ANTHEM is coming, chapter 35

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book's 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM's webpage for #teachingAnthem1969
This is Chapter 35 (day 13):

Written by Wayne Carson
Performed by The Boxtops
Recorded at American Sound Studios, Memphis, Tennessee 1967
Drummer: Danny Smythe

"We're stopping at Disneyland," said Sweet Caroline. She sniffed and wiped at her tears.
Molly rolled her eyes. "We are not."
"We must," said Sweet Caroline. She collected herself and seemed to make a decision. "That's why I'm here."
"What?" Norman stood up now.
"Is your cousin really being drafted?" asked Victor.
"Just a minute," Molly said. "I'll be right back." She brought Barry's letters out to the fire. "Please," she said to Victor, indicating a lawn chair. "Sit. You can smoke here."
"Where did you get those!" Norman spluttered.
"You know where I got them."
"They aren't yours!"
"They're written by my brother, and you didn't even tell me you had them on this bus!"
"You didn't ask!"
Victor covered his years. "No more war!"


Finally the contents of Barry's letters are revealed, as is Sweet Caroline's motivation, and Victor's decision.

"The Letter" was such a quirky song. The Boxtops were a quirky group. They were hardly 20 when they recorded "The Letter" and lead singer Alex Chilton was only 16 years old. The Devilles, a local Memphis band, recruited Chilton after his performance at his high school talent show.

The band rebranded as "The Boxtops" and started working with Chips Moman at American Sound Studio, the same studio in Memphis where Norman and Molly meet Elvis.

Our heroes are in a campground in Kingman, Arizona, sitting around the fire after having replenished their supplies in Flagstaff, and after eating a supper of bacon and "Frittata!" according to Sweet Caroline after she added a dozen eggs to the bacon grease and let them set up like a pudding. And they've quartered an apple pie. Hungry.

Norman slept for hours, while Victor drove. They passed Meteor Crater Road, the Lowell Observatory, and the Clark Telescope, all of which Drew, from Little Rock's Chapter 25, would dearly love to see:

"The Lowell Observatory is there," said Drew. "And the Clark Telescope. It has mapped the moon."
"It has?"
"Yes. When President John F. Kennedy said, "We choose to go to the moon!" in 1961, there was no map of the moon."
"There wasn't?"
"I would like to see the craters of the moon through the Clark Telescope. I would like to visit the meteor crater there, too. A meteor slammed into the earth fifty thousand years ago, and the good news is that the astronauts used the crater to learn how to drive their lunar roving vehicle, or LRV, on the moon. We will see them do this on television on July 20, 1969."

You may recognize Drew from COUNTDOWN. He was 9 then; he's 16 now, still Drew, still an egghead, going to Young Engineer's Camp in Little Rock, talking about space travel, and the Titan missiles at the air base in Little Rock. Here is a still from an ANTHEM scrapbook, of a Titan missile in its underground silo:

Space travel was such a big deal in the race to the moon in the Sixties. Here's JFK's speech at Rice University on Sept. 12, 1962. The space race was on everyone's mind, as the moon landing became a reality in the summer of 1969. We are headed there with Anthem. Just got to get to California first.

Chapter 35.

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