Beaufort News

Lauderdale: Survivor of the 1960s uses the beat to help Alzheimer's families

If you stop and think about it, the 1960s could still blow your mind.

Parents must have needed LSD to survive it as they watched the adventures of Ozzie and Harriet get trampled by flower children, the Vietnam War, marches on Washington, marches on Selma, the silent majority, the Beatles, the Cuban missile crisis, the Chicago Seven, the Mustang, Woodstock and "Easy Rider."

And on Nov. 22, 1963, our world stood still for all the wrong reasons.

"Things exploded," said Nancy Head Thode, whose forebears in Beaufort were flower children before there was such a thing as flower children.

"We felt all the ills of society could be cured through activism," she said Tuesday from her home on Fripp Island. "It was exciting. We felt we could make a difference. People were energized."

That's what drew her into a two-year journey to write a one-woman show, "Camelot Came Calling: The Fabulous 1960s."

Her performance will be the highlight of this Friday night's fundraiser for Alzheimer's Family Services of Greater Beaufort at The Shed in Port Royal.

This is the second one-woman show she has performed gratis for the nonprofit. Six years ago, she performed "Southern Belle Lives to Tell ... A Musical Autobiography."

Thode's biography includes her mother, cutting-edge novelist Ann Head, and great-grandmother, the free-thinking Abbie Holmes Christensen who established a school in Burton for freedmen after the Civil War. It includes her career in Connecticut as a family counselor, and annual reunions still held in Beaufort for her Brownie Scout troop.

Four years ago, Thode buried her husband, Irving, at the Parish Church of St. Helena after his 10-year slide through the abyss of dementia.

Thode never crossed a stage until 15 years ago. And she didn't sing. "I mouthed the words in church," she said. But she ventured to a theater, took voice lessons and began to audition. Her community theater highlight is playing Daisy in "Driving Miss Daisy" at The Curtain Call in Stamford, Conn.

She said her 1960s show is upbeat. People sing along sometimes as she sprinkles personal vignettes with songs like "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Stop! In the Name of Love," and "The Times They Are A-Changin'."

The show can make you laugh, and it can make you cry.

Sort of like growing up in the '60s.

IF YOU GO

What: Alzheimer's Family Services 9th Annual Dinner Theatre

When: Friday, Oct. 9, at The Shed in Port Royal. Doors open at 6 p.m. for silent auction and open bar. Dinner stations open at 6:45 p.m. Show follows.

Attire: Your favorite '60s outfit.

Tickets: $65. For information call 843-521-9190 or visit http://afsgb.org.

Follow columnist and senior editor David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale and facebook.com/david.lauderdale.16.

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