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An Idyllic Camelot

by Eva Pasco, author of the novel "Underlying Notes" 


Alan Jay Lerner, a Harvard classmate of JFK, penned the song “Camelot” for the Broadway musical. Not only a personal favorite of the 35th president of the  United States, this tune became the unofficial theme of his short-lived administration. During an interview for Life Magazine a few days after the assassination, Jacqueline Kennedy remarked, “There’ll be great presidents again…but there’ll never be another Camelot.”   


For most of us growing up during the Sixties, childhood was an idyllic Camelot, affording us a place and time of peace, enchantment, and enlightenment.  I associate my Camelot with the late fifties and early sixties inside Lincoln Community. This small brick building with stately yellow columns surrounded by meadowland opened its double doors to receive students dropped off curbside by school buses aligned along Breakneck Hill Road. The seven teachers inside this school educated all the children from the rural village of Limerock


Having scurried up the concrete steps to the second floor, we banked a left or right to our respective classrooms where teachers awaited their third – sixth grade students.  For this memoir I’m heading to a door on my right into Mrs. McCarthy’s third grade classroom. A sumptuous hot lunch cost $.25 a day or a buck and a quarter for the week – half pint of milk included – glass!  Maplehurst, the local dairy in Lonsdale, delivered these Molotov cocktails ready to explode on impact when we lost our grip on their slippery surface coated with condensation. The slogan emblazoned under the red maple leaf on every bottle: “You Never Outgrow Your Need for Milk.”  



One of the idyllic pastimes I associate with third grade is that of amassing a collection of bottle caps.  For a spell, Maplehurst Dairy capped the opening of each half pint with a presidential seal -  a red, white, and blue circular cardboard disc decorated with stars and stripes, featuring one of our nation’s presidents. When I think back, we must have driven Mrs. McCarthy to the brink of insanity with the high jinx of trading to round out our collection every spare chance we had.  “Hey I’ll trade ya Martin Van Buren for your Millard Fillmore.” You get the drift. 


Idyllic Camelot by Eva Pasco



At the time, the buck stopped at our 33rd president, Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953 – 1961). In my idyllic Camelot, at the age of nine, I had no inkling I’d attend my Junior prom with Paul, the son of one of the brothers who owned Maplehurst Dairy. Nor could I have envisioned I’d teach at the same school with his wife, years later.  I couldn’t have predicted who’d win the 35th presidential election, let alone grasp the significance of Kennedy's assassination on Friday, November 22, 1963 in a motorcade riding through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 p.m. CST. Sorting my bottle caps, I never imagined or could have fathomed heartache from disappointment, death, or delusion either.  Writing this memoir, I discovered a full set of mounted U.S. Presidents milk bottle cap set selling for $125. Who knew we had a potential gold mine stuffed inside our desks?  

A-a-h, good old Lincoln Community…there’s simply not a more congenial spot for happily-ever-aftering than here in Camelot. There’ll never be another Camelot. 

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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco



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