I’ve been thinking of a way to incorporate music that’s touched me in some way at different points in my life, so I came up with Touchstones and Milestones. I figure Monday’s a good day for the milestones, since I’m not one to pass up the perfect opportunity to use alliteration.
I’ll begin with:
The First Song That Thrilled Me
A little history. I’m 52 and I grew up in the days of what’s now called “classic rock.” I hate that term, by the way. These days, it’s sort of associated with being lame old fogey music, and this certainly cannot be the case. Hell, that’s my mom’s music, not mine.
Anyway…my mom’s side of the family is huge, and there was always a gathering for a baptism,a first communion, a wedding, or just a Sunday dinner at Grammie’s house. It was at just such a gathering that I can recall hearing the first song that thrilled my little rockin’ girl bones.
I adored my older girl cousins. They had the coolest hair and listened to cool music, and some of them even had…gasp…BOYFRIENDS. One Sunday in 1964, mom and dad swooshed us directly from Mass, into the car, and off for a two-hour drive to my aunt and uncle’s place for some sort of family party. The cool older kids and most of the adults were all inside the house, while the little kids like me were stuck outside. Every now and then, I’d pretend I had to use the bathroom, just so I could spy on the grown ups. (Yes, I was a little shit.) I just HAD to know what was going on inside that was so important and that had to exclude the little kids.
I heard loud, piercing screams from the older girls and followed the noise until I found them gathered in one of the bedrooms. Why, they were screaming and shaking like Baptists at a tent revival! I thought there was a snake in the room or something. But then I heard it. I heard the radio. “I wanna hold your haaaaaaand, I wanna hold your hand.” I tried to hold back, but I wanted to fit in with the cool girls. I wanted to know what they knew about that song. I joined in the screaming and singing along.
They noticed me right away. Instantly, they shooed me right back outside with the little kids. “Hey, I’m not a little kid. I’m almost SEVEN, ” I pleaded, to no avail. I was banished.
I went out to the driveway where the rest of the kids my age were hanging out doing kid stuff like jumping rope and playing tag. I wanted to run right back inside and scream to the music.
Instead, I began to sing. “I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAAAAAAAAND!” That’s all I knew. That’s all I needed to know. I had the rest of the little kids singing in no time, and I felt the power of the music. Oh yes, my little pretties. Sing along with me and show those older kids that WE WILL BE HEARD!
A hipster was born, right then and there, in Peru, Indiana.