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New posts will be there. New posts will be more frequent. New posts will be new.
Like the latest: Kiss – How Prince Got Me Married
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I went from Catholic elementary school to a Catholic Franciscan high school. Normally, for kids in these institutions, that would be a big deal. You go to the high school that your primary school is a feeder to, keep your friends, and go on to be prom king and have lots of sex and friends. But, not me. No, my journey is never to be easy. Never.
When my parents gave me a choice of elementary schools, I chose on that was kind of out of our parish, the church in our neighborhood. There were two schools and churches around us, and then there was the one that my cousins attended, which as only a 10 min drive away, but not the one I was “supposed” to go to. But, my cousins went there, and that meant I would know people. It would be much easier, right? Sure.
Jump ahead to 8th grade. All of my friends we going to one of two Catholic high schools or to the public high school in the neighborhood (where my kids would eventually go years later). I, on the other hand, had my high school picked for me by my parents. I would go to the one high school that NONE of the kids in my class were going. Why? Because the bus ride to the other school had a transfer in a “bad neighborhood” and my mother feared for my safety or something. I’ll explain the oddness of that in a future post about my mother. But, for now, let’s just say I was pissed.
So, I went off to yet another school knowing no one. My social ineptitude, which was disguised only by my ability to make with the jokes, made it tough to acclimate. I spent the first few months eating alone, suffering over Latin homework, going to the special Advance tier classes, and dreading each day as I cursed my parents for making my decision for me.
Our story so far: a young kid in the midwest is introduced to one of the most shocking bands of the 70s, KISS. He wants more, but he has recently been delivered into the clutches of a new school, a private Catholic school. All of this newfangled God stuff really has him confused. And it doesn’t help that this new band, awesome as it may be, is apparently the antithesis of everything the nun,priests, and uppity lay folks are trying to indoctrinate him with. His first attempt to purchase his very own album from the notorious Knights In Satan’s Service resulted in a balk. The Church appeared to have won.
But they had forgotten one thing: this child had already been corrupted by the public school system, and the hold on him would not last.
So, I had finally managed to get a few KISS albums (that’s right: vinyl). I got all of the solo albums, Double Platinum (a greatest hits compilation), and Love Gun, which included the cardboard love gun itself as in insert with the sleeve. I was the coolest kid in my house. KISS was a joy that I could only share with my cousin Ant, who was older (almost in high school) and who understood. He had, after all, introduced me. My dad even got in on the action, taking us to our first concert: KISS Dynasty Tour.
The year is 1994 and my family and I have hit some amazingly rough times. My post Army service career path was non-existent. I had gone from working as an EMT for a private ambulance company to finding that I could earn more as a late night line cook at the local Shoney’s franchise. It was hard to let go of what I was trained, and preferred, to do but the extra $2.50 an hour made a huge difference. Through the wife of a friend, I found a second job working for a lawn care company. It seemed like things were going to work out. Sure, I was working 80 hours a week and sure there were still a lot of obstacles in my way, but I was making more money than I had ever in my life up to that time, and was soon going to qualify for actual benefits for the family, including an expectant wife.
But the universe, as it often does, had other plans for me. Continue reading
Here’s a fun little tale that just popped back into my memory today as I was digging through my library of MP3s. I call it “The George Benson Gambit.”
It’s seventh grade, English class. No, I’m not an ESL student. That’s what we called it in those days. English. Not Language Arts or Grammatical Empathy. English. It was as cold and harsh a word as the subject. It fit, and we hated it. I hated it most of the time, except when we were given Creative Writing assignments. But, that is a story for another time.
The class was let by Ms. Saho, a emotionally over-the-top, exuberant woman who really loved what she did, and what she didn’t do. She was also our music teacher, and once spent an entire class analyzing Michael Jackson’s Thriller, making us watch not only the video, but the Making Of featurette repeatedly, because it was “so genius.” Not that it wasn’t (although I didn’t appreciate it at the time), but one would think that a single viewing would be enough. She still teaches, high school now and, not surprisingly, heads the Drama department. But, I digress. This particular event surrounds one specific assignment we were given.
Ms. Saho decided that it would be a good exercise for each of us to bring in the lyrics to our favorite song, and then read them in class as if they were prose, due Friday. Continue reading
Just a quick post to let you know I’m still here. Sheena Easton was my first female singer crush. Strut was one of the first videos I really took notice of, finally appreciating the full blessing that was MTV to a teenage boy in 1984. I covertly recorded it video on VHS, and would watch it when no one was home, losing myself in those eyes for four minutes of 80s pop music perfection.
A year later, Sugar Walls would be released, causing me to nearly implode.
I was a medic in the US Army from 1989-93, and it was quite an experience. I saved lives, blew things up, and broke my back in Airborne training. I also made a lot of friends from all over the country, and we all referred to each other by last name. I’m not sure how many of us actually knew the others’ first names. There was Spriggs from Mississippi, Johnson from Savannah, Delbene from Akron, Logan the South African from Georgia. I could go on and on, but this post isn’t about them. It’s about one soldier in particular. She had a very unique name, but I will refer to her as Trip from South Carolina, and she changed my life more than she would ever know. Continue reading