Thursday, June 02, 2011

Hall & Oates

If you wondered, now you know...

I just realized why Hall & Oates were such a comfort to me during the stalking*: Isley Alternative School 1982-1984**. Contracts, lofts, Mrs. Terrill. Best place ever. I must have been subconsciously tapping into the peace and comfort (and happiness) that it meant to me after all of the tumultuous years afterward. This makes me terribly sad and grateful at once.

First, Hall & Oates, via wiki wiki wiki whaaat: Just read it.

Second: * the stalking. I won't go into it too deeply because it concerns my most beloveds: My mother and my sister. Let me just say that in the winter of 1991 my family was stalked by a bad man during my winter break from KU, Freshman year. This was not a stalking from afar. He cut our power, phones, and visited our home, beating on the outer walls and destroying our car. He chased me through the snow. It is impossible to convey the terror: Until you live it, you can't know it. I feared for my life. I feared more for my mother's life. It was a time of sleepless nights and exhausted days. I was, to be brief, fried.

Third: **Isley Alternative School: A beautiful dream. As a child of 10 and 11, I am sad to know that I could never have appreciated how special this school was. No school like it still exists. I guess, in my bitter adulthood, I can not imagine that any school could ever exist quite like this. There were no grades. We worked off of contracts that we had to accomplish every week. There were beautiful lofts. We could listen to our Walkmans. There were treats, always available during class and recess. All grades were mixed in one class: 4th through 6th. We had special, really special, retreats. We camped, played Capture the Flag, and bonded.

Imagine: The last day of school, 30 minutes before the end of day, all teachers released their kids to wander the halls together to say goodbye. Every year, girls would gather in the bathrooms to remove make up and hug...and in the halls? Insanity. We hugged, bawled hysterically, and promised to love each other for all time.

Did I? You bet your ass I did. I still remember my Isley co-students: Kelly Christian, Rhody Cauley, Stephanie White, Brett Barnhart, Mark Sischley, Jeff Ruby, so many more. I cried like an idiot and with no shame. What a wonderful world it was.

So, when the stalking horror happened, during the holiday break, I got Hall and Oates Greatest Hits Volumes 1 and 2 on cassette tape. During the days, when I tried to play video games and relax, I would listen to my new tape and try to escape from the immediate terror. It worked. And ever after, it was my Go-To whenever I needed to calm down and be chill. It works for me now, and will work for me forevermore.

So it makes sense, then, that the biggest album when I attended Isley was Hall & Oates, H2O, which featured the most recognizable song, "Maneater." While it might mean nothing more than fun 80s adorableness to you, it means EVERYTHING to me. It means SAFE. It means HAPPY. It means COMPLETE. God knows some people never get that in life, ever. I know that I did. I am so happy I knew such a sweet, protected world. I wish it on everyone, now and forever, because we should all be so lucky to know that kind of safety and happiness. And, let's be honest, that kind of education: Open, trusting, and thorough, is a rare and special opportunity in our world now. There really is nothing like it anymore.

Dear Hall & Oates, thank you for existing. You are awesome on your own. Thanks so much for being there for me in my most desperate time of need.

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