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November 10, 2007

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Paul Carafotes

Jimmy-
Reading your story brings me right back to my humble beginnings. I have some fond memories myself of the Mr. Smith, Mrs. Carafotes era. I to wanted to be a rock star. However, you can also see that didn't exactly work out for me, either. Those early days at SHS... Hmm. The girls, I remember mostly. For whatever the town was thought of from the outside world we had the best looking girls. Music class and chorus were ways and means to get a little closer to them. I actually remember Mrs. Carafotes asking me NOT to sing because that's how bad i was. I had plenty of desire, but not much on pitch. And pitch went a long way in my household, especially having at least on sibling who had perfect pitch [Vicki] she didn’t make my life, at least as an aspiring rock star any easier or swifter. But I digress. I can remember SHS doing South Pacific. The year eludes me now. I was a kid. Maybe 11. But the impression Mr. Smith made on me was indelible. He to me was the show. The way he directed the band and the show at the same time. He held his baton like a spear and joust and jabbed the air as though he were leading the crusades. He moved me so much that from the balcony a performance of a different type immerged.
Perhaps, I 'm realizing at this precise moment that my acting career may have been born in the dark balcony of Somerville highs auditorium. I rose to me feet and began to imitate his rather comedic, bombastic manner. All the blood in my body thrust into my face turning the color red giving me a perfect imitation of the man himself all crimson and flailing limbs. I couldn't help it. I was totally into it. The moment was now. I lifted my arms and off i went. Suddenly, the audience was now watching an 11year old in the balcony. I was into it, man. Gone i was thrusting arms and limbs, pulling all kinds of faces. I was free. Totally. My dad was laughing. He tried to stop me, but I had the crowd by then and he just sat back and enjoyed the show. The two shows. Then i got home and waited for my mother. I figured i was in for it. I mean this was my mom's working partner. She was his McCartney he was Lennon. They were partners in the music division at SHS. She loved Andy Smith. My mother was playing the piano during the show. Always steady and with precision. She had her own flare for the dramatic while she played. A perfect compliment to his outrageousness. The car door slammed. The click clack of her high heels. She was on the porch now I heard the keys dangle and then the door opened. We all waited for her. My sisters and brother all there for the crucifixion. Up the stairs and finally into the living room where my mother had the biggest grin on her face. I couldn't believe it. Yes, she had heard someone was doing an impression of her partner, but when she had found out it was me she couldn't help but laugh. Then she asked me to do a second show for her. We were all relieved, but no one more than I. I actually never thanked Mr. Smith. I do it now. Thanks Andy, if there is complement one could give, it is that you inspired me and many others to go on and at the very least try something that we ourselves never thought we might have. I know now that you are one of the reasons I went on to do what I do and for that I owe a debt of gratitude.
Paul Carafotes
P.s. Incidentally, Dick Gordiniers class oceanography was another place for of inspired dreams.

Paul Carafotes

p.s.s. Happy Birthday Vicki...xxx

Old News

Paul, do you and Jimmy belong to the old Somerville High school "Mutual Admiration Society"? I loved you in "all the right moves"

Gibson Goddess

Hey Jimmy,
Another nostelgic article.....auh the memories of Somerville High and the music dept. That's when Music was the real deal. The 2 greatest music teacher that ever taught!!! Mr. Smith and Mrs. Carafotes. I will never forget Girls Glee Club, Symphonic Choir and the best....SHS Chorus!!! Mrs. Carafotes was an inspiration to the craft. she brought true emotion out of all her students that wanted to learn the craft. What a great response by Paul Carafotes too!! You got to love the true spirit of Somerville!!!! Keep writing your silly side articles.....they continue to put a silly grin on my face after reading your great little stories!!

Sharoney

Hey, Yimmy--

"Do you girls really know what the outside world is like?
Can you see what's beyond the ivy and the lace?"

Sorry, everyone. Inside joke.

Personally, one of my favorite memories of 1970 was the spectacle of überjocks Emmet Smith and Paul Campbell dressed in drag, complete with awful blonde wigs and lipstick, before a full house for a Talent Show specialty number. Ah, those were the days.

Sometimes I think Andy Smith got the job at SHS simply because he was the only one in the city who could bellow over a roomful of 35 guys all horsing around at once.

As for the ever-gracious Mary Carafotes, she was somehow able to get 50 or so girls singing in four part harmony without even raising her voice.

Go figure.

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