And speaking of reflections…

I’m about to admit something very embarrassing here. Recently, I’ve been feeling nostalgic. Maybe because I’m in my mid-40s, and I haven’t been home in awhile, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood. So I downloaded a bunch of music last night, stuff that was popular when I was a kid.

I grew up in the 70s and 80, and mostly listened to funk, soul and R&B music. But in Des Moines, during that time period, that kind of music wasn’t played on the radio stations. We had a record player at home (and an 8-track and later a cassette player), but for the most part, we were stuck with mainstream popular music, music that I really didn’t care for. Or so I thought. Here’s what I downloaded last night, and what I listened to all day, misty-eyed and homesick:

Barry Manilow
Pains me to admit, but I loved this music. Reminds me of when I used to go camping with my grandparents in their RV trailer. Those were the days. I miss my grandma.

The Bee Gees
This music brings back the days when I used to go to the Metro Disco, a teenage disco club. Must have been about 7th grade, such an awkward time. Even though I didn’t like to dance, I loved going to The Metro. Mostly to hang out on the sidelines with my friends and make fun of the serious disco dancers, John Travolta wannabe types.

Barry and Andy Gibb
Again, this music reminds me of the times I spent with my grandparents. My mom raised my brothers and I, but she was my grandma’s baby girl. So, we spent a lot of time with my grandparents.

Elton John
Painful music, painful time. Takes me back to my little league baseball days. I hated little league baseball. It was one of those things that, as a boy, I was supposed to do, that I didn’t want to do, but I did it because . . . well, I don’t know if there was any getting out of it. Many a day, my three brothers and I, and my mom, crammed into her old, beat up, VW bug and headed to the ballpark. Elton John on the radio.

Barbra Streisand
This music takes me back to the time when my parents split up. My mom didn’t work, she stayed at home and took care of us kids and our home. So when she and my dad split up, she had to learn a skill and get a job. She went to school and learned basic clerical work — short-hand, filing, how to take dictation. I was so proud of her.

I even downloaded some Celine Dion, which has noting to do with my childhood, but,  shhh, I’ve already given you enough fodder to last a lifetime of jokes.

Edit to original post: The wife just caught me listening to my newly downloaded music, Barry Manilow’s Mandy. She had a good laugh. Apparently when she was growing up, her family actually had records for their record player, so they didn’t have to listen to the radio. She won’t admit to listening to Barry Manilow, but I’m sure she did. Curious she knows all the lyrics.


About Don Tate
Don Tate is the award-winning illustrator and author of more than 45 trade and educational books for children.

One Response to And speaking of reflections…

  1. kathy weller says:

    Mandy was big when I was wee. Loved the Gibbs, too, particularly Andy!
    I have some great music memories from childhood, too. You’re bringing me back, Don. Thanks for the memories.

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