Thursday, September 13, 2012
Where Were You When This Song Was Playing on the Radio?
Novels trigger all kinds of time travel, connecting us to moments in our own past and coloring our impression of the story on the page. In fact, all things being equal, the nature and quality of time travel a novel evokes in us may explain why we fall in love with some books and only admire others.
Of course, I didn’t know it then, but An American Tune began on September 12, 1965, the day I arrived in Bloomington to begin my freshman year at Indiana University. That evening, I walked to the Union with a bunch of girls I’d just me. We got Cokes, then sat down in the Commons to check out the scene. A friend from my hometown came through the revolving door with some of his fraternity brothers, and they stopped at our table. We chatted. One of them invited me to a party the next night—the guy I would eventually marry.
I don’t remember what song was playing on the jukebox, but the song that takes me right back to that moment is “1-2-3,” by Len Barry, one of those goofy, before-the-revolution songs of the early sixties. Maybe because it was the song that always seemed to be playing on the jukebox that fall when I hung out at the Commons or just passed through it on my way to class and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Maybe because Steve fairly quickly confessed that he had fallen in love with me at first sight and persisted in assuming that I would fall in love with him, too—until I did.
“One two three/Oh, that's how element'ry/It's gonna be/Come on let's fall in love/It's easy (it's so easy)/Like takin' candy (like takin' candy) from a baby.”
Oh, my God, I thought, typing them. They’re so sappy. It’s embarrassing. Nonetheless, here I am again, that girl walking through a door, into the rest of her life.
When you read these meditations (and the book, please!), I hope they’ll transport you to moments when the same songs songs were playing in your life. If they do, it would be so cool if you would share those memories here.
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