It must have been 80s Friday in Peet’s this morning. Roxy Music was on when I entered, so it felt like a great start to a much deserved weekend. It’s funny how the beginning notes of a song time-warp a soul back to a specific place, and like an out of body experience, you can look through a window at how you once were.
I moved to a new town in 5th grade and despite the other kids at school not being into music as much as I was, I remained true to my pink boom box with its turquoise strap, and my record player, and beloved KWSS radio station. I loved music; I knew the latest songs, and would even practice them in front of my mirror.
That Christmas, my Gram bought me four records from Tower Records. I am pretty sure my mom either picked them out for her, or went with her to purchase them. She must have asked the sales person, most likely pierced, tatooed, and mohawked, to suggest some “cool” records for her 10 year old granddaughter.
I received Steve Winwood’s album “Back in the High Life”, Whitney Houston’s “Whitney”, Debbie Gibson’s “Out of the Blue”, and the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack. I had no idea who the hell Steve Winwood was, so I secretly asked my mom if I could return it, but I coveted the others.
This morning, “Hungry Eyes” from Dirty Dancing played. It was like smelling wet blacktop–it transformed me back 25 years. There I sat in my new bedroom in a town I wasn’t super crazy about, and listened to that record over and over and over. I wasn’t allowed to see the movie until I was 13. My parents took the PG-13 warning literally. I saw it at my best friend’s house for a slumber party, but I knew the music inside and out. As a matter of fact, the two of us coordinated a dance to “Do You Love Me?” by The Contours. It mostly consisted of pas de bourrees and The Pony.
I had found out that a boy in my grade had a crush on me, and I was terrified. He was a nice kid, and we were all friends. He bought a new hat apparently to impress me–one of those skater hats that had the long skirt in the back, split down the middle. Black and turquoise checkers. It was like my Vans that I still wear today.
I think we had it much easier than my students today. No internet. No cell phones. Just straight, true conversations and living through music. We talked about baseball games, and the Forty Niners, and MTV. T&C and Vans and Esprit cornered the clothing market, and small pods of us would meet after school at Foodland to buy Now & Laters and Mambas. We were allowed to be just kids. Sadly, childhood is slowly waning much earlier for kids these days.
I’ve been spread in many directions the past few weeks and have had little time to write here. It’s a shame because every day, I think of something to write about relating to music. Once things calm down a bit with school, I will probably allow myself a little more time and space to focus on My Words on a String.
I am rapidly approaching my first year of writing this blog, and I have to say, I am very thankful for this space to write. I am also happy to say, I am very thankful for how I was raised. I lacked nothing. I might not have had everything, but I lacked nothing. Every day, I grow more and more grateful that I was a true kid until 13. I hope my niece and nephews will be so lucky.
The High Road–Broken Bells
What’ll I do?–Chris Botti
If I were a Boy–Beyonce
Great Beyond–Aimee Mann
Le Ballet d’Or–Counting Crows