The Soundtrack of My Youth
I didn't have the perfect childhood, but it sure seemed that way. I was happy, I had friends, and I almost got everything I asked for. I think part of that was because I had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and if my mother couldn't cure it, she would make sure I got almost everything I wanted. I never got the horse, or the extra bathroom (my brother took three showers a day) or the answering machine for the phone, but I did get horseback riding lessons and new designer jeans and a phone for my room.
I remember occasional trips out to Southtown Mall. I remember hanging out in the WGL studios with my dad when he taped his radio show. I remember my mom taking me to Shoaff Park. The Blizzard of 1978. I was homeschooled that year, so I think I had extra time to play in the snow.
My brother put a damper on things, but I remember adults liking me because I was so outgoing. They couldn't believe this chatty little girl who had no shyness in talking to adults.
That all changed in seventh grade. That's when things started to go wrong.
I think I never really wanted to grow up. I never thought childhood would ever have to end, but it did.
So it's the music of my childhood that stands out the most for me. I remember the theme from "Shaft" playing while my mother drove around town looking for a Gnip Gnop game for my brother. I remember my father singing along to Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime" just to make me laugh. I loved it all: bubblegum, hard rock, soft rock, pop. It was AM radio in all it's glory.
And I loved disco. In 1975, I remember hearing a distinctive guitar riff that set off a song with simple lyrics, but with an infectious beat. That song was "Get Down Tonight" by KC and the Sunshine Band, and he became one of my favorites.
Unlike the Loverboy concert, I hung around with friends through most of the warm up acts. I figured KC wouldn't go on until about 10 p.m. or so, and I was right. It meant I didn't get right up close to the stage, but I got a lot closer than I thought. Sure, he looks different now (so do I) but I didn't care. His music was the soundtrack to a great childhood.
I can honestly say I danced through most of the one and a half hours he and his band performed. It was funny, because quite a few people close to the stage like I was were just standing there--there was a young girl standing next to me who just stared at the show. I think her parents took her there, because the woman in front of me and I were dancing up a storm. Her husband (if that's who it was) stood just as still as his daughter did. A few white-haired gentlemen ahead of me and to the left also just stood there. I got over my inhibitions about dancing in public, because KC put on a good show. It made me forget about the anxiety going on in my life, my fears for the future, and the mistakes I've made.
And after the show, I had a thought. I wondered if I could meet the man who made music I associate with one of the best times in my life. I spoke with one of his guitar players, and said it would mean so much to me to meet KC (I started to cry a little). He told me to stick around. A TRF volunteer offered me some bottled water, and after the heat and humidity (summer finally showed up today) it was the best water I'd had in my life.
Apparently, there's a KC and the Sunshine Band fan club. The two members who showed up were going to be brought backstage. I asked if I could be included. The guy said no, it was just for fan club members, but had a change of heart and said I could go back. I gave him a hug.
And here it is. I've loved this man for 40 years.
Bear in mind, I had no idea when I woke up today that I would meet one of my idols from childhood. After the show, I just thought that I would try and meet him. I never thought it would happen. And for a while tonight, I remembered how good life can be.