuff by Shelley Bennett

by Shelley Bennett

This week is Winterfest at LHS. I often get asked the question, what is Winterfest? I think I know the answer. The big winter celebration used to be the Lassen Invitational Tournament. It was usually in January and included 20+ teams in small and large school divisions playing boys basketball. There was an assembly, dance, royalty, just like Homecoming. Maybe even bigger and better.

I remember going to watch my uncles. As Block L members, they acted as escorts for the Queen candidates and princesses. It was a huge deal and lots of fun.

Sometime around 1985-86, CIF decided that all tournaments had to be played in the preseason and not during league play, so that was the end of LIT. So, someone (probably Mrs. Poteet or Diane Kingston) came up with the idea of Winterfest and it stuck.

This year’s theme is Lassen Wrapped, a take on the popular end-of -year report from Spotify, and all of our spirit days and activities are centered around music. As I discussed some of my ideas with the ASB class I could tell there was a disconnect. There were times when they stared blankly at me. Which brings me to:

The Top Three Musical Things Kids These Days Don’t Know They Are Missing

Listening to the Top 10 Countdown on the radio –

It didn’t matter if it was Casey Kasem or Tom Craig (the popular, late KSUE DJ) or if you were at home doing your homework or talking on the phone with your friend, you would listen to the countdown every week. It was always fun when there was an upset, like a new #1 song. You might even record the countdown so you would have all the latest hits on your previous blank cassette tape.

Forty years ago (cough cough), the week of January 21, 1984 some of the top songs were “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, “Karma Chameleon”, and “Talking in Your Sleep”. If you are in your 50s, I bet you sang some of those lyrics as you read that sentence. “When you close your eyes and go to sleep/And it’s down to the sound of your heartbeat…”

Making a Mix Tape or Burned CD –

My aunt Becky was the best at making mix tapes. She introduced me to a wide buffet of music that I had never heard before. From U2 to The Cars to Led Zeppelin and Def Leppard. Elton John to America and The Rolling Stones, she made sure my musical taste was complete and eclectic. She would often curate a collection to commemorate a special event, like turning 17. (“A Girl I Knew” by Steppenwolf, Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”, and of course “Dancing Queen.”)

My friend Becky Williams and I took inspiration from my aunt and created Mix Tapes for our 8th grade dances. We took this job very seriously and used her mom’s giant stereo to record “tape to tape”. We would start with a banger, like Night Ranger’s “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”, follow up with “Bang Your Head” by Quiet Riot, then add “Centerfold” from the J. Geils Band. Everyone would be up and dancing by then.

It was important to include several slow songs as well and Air Supply never disappointed. Both “Even the Nights are Better” and “All out of Love” would ensure that you could dance slowly and closely to your latest crush.

In high school our talents were used to make the run-in music for Varsity Basketball. Anything AC/DC and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” were always at the beginning. I guess it worked because our boys won section that year.

Requests and Dedications –

This is related to #1 but has the emotional response of #2. Everyone remembers the day the local DJ had the request line open. You could call KSUE (who remembers the phone number?) and ask the DJ to play any song. Your favorite, something new, maybe an oldie. I don’t remember there being any rules. It was a way to say something or express your emotions to someone without having to find your own words.

You had to listen on this night because someone might dedicate a song to you. I remember Tom Craig saying, “This one goes out to (fill in the blank) with all my love from (fill in the next blank) and wished fervently that I would someday be the recipient. This was also an ideal time to add this personalized message to your own Mix Tape.

As we gear up for the week, I would like to dedicate “Don’t Stop Believin’” to my co-teacher Becky Reger. It will be Friday soon, I promise.


Remember when news was ‘newsy’? When you read about weddings, family events and engagement announcements in the newspaper? If you have something that might be newsworthy, please submit it to [email protected] and I’ll do my best to include it here in “The Good Stuff.”

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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