Sorry about the layoff. Even a writer needs a little downtime, a little sanctuary. As it happens, this is where the downtime is bound to come first. But I felt compelled to write about some of the “30th Anniversary of 1977” events, stories and commentaries that are getting aired. As I told my pal George on deadline for Cool Cleveland last night, 1977 marks a huge signpost for me signaling the start of a 7-year itch. Or, as my pal likes to refer to it, the "7-11 Year Itch."
It was the summer of Reggie Jackson, the summer of Sam, “the summer when the lights went dark and the Bronx burned bright.” It was the summer of Star Wars, Kiss’ Love Gun and Slurpees in Marvel Super Heroes cups at 7-11. It was the summer of the Police and their gal pal “Roxanne,” Roots and Rumours, the Atari VCS (that’s the 2600 for some of you), Pelé in New York, the Talking Heads, the Commodore PET computer, the start of the Space Shuttle program, the summer that Elvis died.
I guess you could say it was the summer that I really emerged with a sense of pop culture awareness.
And I loved it. The next 7 years were a blur, with yours truly relishing the absolute lightness of being. Even school was great back then. I have a lot of fond memories, which, as John Mayer would say, often confuse themselves with dreams… and perhaps even commercials. But the summer brings this feeling upon me and gets me to thinking about many great things from my youth:
- Spending days out at the local pool;
- Feeling the sun on my face and not worrying what kind of SPF I had on, or even Knowing how badly I was baking in the sun because, well, I was up at the pool all day;
- Sugary morning cereals and cartoons (real ones…);
- Riding the world’s tallest, fastest coaster, Gemini at Cedar Point;
- Hanging out at Sea World for the fireworks at the end;
- Watching Wayne Gretzky play on cable (when cable was new);
- Atari, Pac-Man, classic arcade games at Aladdin’s Castle;
- Star Wars (back in 1983 even the Ewoks were ok);
- Classic Sci-Fi, no matter how cheesy… Tron, Clash of the Titans, Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica, Alien, Blade Runner;
- Movie trading cards, fla-vor-ice, ice cold soda, Now n’ Laters from Lawson’s;
- Hot dogs on a grill;
- "The Price is Right" and action figures;
- Crank phone calls at the neighbor’s house;
- Indians baseball games at the old Municipal Stadium
- The 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am in black with gold;
- Foghat, Boston, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Kiss; Pink Floyd;
- My dad’s old radio that he built at Radio/TV school;
- Garage Door Baseball
- Air Hockey and the band Asia on MTV for the stereo “Asia in Asia” concert
I could go on forever… but I have now come full circle and have a growing nostalgia for such things from my youth… even though I am madly (and sometimes even vehemently) against living in the past. I worked with a guy who said that any guy who gave credence to Mayer “should go looking for his balls,” but I can be a pointless nostalgic since I came of age in the 1980s and I’m not afraid to say I get where he’s coming from. I’m “regressing” back to a time in my life when life was simpler. These things get me to waxing philosophical, thinking that I did indeed have it made in 83, to quote Mayer.
Anyway, the first time I heard that song “83” and heard him sing the line, Plot a course to the source of the purest little part of me... it reminded me just how pure everything was back then. Years later, we all became somewhat jaded, disillusioned shells of our former selves. I think there is a sense of wanting to go back to talk with your 6-year-old self, warn them about what’s coming and to enjoy what’s happening in the moment. But just as strong is the sense of just wanting to BE that 6-year-old again. Which I totally get, too.
But I also can’t help but think that time probably had a lot to do with ushering in the era of kids sitting inside on beautiful days like today… and how I will help to balance my little boy’s experiences. It gets me to thinking how incredibly cool it is that my brother and sister-in-law are going to have a little one of their own... It also gets me to thinking just how thankful and blessed I am to have great parents who let my brother and I have the best of life, often without a care in the world.
See what going to see the Police reunion did to me? I’m working on deadline and trying to figure out why no one is outside playing Four Square (with jinx, popcorn and decent serve, of course…) I read a quote recently that said, “a profound nostalgia…[offers] a melancholic sense that those moments of epiphany that we experienced can never be retrieved, that the best parts of life lie behind us, not ahead.”
I’m not sure I’ll go that far with it, but I’ll always love 1977 for what it means. It means keep your youth precious and pass it along to all the younger ones ahead of you in the race... And that’s all I wanted to say, really. Thanks for letting me ramble… if you got this far, maybe you get where I’m coming from.
Or maybe not.