Monday, April 13, 2015

Two of the best times of my life growing up (part I)

One of the best times of my life growing up was when my Aunt Carol agreed to my mom to be my chaperone and watch me and my sister so we could go see the Rolling Stones on the Some Girls tour. I was in sixth grade and the Stones played RFK stadium in Philly and my Cousin Kathy and her boyfriend Jimmy got tickets and organized a busload of rowdy pals from the Bronx to go to the show. And I got to go with them.

I never wrote about it because it was such a mythological experience it is hard to put down on paper. The memories are grand and blurry and soaked in awe. The bus ride alone was a giant party with alcohol and people needing to stop the bus to pee and the driver trying to contain everything. Havoc ensued and I just enjoyed every moment. I loved my cool cousin and her friends were the best, I knew them for years and grew up in their shadow. They really knew how to have a good time and sang and danced and joked around unselfconsciously and included me in all of it. I felt so free and lucky. Man, i loved hanging out with them.

I think I ate a sandwich and an ice cream the entire day, maybe had a few sips of beer and an order of fries, and just experienced awe the entire day. It poured rain and we were all wet and disheveled and wrapped up in blankets. When the Stones came on I went up front only to feel suffocated by fat bellies squishing my face. I was small and skinny and my face was about waist level with most of the crowd and I was simply unable to breathe so I retreated back to the stands so I could at least see the show. I roamed the arena alone and sometimes with my sister and we ran into the gang we traveled with all over the place. I would stop to dance with my cousins or friends and then keep exploring.

There was an element of slapstick comedy that surrounded my aunt Carol. In a different life she could have been a Charlie Chaplin or a Lucille Ball type star. At one point my aunt used a closet as a bathroom. When my aunt came out of the closet she ran into my cousin Katie, who had not traveled with us, but just happened to be there, in the very corridor to the bathroom, where the closet was as my aunt indiscreetly exited.

That was a time when we all had a sixth sense and could find each other in a crowd of thousands. We all got back on the bus somehow and I am sure I slept like a baby as we rolled back to the tri-state area, back to my boring life, back to someone’s house. I had run free, off the leash all day, wild and happy and in my element. Someone kept me safe and warm, looked after me, and got me home. Thank you Cathy, Jimmy, Aunt Carol. That was pure awe.

Its funny how the Rolling Stones were my favorite band at the time and Some Girls was a great release but the band figured into the story very little. They were great, but the whole of the matter was so much bigger than even them.

I'll tell you about the other time tomorrow.

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