Fri, Aug 23, 2013 10:07 AM
So have you ever heard a Boomer say, "I can't remember what I had
for lunch yesterday, but I can remember something from 30 years ago
like it was yesterday"? I say it all the time, only now I am saying
"40 years ago." Scary.
Memories are usually triggered by something, and those triggers
are as much fun as the memory itself. More often than not, the
trigger is a song.
Music was a deliberate enjoyment when we were young. We had to
plan it. Listening to music meant going to the room where the
phonograph, or later the stereo, was set up. In some homes there
was only one and it was stationed in the living room. You had to
jockey for position in between the parents listening to Dean Martin
or Doris Day.
We had to care for our music. Albums could scratch easily. They
required gentle handling and needed to be slid back into the jacket
after each playing. And you had to lift the arm of the record
player very gently so the needle didn't drag on the grooves and
This Boomer still prefers live radio over iPods. There is nothing
like being surprised by an old song that jars a warm memory. It
often happens when you least expect it. I recently got in my car,
turned over the engine and was greeted by Strawberry Fields
There are certain songs for me that are associated with a
particularly vivid memory. No matter when or where I catch the
song, the memory pops up like a Jack in the Box.
I Think We're Alone Now, Tommy James and the Shondells - The
second I hear this song, I am transported back to Ricky Glinka's
parent's basement and the memory of my first real make out
Maggie May, Rod Stewart - Sleepovers at Cathy Lynch's house. The
most Irish family I ever knew, but her mom made a mean lasagna.
Cathy's house was walking distance to the movie theatre and Grant
Park - a popular hangout when we were in high school.
Anything by the Beach Boys - trips to Fire Island during summer
vacation. We would walk to the causeway, then hitch hike to the
beach. Typically, we got picked up by someone from our high school
because basically the entire student population went there every
Alone Again (Naturally), Gilbert O'Sullivan - dating my friend
Denise Bittner's cousin Ronnie. He had the bluest eyes I had ever
seen. No idea why that song makes me think of him, it just
Color My World, Chicago - Me in a beige, crepe empire dress at my
senior prom. Thank you Tommy Burns for honoring your commitment to
taking me even though you had started dating Alice Byrd. You were a
Bob Dylan - Whether its Lay Lady Lay or I Ain't Gonna Work on
Maggie's Farm No More, I think of Steve Hanken. He introduced me to
the artist in the 8th grade. It was heady music at that age, and I
thought Steve must be extremely deep and intelligent to be
listening to songs like these. I thought Dylan's voice abrasive,
but I did read the lyrics over and over trying to decipher them.
And it turns out Steve is extremely intelligent.
I Saw the Light, Todd Rundgren - The first time I heard this song
I was in my freshman dorm at SUNY New Paltz. Lynn Bauer, who lived
across the hall, was playing it. I probably heard that album
another 1000 times during that 1972-73 school year - all played by
The Joker, Steve Miller Band- They played a concert at our
college. It was the only concert I can recall where the band played
for so long, people actually started walking out on the show
because they were tired.
Desperado, The Eagles - Makes me think of the Seinfeld episode
where Elaine dated the guy who stopped dead in his tracks when he
heard Desperado. She tried to counteract with Witchy Woman.
OK fellow Boomers, now I want to hear from you. Send me your
favorite memory song and the place it takes you to when you hear
it. I'll share one in each column so we can all reminisce in a
collective Boomer memory.
In the meantime, I'm going to play some Grateful Dead.
Cindy Phillips is a columnist for The Mountain Times. You can
reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.