(this is an opinion piece, an editorial)
If you're like me there are times something can trigger a memory and you can still smell it. Emotions flood you like it was yesterday.
My story here started when I was scrolling Facebook, something we would've never believed would be a daily ritual had you told us this our sophomore year in high school. I came across a meme that says it all.
It's funny how waiting for our favorite song would never be an option today. You can just literally hear it anytime you want. In many ways, the technology is cool that has allowed this. I love social media because I can stay connected with friends and family far away but there's a melancholy feel about some of the memories on social media that Gen Xers are sharing of late.
If you're on Tik Tok, there's a trend to edit together a big flood of things that only existed in that time and put a very recognizable hit song in the background. Oh my. Some of those things I though I had forgotten about, until I hadn't. I'm sure you feel the same if we are "about" the same age.
Back to the taping a song off the radio. I was pretty lucky to have had a radio engineer for a stepdad and he was very cool. I mean, when the station no longer needed the 33s of Casey Kasum's weekly top 40, he would bring them home and give them to me!!!!! Oh my stars. Like....yes! Fer sure, totally awesome, ya know?
Here's a link to article about the show in case you're younger and just interested in Gen X culture (as you should be) https://billdembski.com/nostalgia/casey-kasem-classic-american-top-40-countdown/
There was something so free about a cassette tape however. You could take them and click them into a giant machine and take your music anywhere. The rich kids had them in their car stereo decks.
Speaking of that, did anyone else learn to drive their mom's practical real estate car, an 80s something Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with a full ashtray because your mom would never really empty it?
Pretty embarrassing. The cool kids had cool cars, like Trans Ams, or my dream car was a 1960s something Mustang convertible. I got close to that, well, not really, when my mom bought a sports car off a friend, a 1980 Fiat Spyder Convertible. I think mom thought it would be fun until it leaked in the rain, messed up her hair too much and required a chemist load of sunblock for the SPF 5,000 club members, our family. So, you guessed it, it was given to me to drive.
And remember that 10 and two thing on the wheel from Driver's Ed? Yes, that class was taught in high school during the day and if you were as lucky as we were at Central High School, you had a cool football coach to teach you how to drive.
Whatever era you grew up in, that's your time. But our time was different, you've heard that I'm sure.
Now we cherish the memories but enjoy the creature comforts of technology that today's world brings us. And we still get together, the old gang, in fact we named it the "Get Along Gang" and each summer finds us meeting up camping at a lake in NE Oklahoma, going out on a boat, getting into the water with floaties and treading water for hours.
We crank the hits from the boat, share adult beverages which don't seem to taste quite as good and talk about just life. I am fortunate to have these awesome memories but even more so to have these awesome people in my life, some .....well, some time later we don't need to start counting the years.
When I can't drive southeast to join them in Tulsa, they still meet up to celebrate things in each other's lives like birthdays and holidays. They make matching t-shirts, ask strangers to take photos of them together so that everyone makes it into the photo, buy matching jammies and rent cabins in Branson to just hang out and ...and be.
Life isn't promised to us. I hear it said you'll never make it to the end of your life wishing you had just worked more but I do hear people say they wished they'd made time for the people they love.
So as we wrap up summer, go out and find your people. Talk about the Mix tapes you made, the times you stuffed your bed and snuck out to toilet paper a boy's house that you can a crush on (uh, guilty! Camille Feaster lol) Relive those days a bit and talk smack about all these damn kids these days. I mean, why not? Roll the windows down and crank up the Def Leopard or whatever you were in to back in the day.
For all of this nostalgia is really just a lot of growing pains we've had to get from there to here. Enjoying it requires no explanations or apologies.
~Anne Boswell, Gen-Xer