When I met a boy
I pushed him in the mud and made fun of his stutter
Soon after, my conscience kicked in and I felt bad. I made the extra effort to be his friend and realized the music he listened to was way more interesting than the music my friends listened to.
We started writing letters to each other in class, crumpling them up and throwing them across the back of the classroom where our desks were.
And they went back and forth every single day. Hundreds of them when the teacher wasn’t looking
Pretty soon, at thirteen, we fell in love.
At least, as far as we knew what love meant.
To us it meant:
1) keeping all the notes we wrote to each other and never throwing them away
2) holding hands at recess and having the principal tell us not to
3) bringing cd players and cds to school and listening to them at lunch in the stairwell together
We began to have our lunches separate from all our classmates and friends.
and we entered int our own world…
Nothing else really mattered. Music became first priority.
1) I discovered the Beatles.
I remember riding in the back seat of my grandpa’s car in Paris with my brothers who always irked me, and it was as if they couldn’t bother me.
As we drove through the magical city in my grandpas’s little car, the White Album rung through my ears. For the first time I heard Blackbird. For the first time I heard Dear Prudence. I was swept away by music.
After the Beatles fanaticism ensued I longed to visit London or Liverpool. I didn’t make it there but somehow I convinced my parents to let me fly to meet my classroom pen pal. You know, the one with whom I had the collection of notes. He was visiting in Italy with his family while we were in France.
Instead of our notes reaching each other from one point to another it was me!
I had never had a boyfriend before. Well, that’s not entirely true if you count the boy I kissed at the bowling alley, but I wanted to forget about that. For the most part.
In Italy the young kids all hung out together on the beach drinking until the sun rose, and we stumbled longingly from one end of the beach to the other, pulling a wooden boat into the water and floating along the shoreline, bobbing up and down like little ducks.
We walked along the seashore trying to catch the light as it shone on the surface, wanting it to stop so we could walk up the pathway of sunlight like a bridge.
The cave was the place where the older kids would hang out and play music. The one with the guitar sang Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Young. I heard some of the most influential voices of my life.
Hearing Paul Simon I felt like everything was right in the world. I had discovered what poetry was and everything felt like it was in its place. Right there in that cave, listening to the one with the guitar strumming away, singing his pretty song with his hair falling into his eyes (I know, but it’s true, it was!)
In retrospect, music has been a huge part of my life. The summer I decided to move to San Francisco I was there with friends following the Phish tour.
The night I met my One Love we danced to bossa nova jazz in a dark club in the Haight.
Bringing in my fifteenth year, I was seated in the seventh row of the Paul Simon show at the Wiltern.
Ringing in my twenty sixth year, I was with my husband in the Berkeley Amphitheater to see Paul Simon perform. There was an earth quake that night and it was Mr. Simon’s birthday.
If I drew a map of all the places music has taken me in my life, it would look like two chaos balls linked together by a very thin string, with sounds reverberating off of it.
A music history of myself:
Age 5- received first tape (Celine Dion)
Age 6- remember sitting in back seat of babysitter’s car with older brother in front seat. She played “Under the Bridge Downtown,” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. She told us to remember the moment because it was a very important song. I was moved.
Age 7- Received first CDs, Billboard chart toppers from the 50s. Fell in love with idea of going to prom in a pink fluffy dress, asked mom to purchase me kitty cat shaped sunglasses and asked grandma to please buy me pink bicycle with white banana seat. Listened to oldies love songs before bed and cried dreaming of finding my true love.
Age 8- Oldies craze continued
Age 9- Same
Age 10- started paying attention to some of the music my older brother listened to: Smashing Pumpkins, the Cranberries.
Age 11- cheezy music phase: Gloria Estephan, Mariah Carey
Age 12- Beginning of rock n roll history & discovery: Nirvana, Courtney Love, Pearl Jam
Age 13- the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, CSNY, Pink Floyd… Picked up a guitar and realized I could sing and pluck strings too and it made me happy
Me: a sensitive, hopeless romantic, one who believes in superstitions like I am supposed to hear the songs that come on the radio while I am driving. One who likes to observe others and the world go by while listening to songs play, one who imagines movie scenes an screenplays based on songs, one who writes the perfect scene to go with different songs. One who remembers lyrics, one who listens to lyrics, one who prefers listening to music while at home reading into the darkness of the night.
And writing while listening to music, which I am doing right now….”Suzanne….”
This year is lucky number 27 which I will tribute to the greatest and the no longer with us–
Janis, Jimi, Kurt…
In remembrance of the good old times driving down Sunset Blvd with the boys and their long curly hair, sitting in the back seat of the old Mercedes, too stunned to believe I had never heard of the good girls being bad or “Hey Hey What Can I Do,” blowing cigarette smoke out the window as it wound up the canyon, Home.