Wednesday, July 16, 2008

About July 1971, for some strange reason

Jim Morrison dies. The 26th Amendment, ratified on the 5rd, means I can vote when I'm 18--three years. The World Trade Center south tower is topped out. Apollo 15 launches, then lands on the 31st--my mom's birthday.

I don't know this at the time, though I do now: I was tall and skinny and cute and smart and funny and had a really, really nice tan. I was born in November, but I was a July kind of girl.

If you'd asked me, I'd have said I was too tall and too skinny and had too many zits. My tan wasn't dark enough. But I was okay with being smart and funny -- even then. I could read my grade card ... and I knew I could make people laugh. Even if it was by threading my waist-length hair under my shirt collar, down my arms and out through the short sleeves ... yea, get that picture out of your head.

In the long lazy mornings, I'd sleep in, then do my chores. Then it was outside to work -- on the tan. I had a sack of Harlequin Romances somebody had given my mom and I read my way through the whole bag that summer.

I'd take my transistor radio outside -- it was always tuned to CKLW, 50,000 watts of Top 40 and Motown out of Detroit/Windsor. That summer it was T-Rex and Me and You and a Dog Named Boo. It was the Tempations' Just My Imagination and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' I Don't Blame You at All. It was La-La Means I Love You. And If You Could Read My Mind. I Am, I Said.

If you could have read my mind, it wasn't on much except was I running out of baby oil, and did I need a new Harlequin, and did I have to go inside because it was about to storm? My deepest thought would have been about, how many days of vacation were left until we went back to school, after Labor Day.

So here we go: At any moment, I'm liable to hear Jim Morrison, now so long gone, on Muzak at Wal-mart. Still voting. Missing the WTC. Watching the space shuttle. Working means being at work.

Still reading, tanning when I shouldn't, not sleeping in much any more. But still a summer girl.

I never thought I could feel this way
And I've got to say that I just don't get it
I don't know where we went wrong
But the feelin's gone
And I just can't get it back (Gordon Lightfoot)

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