Thursday, July 08, 2010

40 years ago...

I found out a lot of things about myself by being on the farm and maybe that's why I have always been comfortable (and sometimes prefer) living alone. The summer of 1970 was one of the most frustrating times of my life. I turned 14 the previous February. When my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday I replied ..."to get the hell out of here." It made her cry. While my mother had a horrible life that led to her drinking herself to death, she cared deeply about her kids. She did the best she could, and let's leave it at that. I lived about 4 miles outside of Ava Mo. I never had a problem with Ava per se, it's actually kinds comfortable to go back there once in a while, it was just that Ava was in the middle of....nowhere. Kids were being killed at college, my brother was off fighting in some stupid engagement I never quite got (and still don't), the Woodstock generation was going on all over the country, everywhere, it seemed, things were happening and the world was exploding, everywhere but where I was. Things were exploding in my family too, as my brother had his heartbroken and I was wondering why in the hell my parents were living apart and I was stuck in the sticks with my grandparents, mother and sister. I spent the summer as far away from there as I could by just walking creeks (starting at one point and walking as far as you can, then turning around). I would routinely take my backpack with my tent, cooking supplies and an innertube and just walk and float for days. The radio was one of the things that got me through all of that, it was my window to the world to hear what Chicago, Little Rock, Denver, Nashville and other far away places sounded like. I liked it. Those guys on teh radio told me stories, made me laugh, think and sometimes cry over the 14 second intro of a song. I could even get the far away stations under the tent on the creeks with my transistor. That is, until the batteries would wear out.
Here are some of the songs of that summer that filled my life with joy...
The Billboard top 15 from Independence Day 1970...

1. Close to You-Carpenters (guilty pleasure, still love their music)
2. Make It With You-Bread (fell in love over this song...didn't last)
3. Mama Told Me -3 Dog Night(the song of the summer)
4. Band of Gold-Freda Payne (soul music at its finest)
5. Signed Sealed Delivered-Stevie Wonder (see above)
6. The Love You Save-Jackson Five (see above)
7. Spill The Wine-War (great song)
8. Ball of Confusion-Temptations (still relevant after all this time)
9. Tighter Tighter-Alive and Kickin (not a better one hit wonder ever)
10.Oooh Child-Five Stairsteps(another wonderful soulful song)

This was also the summer of Crosby Stills Nash and Young. I heard Ohio on the radio and went to the store to buy Deja Vu, thinking Ohio was on it. It wasn't and I wasn't happy. It has since become one of the most influential albums of my life. The summer of Suzie Gregg. If I ever get a time machine, this won't be a destination.

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