A friend and I were discussing music and some of the first music we liked the other day, and I remembered a snippet from my childhood that I had included in my children’s manuscript, True Confessions of a Kickball Reject. Here’s a little glimpse….read, laugh, and show me pity 🙂
Friday was dance day in the fifth grade. On Fridays Mr. Gardener would grab the record player and take us all down to the gym, providing of course that we had had a good week. Now that I am a teacher myself I recognize the trick. He would place the record player on the stage and let those students who had brought records play them. And we would all dance. It didn’t really matter how we danced because it was the 1970’s. Although some of my classmates like Jane and Kathryn knew the hustle and the electric slide. I have to admit I was envious. I had begged my parents to order one of those dance teaching kits, the kind with the foot prints and arrows painted onto the large vinyl square. My pleading fell on deaf ears, however. In my house, dancing was not considered a very wholesome pastime. And the only records we had were church choirs, classical music, and a country album entitled “Hell Bent for Leather.” I did, however, have one factor in my favor…Christmas. And I knew exactly what I wanted. Saturday Night Fever. It was a hit movie, and I wanted the soundtrack. The cool kids like Jane and Kathryn and Brent had the album, and one of them brought it almost every Friday. Yes, Saturday Night Fever was my one and only Christmas wish, and I never missed an opportunity to remind Mom and Dad. At last, the day arrived: Christmas morning. I ran downstairs and headed straight for the peach-colored couch in the living room. Determined to be patient, I breathed deeply throughout the “Santa Ritual.”
At our house, someone played Santa each year as we opened the presents. This year it would be my brother, Joe. Joe would pass out the presents one by one, and we would all watch as each person opened his or her present. Pop opened some cologne, Aunt Beth opened a box of golf balls, Mom opened a new robe. Above the mantle, the clock ticked, and ticked, and ticked. And then it caught my eye, the flat, square package under the tree. Joe handed it to me, and I began to open it slowly. I would at last have something to take to school. I would have the same album as the cool kids. My life was about to change forever. I pulled back the wrapping paper to reveal the glossy album entitled…the Osmonds? Oh…my…God!
There they were, the smiling family of seven, their teeth almost blindingly white. I stared at them open mouthed for a moment, and then my mother’s floated toward me from somewhere beyond my astonishment.
“Oh, I know you wanted that other thing, but the Osmonds are such a nice family with some wonderful songs. And you can take it to school on your dance days.”
I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew that taking the smiling Osmonds to school on dance day was NOT going to happen. Glasses + gangly + bookworm + Osmonds could only equal one thing…freak! I did find one song on the album that was passable; it was called “Crazy Horses.” But it had a skip, so halfway through the song it would begin going “crazy, crazy, crazy…” I knew I only had one option left. I would have to earn the money to buy Saturday Night Fever myself. And that is what I did.