But it wasn't just the hockey-haired boys of St. Pius X or the teal Converse wearing neighborhood skateboarder who made me all gooey and doe-eyed. It was also my friends. And as an eighth-grader about to graduate to a school that would combine teens from two other elementary schools, I was terrified about what this would mean for our gang, identifiable by the Esleep pajama bottoms we wore over leggings in public.
We sort of tortured our music teacher, a woman I now confuse in my head with Diane Chambers. Fannie and I got in trouble for throwing sticky pieces of wall goo at her while she played piano. When Princess Linda didn't want to play trumpet at the spring concert, I wrote Mrs. S a letter about how playing trumpet reminded Princess L. of her dead grandfather. So when we showed enthusiasm for a choir song, Mrs. S had no choice but to forge ahead. During the spring concert in 1989, we joined voices beautifully to sing "The Rose," made popular by Bette Midler. It was for that same concert that I suggested we sing "Shoulder to Cry On" by Tommy Page. It's a little known tune about always being there, a friend to rely on, when the whole world is gone you won't be alone because I'll be there. It was a song that perfectly encapsulated how I felt about my friends at the time. A song that I now see as barely-rhyming emotional manipulation dished by a man with fantastic hair.
Princess Linda's parents recorded the concert, a tape I loathed revisiting. There I am during the set list's One-Two Punch of Emotion: Age 14. Big hair, neon shorts. My eyes undeniably shining with tears.
The Adult Contemporary Series explores the hits of the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s and what they meant to me, inspired by a song heard while listening to Adult Contemporary radio in my Adult Contemporary Car. Except this time I heard the song at Menards.