“On Feb. 22, 1980, in a stunning upset, the United States Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviets at Lake Placid, N.Y., 4-to-3. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.)
You can see the a picture of the actual front page that day here.
This event, along with the Georgia Bulldogs winning the national championship earlier that year, is one of my earliest sports memories. It also elicits thoughts of the two years I spent living in Fairport, New York, near Rochester. I watched this hockey game at my friend Karen Rapp’s house. All of her brothers and sisters and their friends were there and it was the second time I ever heard the F-word. When the U.S. won, all the crazy hockey fans all over the neighborhood ran outside and honked car horns and I just thought it was the best thing ever.
I was in 2nd or 3rd grade at that time and Karen was in Kindergarten or First grade. She was the youngest of one of about 10 kids, and I loved to hang out at their house, because it was kind of like being in an episode of The Brady Bunch or Eight is Enough. She shared a room with two of her sisters and I still remember sitting on her sister’s bed while falling asleep, gazing at their Pink Floyd The Wall poster. It creeped me out. In their den in the afternoons, all of the kids and their friends would huddle around a little television and watch M.A.S.H. I hated MASH at the time, but grew to love it later. The other reason that I loved to hang out there was that Mrs. Rapp made homemade pizza for all of the kids on Friday nights. She would slave away making pizzas for the kids and their friends, serve it to us all, and then retire to the living room couch, lay down, put a pair of huge headphones on her head (plugged into the humongous stereo receiver) and listen to Neil Diamond. Mrs. Rapp loved Neil Diamond. She would have left Mr. Rapp, despite his kickass homemade maple syrup, for Neil Diamond.
Neil Diamond, in turn, reminds me of New York. Except for “Cracklin’ Rosie,” which reminds me of drinking with Dan and Evan, or “Sweet Caroline,” which reminds me of that crappy Jimmy Fallon baseball movie, Fever Pitch, based on the book by Nick Hornby, whose writing I really like, even though he seems to keep writing the same book over and over and just changing the characters’ names. Okay, I admit it. I even kind of like the movie, because I could drink with Drew Barrymore, and I would be lying if I said Jimmy Fallon isn’t rotated in and out of my top ten every once in a while, and because I would fall in love with a Sox-lovin’ Jimmy Fallon type if I was ten years younger and a workaholic Drew Barrymore lookalike.
Which brings me in a very convoluted manner to the rest of the post. A while ago, an acquaintance posted this video from YouTube on his blog. It is Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like the Wind,” live. Boy did it bring back the memories of living in New York, at about 7 or 8 years old. I thought about my Fisher Price doll house, and turning the lights off for bed, then reading horse books or playing dolls by flashlight till late at night, the radio on so low that only I could hear it.
That was back when you mostly listened to the radio or your parents’ albums. (I could and might dedicate a complete series of posts to those.) You had no idea what the musicians looked like, or what an album was. You just liked a song or you didn’t, and you’d better hope you liked it, because either way, you would hear it run into the ground for the next year, blaring out of the hard plastic speaker in the side of the faux-wood-sided station wagon as you rattled around to the grocery store in the way back (there were three sections to our station wagon: “Front,” “Back,” and “Way Back.”)
Seat belts? What are seat belts?
Soundtrack: Fairport 1979-1981
“Ride Like the Wind” – Christopher Cross
“Sailing” – Christopher Cross
These two are kind of interchangeable, but i associate both of them inextricably with New York and listening to the radio undercover at night in my room
“Band on the Run” – Paul McCartney and Wings
This came out in like ’73, but I distinctly remember it playing on the radio while my sister and I took a bath in our bathroom in New York. The bathroom was brown, and had this weird wallpaper that had a Sherlock Holmes-like character with a brown bloodhound. The toilet seats were plastic and cushioned. Fancy.
“Keep on Loving You” – REO speedwagon
The ultimate Fairport song. Lisa, Karen Rapp, Matt Recht from next door and Jennifer Lofberg from across the street would all hang out in our garage. We were in an airband. We did this song.
“Another One Bites the Dust” – Queen
I remember this song coming out and everyone went crazy for it. I remember Karen’s brother, David, talking about it with my babysitter, Sarah. They were in high school. David was holding a Simon. Simon is this weird toy where it plays a noise, and you have to hit the colored bar corresponding to the sound you heard, and it starts playing more and more intricate patterns of sound. The person who can play what Simon plays the longest without fucking up wins. David, nerd that he was, pretended that he was some scientist who could control animals with sound, and the Simon was the sound machine he used to control us. Yes, the rest of the younger kids were animals.
“Another Brick in the Wall” – Pink Floyd
See above mention of the poster.
“Suicide is Painless” – MASH theme song – Mike Altman and Johnny Mandel
Yes, I had to look up the artists’ names. Reminds me of the dread i would feel every time I heard it (“Ugh, 30 minutes of complete boredom coming up”), much like the feeling I still get upon hearing the infernal ticking of the 60 Minutes clock.
“Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” – Rod Stewart
Another of the my babysitters, a next door neighbor, was a total stoner, I am pretty sure. She invited her boyfriend over while she was supposed to be watching us, and she let us watch Solid Gold and Rod Stewart did this song live, wearing these tight black pants, shaking his ass and she said she thought he had a cute butt. I thought she was a bad, bad girl for saying that, and I also wondered what could possibly be cute about someone’s butt?
“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” – The Charlie Daniels Band
I still love this song. It’s like a folk song, but it has that shock factor that you love as a kid (“I done tole you once, you son of a bitch, I’m the best that’s ever been.”) My parents had the album, and we played it on the record player in the office and totally spazzed out dancing to the electric fiddle bridge in the middle of it.
“Lost in Love” – Air Supply
I am not sure that this is not the same song as the Christopher Cross songs. Same feel. Bedroom at night, radio down low.
“Upside Down” – Diana Ross
Leftover disco 45 in my parents record collection. We wore this baby out. Dance Fever!
“Y.M.C.A.” – Village People
I cringe when i hear this now, but god almighty did I like it back in the day. At that time, I thought they just liked to dress as what they wanted to be when they grew up.
“The Winner Takes It All” – ABBA
Off of the album Super Trouper. Thank God I was not a boy, or i would be completely gay now. Village People? Diana Ross? ABBA? Dear God. We sang our guts out on this one. I wanted flowing dresses like the ones they had on the cover. I thought they looked like sexy Greek goddesses.
“Rumours” – Fleetwood Mac
I am not sure where Mom got this from, but i LOVED it. Probably the first album I ever really loved. I have to say, best album on this list. (Todd will probably argue that based on Wings being on here, but he is the only one who really listens to Wings.) I was forever staring at the cover and wondering why that guy’s belt looks like testicles hanging between his legs.
Trip down memory lane completed. Please exit the bus in an orderly manner. Maybe tomorrow you will get a recap of my parents’ albums’ influence on my musical tastes. Or, maybe you will get more ridicule of my sister and husband. Maybe you will be on the hotseat. You just never know with me.