Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Carnival, 1984

The Autumn of 1984....I am met with mixed emotions.

It was a great time in pop culture and I was into all of it, but I was also a 10 year old mess.

There was however, one thing  different. I now lived with my Dad. It was life changing and change did me some good after a lot of painful times after my parents divorce. Things were better, but still not perfect.

Something was about to ease my mind, if only for a little while. It was the fall carnival at my elementary school.

This was my first year in Kansas City at my new school. It was going ok, I guess. Then fall came along and  everything turned damp, crisp and was bursting with color! I found the dismal, rainy days to be my favorite (not much has changed in that regard).

I was into Michael Jackson in '84 and was only natural for me to wear black and red parachute pants to the carnival at school.

I remember being on the playground with my stepmom who was pretty and loving. She had her arm around me, walking on the blacktop where I spent recess time playing hopscotch and double dutch.

We did the cake walk together. Bobbed for apples and visited with some of my school friends.
It was a perfect, cloudy, crisp fall evening.

There were several other games but I mostly remember my time with her on this enchanting night.
I sometimes wonder if I really love fall, or is it because some of the best times in my life happened to be in the fall?

I  miss my stepmom.

After she and my dad divorced, I lost track of her for several years. I saw her now and then but it was  very painful for me because I had missed her so.

When I had my first child, I began soul searching and dug deep into my past. I had to face so many things. I had to learn what not to do. I had to find a way to never let my kids feel the pain that I went through.

I realized that my stepmom treated me like her real child. I know this now from experience of being mom.

After years of searching, I found her a few years back, with the help of my dad. I was able to speak to her on the phone and then write her a letter. I was able to tell her all the things I wanted to say.

How much I loved her. How many good memories she created for me in my childhood and so on.

I have since lost track of her again but that does not change my cherished memories of her.

Especially the one at my school's Fall Carnival, 1984.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Showbiz Pizza

Have you ever heard of Chuck E. Cheese? Well of course you have. In a simple word, I'll describe how I feel about Chuck E. Cheese.....Sad.

Let me explain....

Once upon a time in the 80's, there was a magical place called Showbiz Pizza. The one I went to all through childhood was in a shopping center called Antioch Mall.

I grew up going there. The shopping, the food court, the bowling alley and my favorite place, Showbiz Pizza.

One of the major differences between Showbiz and Chuck is the anticipation that was available to a kid.

Chuck E. Cheese has the game area and an eating area, but in the eating area there is always something happening. Always commotion, never stillness. That giant mouse  is always singing or gabbing and that area is always brightly lit.

Showbiz, on the other hand, had a dimly lit eating area to add mystery to what was going to happen.

There were three stages for performances. Stage ONE was the Wolfman who talked in a smoky, husky voice.
Stage TWO, you would find the best musical band to ever exist...The Rockafire Explosion!! Band members were: Mitzi Mozzarella on vocals was a mouse dressed as a cheerleader. Beach Bear on guitar. Duke Larue was a dog in a spacesuit who played the drums. And Fatz Geronimo on keyboards was a giant gorilla.
Stage THREE was the loveable Billy Bob bear with a puppet creature called Looney Bird.

The shows only ran every so often, so when you were playing video games or skeeball, you were also constantly looking over to the dining area to see if anything was about to happen. Anticipation at it's finest.

Finally, you would hear the curtain open and the action began. You stopped whatever game you were playing and speed walked as fast as you could to get a good seat for the show.

It only seemed natural to get a job there when I was in highschool. I was uniformed in khaki pants, a red Showbiz shirt and a visor with gigantic 80's hair climbing out the top of it.

I was a hostess/server and occasionally had to sing Happy Birthday to parties... via intercom.... that the entire place could hear.

I had mad highschool crushes there. Angst, drama, and excitement was all mixed into that job, the funnest job I ever  had.

But one night, we were informed that there were to be some major changes. They were eliminating all our beloved characters on that stage to replace them with this giant mouse...Chuck E. Cheese.

Times, they were a changin. And they certainly did. I was there through the overhaul and it was  heartbreaking to see. Out with the old and in with the new. It was the end of an era in my life.

I miss those times and I will never forget those memories at Showbiz Pizza... where a kid could really be a kid.

Monday, September 3, 2012

That song just blew my MIND!

We've all been there; that moment you hear a song for the first time and it leaves you breathless.
You try to explain it to someone but they just don't get it. You're like "It was all neer neer neer guitars, and waa waa waa vocals and I was just jammin..."

All the while, the person you are trying to get to feel the same emotion as you is just standing there like you have lost your ever loving mind.

I understand the euphoria that a song can give a person.

Take for example a moment in time, somewhere around 1990, shared by two people who barely even knew each other.

The people were me.... and a guy named Shawn. I was a sophomore in high school, he was a senior. We knew each other, but barely.

I was in front of my school, in the smoking area before my first class of the day. I saw him walking toward me from the parking lot. Well, not toward me necessarily, but the school.

I could see it in his face, though, he was looking for someone. Anyone! Someone he could unleash his elation onto.

He was wearing a t-shirt and faded Levi's (I'm guessing). His hair was blondish brown, kind of feathered on the sides. When, suddenly it was me...I was the lucky person he chose to share his music moment with.

He began to tell me he had just heard THE most amazing song. There were no words to the song, only instruments. He said he parked his car and just sat there until it was over and he didn't want it to end.  It was so moving, he said,  it brought tears to his eyes.

That was really the end of our conversation. School began and we never spoke of it again.
But I was on a mission to find out this song. It took me a few years, believe it or not before I even heard it myself. Or at least to recognize it was THE song.

Are you just dying to know the name of the song?!

Well before I tell you, I want you to know that I cherish these small moments in life. Now, more than ever.

The element of surprise is slowly fading from our society. Technology robs us of any suspense or waiting. We can type in a single word and discover volumes of information. Instant gratification.

As I said, it took me a hot minute (years) to figure out the song. I had something to do for two whole years, a mission of sorts. It was an amazing little journey and when I finally heard the song I said "That HAS to be it!" But even then I did not know the name of the band.  I could barely stand how close I was but still was not sure.

Luckily by that time I was able to ask a friend since the song had been out for a while. I was able to experience the same emotion as Shawn. I got to share with my friend this amazing song I had finally heard but still did not know the name of.

When he told me, I was like "Aahhhhh" Exhale, finally but what an adventure it was! I see that now. I see that it was an adventure, not an inconvenience.

Such small things in life are what I am after every day. That feeling of amazement and discovery.

The End.........Just kidding!!

The name of the song is Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson ....Amazing :)

Arthur's Theme

Arthur's Theme (Best that you can do) ...This song has a way of sweeping me off to another time and place. It starts in my childhood an...