Yesterday, my cousin Patti Tweeted me to let me know she’d heard Belinda Carlisle’s Circle in the Sand in the grocery store and performed our childhood dance routine in the frozen pizza section.
I was 9; Patti was 8. Bored at a family gathering, we headed to the neighborhood playground. Belinda Carlisle was big at the time, and there was a convenient, however sparse, patch of sand under the double swing set. Within an hour, we had crafted a solid half-assed dance sequence set to melodic rounds of the chorus.
Both Patti and I had a flare for dramatics (were touched with a stroke of crazy) from the time we were kids. We both supported each other and competed like hell as we grew up practically attached. Patti went on to star in various successful Broadway musicals, national tours, TV sitcoms and dramas. I take 2-minute dance breaks when working from home on a Friday night.
But, I digress.
Patti’s Tweet had me YouTubing the song for a sweet dose of reminiscence, and in seconds I was transported from my apartment in Queens back to 1988. Isn’t it amazing the way just one chord can make you feel like a kid again? All the feelings of insecurity, overconfidence, obliviousness and inexperience just line up in place, like they were simply called home for dinner.
I began thinking of other songs that unlock my own personal time capsule:
Hall & Oates
1983: Age 4
Setting: Family party at Knights of Columbus Hall, Yorktown Heights, NY.
Aunt Maureen is so cool, dancing along to Maneater near the DJ’s booth. I bet she’s a maneater. I want to be Aunt Maureen. I want to be a maneater. Hey, by the way, what’s a maneater? Help me out here. I’m freaking four.
Coming to America
1985; Age 6
Setting: Pinkest of pink bedrooms.
Scene opens to reveal human pile on the floor, hidden by neutral sheet. Suspense builds with 40-second orchestra intro. Sheet flutters open (is chucked aside) fittingly along with music crescendo to expose girl in red, white, and blue unitard. Stunted jazz kicks performed relentlessly in petite circle around 8×8 perimeter of bedroom through song’s final 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Choreographed with the intention to perform on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Never performed outside of bedroom.
Love on the Rocks
Also Neil Diamond
1985; Age 6
Setting: Same bedroom. Minutes later.
Quick costume change immediately following “America.” Same girl, done dirty by a man, has turned into mermaid. Is now stranded on a rock. She sings.
Because I Love You (The Postman Song)
1990; Age 11
Setting: Elementary School Gymnasium. 6th grade dance.
Oh, Barry. Oh, Kurt. Mike. Vinnie. Yes. Yes, I will dance with you while our moms watch.
1999; Age 20
Setting: Sophomore dorm at University of Hartford.
Redhead in a haze performs interpretive dance for friends. Breaks ankle. Roommate Sue offers herbal relief while we wait together on the floor for the ambulance.
Ride Wit Me
2001; Age 21
Setting: Student apartments at University of Hartford.
It is totally appropriate for our sorority to name our mixer “Ghetto Party” in the middle of waspy West Hartford, Connecticut, and feature 40 fluid ounces of malt liquor beer with a running loop of hip hop music. High class roommate Kate skips class for three days prior to memorize rap lyrics off of flash cards.
I have plenty more song associations between 2001 and today, but the list is already long and it’s hard to document much of that time without appearing to rewrite The Rum Diaries.
What are your time capsule tunes?
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