Friday, February 23, 2007

The Holy Trinity

Everyone who's anyone knows that I love classic rock. It is in my blood, baby. They also know that the holy trinity consists of Journey, REO, and Styx. And, because I am a wee bit pagan, I suppose Moses would be Foreigner. Stick that in your pipe and suck it.

But why? Why why why? If you do the math (don't. don't. it hurts me) you would know that my prime years for musical influence were 83-90. So what is the story?

Well I was thinking about all of the bad influences in my life (there were good ones, too, but not nearly as exciting, sorry to say) and I have to say that I would not be what I am today had it not been for Debbie Evers. She was my perfect, gorgeous, teen aged babysitter waaaay back in the day. Debbie was tall (I was seven and eight, so that's subject to memory), blue eyed, with white blond hair and cool clothes. She had two older brothers who were, in my grim estimation, raging assholes. One had a Camaro (I think) and the other had a hot, red Firebird. Influence number one: that car was sweeeeeeeeeeeet. Of course if I touched it he'd have bounced a brick off my head. So, I looked, coveted, seethed with jealous hatred, and learned the sorrow of love for a hotrod car. But that was nothing.

Debbie had a boyfriend who was nothing like her brothers. Once he carried me 10 blocks through a snow storm. I remember thinking he was probably the greatest guy I'd ever meet. He did it for her, not for me, but considering that he could not have been more than 16, you have to give him credit. I wish I could remember his name. Let's call him Steve. Aren't all high school boyfriends named Steve?

Influence number 2: Steve often sneaked into Debbie's bedroom window. I was there, so I should know. I would hear the window slide up, then a lot of whispering and giggles and the soft shuffling of blankets. Indeed. I knew they were making out, necking, sucking face, what have you, but I don't think they actually did the hustle. Maybe they did. I probably would never have known. I would just go back to sleep. I thought it was incredible that she would defy her parents this way. Wait. Not incredible...phenomenal. She was like a rock star to me, with her thin gold chains and feathered hair. She was magnificent.

Influence number 3: Tony. Debbie's on-again, off-again best friend. Tony was dark-haired and full of mischief. She was exactly the kind of friend your mother wished you'd never found. Tony was into parties, boyfriends, smoking, drinking, truancy, whatever. Tony had something like 10 brothers and sisters; the house was teeming with kids, friends of kids, cousins, dogs, cats, strangers, friends of strangers. It was a regular learning annex for life. I think everything short of murder probably took place there. Good things, bad things. I saw my first horror movie at a party in that house. Halloween. I recall thinking "This is not a regular movie" when the guy was shoved up the wall and pinned there with a butcher knife. Meanwhile, in the dark, drunk teenagers yelled, fell, smashed things, and had a grand ol' time. Tony taught me that the future was full of possibilities for evil, bad fun. Thrilling sin, happy naughtiness. And that if you are a very good liar (she was brilliant) you could get away with it all.

Influence prime: With all of these elements combined, everywhere we went, every place we were, the soundtrack running on and on was Styx, REO, Journey. Back in the day, the best radio station for rock was T-95: they played everything worth anything: Supertramp, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Steely Dan, Blue Oyster Cult, Boston, Peter Frampton, Foreigner, and so on. I remember "Keep On Loving You," "Lights," and "Come Sail Away." These songs, and so many others from the holy trinity, are stitched into every memory I have of that time. When we swam at Minisa pool, hung out in the rocket at Riverside park, watched the boys do cannonballs off the diving platform at Crystal lake, sweating in the heat of summer and tromping through the dunes of snow that winter.

When I hear that music, I am happy. It reminds me of those gorgeous girls and everything they meant to me then. Listening to them, being with them, watching them and trying to learn how to be a grown up--my whole adolescence was informed by Debbie and her shining satellites.

For me, the holy trinity is Wichita in '78: a Firebird, Crystal Lake, dark parties, the smell of beer, the blast of a radio, and my favorite babysitter caught in time with her blond, feathered hair, and blue eyes smiling down at me.

4 Comments:

Blogger whirleegig said...

I wonder if we were ever at Crystal lake together before we met...
I would have been about 11-12 and I remember desperately trying to feather my hair. Alas! My stubborn cowlick never allowed it. Many a brush was thrown, many a shriek was hurled at the heavens.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Shiny said...

Probably. We'd get KFC and picnic. My first cuss in front of mom happened when we were sitting on the barrier between the swimming and boating areas. Some girl told us to get off the line and I said, "Shut up, bitch." I was eight, I think. Lord, lord.

Hey, was that you? If so, sorry, man. Troubled childhood. Wish you were there!

9:38 AM  
Blogger Flushy McBucketpants said...

i only had a holy binity. does that make my childhood deficient?

also, i didn't have any bad influences. only morally pure, clean, loving influences.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Shiny said...

And yet your name is flushy mcbucketpants. Clearly something has derailed in the years since you were in diddies.

And don't forget that you spent nearly two years under MY formidable and, let's face it, eeeevil influence. Who knows what will become of you now.

1:28 PM  

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