Saving all of my love

Two down.

Nearly three years ago Michael Jackson passed away mysteriously, in shadow-land ever since several controversies that we won’t go into.  Anecdote:  When living in Italy I bought a M. Jackson CD at a newsstand.  2003.  My musical tastes  were soon questioned by friends and acquaintances.  Now, remix after remix Mr. J is once again cool.  I stood by him because, truthfully, I really loved “Smooth Criminal” and as a child was enamored with his moonwalk and red leather jacket.

Yesterday when heading to do a performance a friend of mine, Mighty Monte shook his  head at me while saying “So sad.”  He then told me the news about Whitney, my BFF from second grade.  OK, she had no idea that she was my BFF but ever since hearing the record (yes, I do remember-it was a shiny, pretty RECORD) of “How Will I Know” that fateful 1985 day I idolized her.  Whitney, Michael and Madonna are the three performers who make me feel like being 8 again.  Since this blog and performance are deeply rooted in nostalgia, I must share that I am deeply saddened by this.  I remember when Fred Astaire died and my parents telling me about how cool he was.  I thought:  what will it be like when my childhood idols pass away?  I’ll feel old and sad.  To be fair, after last week’s performance, I feel that I can be confident that Madonna ain’t goin anywhere anytime soon.  However, Whitney’s death made me feel…lonely.  And it brought back really cool memories of jelly shoes, colored plastic bracelets and day camp. 

Summer of 1987 was a happy one for a performer-to-be.  I got my first tape player (metallic blue) and choreographed many dances to my first tape:  Madonna’s “True Blue” (Who could forget that AMAZING song, “Jimmy, Jimmy”).  Second tape purchased, was (of course) the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack.  I learned to do a back dive which I described to my puzzled teacher to be “like a inside-out shirt doing a dive”.

 …Enter jazz hands, my sister’s borrowed dance recital spandex costume, a mirror and the perfect step-touch.

Whitney was coming into her stride.  So were Madonna and Michael.  My childhood seems so wrapped up in the talents of these fresh-faced singers who helped me to infuse those years of semi-innocence (semi because “Like a Virgin” was the first Madonna song I sang to my babysitter and sister at age 5) with pizzazz.


We were young, we were living in non-hipster neon.  Riding my knock-off girl BMX,wishing I were in the movie Space Camp  and listening to beautiful people sing catchy songs on the radio or my own personal tape player.  I didn’t know what hope was but I had it.

This is the era of the 80’s and 90’s revival done by kids half of my age who probably will never know who Kirk Cameron ever was.  Me with my boy haircut and hand-me-downs and them, the cool older girls with perfect bangs lip-syncing to Whitney on one hot Inland Empire afternoon.  With that memory my belly twinges and my sweetly archived memory is tinged with the loss of innocence that goes along with the sudden and all-too-soon death of a star you loved enough to circle her portrait in Teen Beat.  I feel older today.  Whitney Houston slipped into a bathtub of abyss, The King of Pop expired in a cloud of desolation and my seven-year-old naivete is permanently distorted.

I had no idea at the time how fragile the 80’s really were.  Or how special.  I was just a kid, a dreamer, following those MTV front-runners with blind conviction and joyful idolatry.


2 Responses to “Saving all of my love”
  1. Sarah Morris says:

    remember the lyrics we made up one summer in the camper to “I’m Your Baby Tonight”…
    “Not eeeating, not eeeating, I’m not eating today. It’s grooss, it’s groohss, the lunchroom’s gross today.”
    Yeah, we were cool.

  2. project1979 says:

    You and your memory totally made my day.
    Oh, and P.S.-my stage name for the show is DeBelinda Giffany. What do you think?

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