After spending too much time yesterday at one of those random junctures when I'd just done a bunch of stuff for people I love and while hiding from them before they made additional requests I was anticipating, I decided that, browsing many years on the year-by-year playlists, that I had some kind of affinity for 1975. Why this is, I'm not quite sure. My husband pronounced my playlist "sappy" and proceeded to make fun of most of the songs on it.
I was 11 in 1975. My brothers and I were frequently sent out with my dad on Saturdays on errands around Burlington. My mom sat at home and decompressed. My dad usually had the radio on in the car, tuned to some pop station. We went to Sears a lot, which in those days included a hardware store filled with bins of parts in odd metallic shapes, but each and everyone distinct. We needed "parts" for things all the time at home. Inevitably, my dad ran into someone that he knew from a) high school, b) the fraternity, c) IBM, d) one of his mother's cousins' children, e) being a friend of one of his brothers, f) church. My brother Peter would usually be the one to misbehave badly enough that signaled to my dad that we needed to move on.
The three of us, Jeff, Peter, and I, memorized all of the words to Helen Reddy's "Delta Dawn" because we thought it funny to imitate her delivery, and we found Ms. Dawn vaguely ridiculous. We were also young enough to enjoy bouncing on my parents' bed with close family friends our age, listening to "Bad, Bad LeRoy Brown" and screaming "damn" along with the rest of the lyrics. Although I think that wasn't '75.
I was surprised that I could remember the lyrics to the Carpenters' "Only Yesterday," and most of "Wildfire." My husband drew the line at "My Eyes Adored You," which my father really liked. He liked Patti LaBelle's "Lady Marmalade," too, until I translated the French for him.
But the various men pledging their devotion to the girls of their dreams doesn't seem to be the speed the world travels at anymore: "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," "He Don't Love You," etc.
And on the playlist, Jethro Tull's "Bungle in the Jungle" next to John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," reminding me of what was at stake in those days. My babysitter, with her long, black, 1970s hair grown long and uncut down her back, so excited because the war was over and the boys were coming home. It was over, she said, and told me I'd remember this day.
"You showed me the way to leave the past and all its tears behind me--Tomorrow may be even brighter than today, and I kissed my sadness away"