Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Carnival, 1984

When I think back to 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. That is what I needed for so many years.  I didn't know why I needed to live with my Dad, I only knew I did.
Things were better, but still uneasy.
But, something was about to ease my mind, if only for a little while.....the fall carnival at my elementary school!
I remember it  vividly. 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! Go figure.
I was very much into Michael Jackson in 1984 so it was only natural for me to wear my black and red parachute pants to the fall carnival at school.
I remember being on the playground with my Stepmom. She was so pretty and loving.
She had her arm around me walking on the blacktop where I spent my 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 cloudy, crisp fall evening. Perfection.
There were several other games but I mostly remember my time with her on this magical night.
I sometimes wonder if I really love the fall, or does it just so happen that some of the  best times in my life, just happened to BE in the fall?
Either way, I'll take it.
I  miss my Stepmother. I could write a book about my memories of her. She held my heart when nobody else could understand me.
After she and my Dad divorced, I lost track of her for several years.
I saw her now and then and it was always very painful for me. I missed her for so long.
When I had my first child, I began soul searching, as most of us do.
I dug deep into my past. I finally had to face so many things. I had to! 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 Stepmother treated me like I was her real child. I know this now, from direct experience of being a Mother.
After years of searching, with the help of my Dad, I found her a few years back. 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.
I have since lost her again. But that will not stop me from cherishing my 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 just one simple word, I'll describe how I feel about Chuck E. Cheese.....Sad.
Let me explain....
Once upon a time back in the 80's there was a magical place called Showbiz Pizza. The one I went to all through my 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 from Showbiz and Chuck is the anticipation that was available to a kid. Chuck E. Cheese has the game area and an eating area, yes, 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 dim eating area to add mystery to what was going to happen. There were 3 stages for performances.

Stage 1 was the Wolfman who talked in a smoky, husky voice.

Stage 2 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.

And stage 3. was the loveable Billy Bob bear with a puppet type creature called Lonney Bird.

Back then the shows only ran every so often. So when you were playing your video games and skeeball, you were also constantly looking over to the dining area to see if anything was about to happen. It was anticipation at it's finest!!
Finally, you would hear that curtain open and the action began! It was simply MARVELOUS!

Naturally, when I was in highschool,  I got a job there.  I was uniformed in khaki pants, a red Showbiz shirt and a visor with my gigantic 80's hair climbing out the top of it. I was a hostess/server and even had to sing Happy Birthday to patrons via intercom that the entire place could hear.
I had mad highschool crushes there. Angst, drama, and excitement was all mixed in to that job. It was the funnest job I ever  had.

But one night we were informed that there were about to be some major changes. They were getting rid of all of 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 certainly an end of an era in my life.

I miss those times, but I will never forget the way I felt 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 when  you hear a song for the very first time, and it leaves you absolutely speechless! You try to explain it to someone...and 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 just lost your mind.

Well I don't do that to people, because 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 know each other.

The people were me and a guy named Shawn. I was a sophomore in highschool, he was a senior. We knew each other, but barely.
I was standing out in front of my highschool in the smoking area before school started. I see him walking toward me from the parking lot. 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 pure joy onto!

I see him walking up, wearing a Tshirt and faded Levi's. His hair was blondish brown, kind of feathered on the side, but in a cool, manly way. And suddenly it was me...I was the lucky person he chose to share his music moment with!

He began by telling me that he  had just heard THE most amazing song his ears had ever heard.  There were no words to the song, only instruments. He said he had parked his car in the parking space and just sat there until the song was over and that 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.

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 in our society, where technology robs us of any suspense or waiting. We can type in a single word and discover volumes of information. Instant gratification. No thank you!

It took me two YEARS to figure out this song. I had something to do for two whole years, a mission! It was an amazing 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!! It was all too much, 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 so long. 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. And he told me, and it was like "Aahhhhh" Exhale, finally but what an adventure it was!

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

The End......Got ya! The name of the song is Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson ....Amazing :)