Archive | February, 2012

1975 Mandy

29 Feb

“I remember all my life….”

Ahhh, Barry.  The Friday night TV specials, the ballads, the sound of your voice over the radio as we drove home from the mall.  Mommy loved him.  My mom’s best friend loved him.  I loved him too.

My sisters, brother and I all had our favorites hits–all different, of course.  We stood over the record, watching as the Arista logo spun, waiting for “their” song to finish.   And when it was our turn, we counted the shiny grooves to our favorite song, put the needle down, stepped away from the stereo and launched into our own performance.  We had the same flair as Barry, singing with exaggerated faces, and stretching our arms with the crescendo.

Barry was there in good times and in bad, including the time when I was sulking on the couch for not getting my way.  Out from the kitchen, came mommy swaying left to right, heading bopping, with that goofy smile singing “You know I can’t smile without you…I can’t smile….”

And I can’t not smile when I hear that song.


1974 Seasons In The Sun

28 Feb

This song was on my sister’s mixed tape– a farewell gift from her summer friends.  We cried listening to the soundtrack of their memories.  Sad for having to return to the city.  Sad that our season in the sun was over.

“You tried to teach me right from wrong.  Too much wine and too much song.”

I don’t remember ever being sad that that the guy in the song was dying.    As a child, death was a little word with a really big meaning.  I knew the definition but just didn’t get it.  I could not comprehend how a death could reshape life, or recalibrate a relationship, or even steal a piece of you.

1973 Killing Me Softly

27 Feb

“Telling my whole life with his song.”

Like a bear hug, hearing the perfect song at the right time-or even the wrong time—brings peace to a turbulent soul.  At times unsettling, as if someone “snuck into my room, just to read my diary,” listening to someone else explain crush love –“my knees where shaking,”–or the power of redemption  (“as long as i know how to love”)  brings me to my feet in a tribal dance of unity, shouting “I haven’t felt so alive in years.”

But “I never will forget those nights,” those dark nights, “when I drank too much and said too much” and the jukebox echoes regret.  Nights dawning to babbling voice mails, proclaiming that “I never meant to hurt you.  I swear I didn’t mean those things I said;” reasoning  that “I was  central, I had control, I lost my head;”  justifying that “I think there’re pieces of me you’ve never seen.”    But I hang my head in shame, knowing deep down that I wanted the victory more than prize itself.  “After all,”  “I was taught to fight, taught to win.”

And the truth is, it’s the “same old story…  hearts are broken, everyday.”  But luckily “you don’t have to go it alone.”

1972 First Time I Ever Saw Your Face

26 Feb

Kids often ask their parents, “What do you remember on the day I was born?” My mom always responded, “The Roberta Flack song “’First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

 “And the moon and the stars were gifts you gave to the dark and the endless skies…”

This is a love that I don’t know.  My mom is a mom that loves being a mom.   A mom who believes that children are the greatest of all life’s gifts.   How can I be sitting here staring at 40 without knowing this love from the other side?

I heard the song the other day.  I cried.  Alone in my house.  In the house in which I live alone.  A house that is in the best school district because it made sense- it was inevitable?  Just in case- it could happen?  It’s good for rentals- it is likely for someone else.

I have never watched a dream a die in slow motion with a ripcord hanging.  Every day, a day closer to that hardest decision.  Do I do it alone or keep faith that I can have it all?  Tick, tock, tick tock…

Here we go…

26 Feb

Last year, my sister challenged me to name 40 songs for my life. “One for every year?” Yes. “Does it need to have been released that year.” Whatever you want. “Or does it need to have the same theme as that year? Whatever you want. Well here it goes….

Note: As you may soon read, my secret name in a childhood club was Anonymous. I swore if I ever was to write it would be in such a way that no one would know who I was. I had no interest in others knowing about my life. Here it goes. The clothes are off. The lights are on. And I’ll try not to, but my ego may rely on old tricks—suck the belly in, arch the back, stretch the neck….I may be naked but I don’t need to look like shit.  It’s not going to be a graceful journey, but it will be me.