Friday, August 7, 2009

Don't You Forget About Me

Yesterday, right as I was leaving my salon after a haircut, I got the text from John, "John Hughes dead at 59."

I was saddened by this news, but the full impact didn't hit me till the next morning, today. Last night when the news broke, I had plans to see a "Purple Rain" sing along in Prospect Park. Melinda and Dave had VIP passes. The weather held. The crowd was totally into it. I even managed to snap one of my favorite photos ever with my iPhone (another posting, doesn't fit here).

This morning, as has become my habit, I put on to stream music while eating breakfast, catch up with emails, think about how to justify not working out again and contemplate my day.

John in the Morning has this great mix that starts around 9am our time. I tuned in around 9:20. By 9:30 I guess he had so many requests to play music off of John Hughes soundtracks, that he decided to go for an all 80s theme for the rest of the show. This sort of thing requires great finesse, but he handled it beautifully. "Dancing Horses" went to "Hardest Walk" into 'Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You") to "Let Me Go" to "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want." And so on. Some songs that were featured in his movies, others that just represented that time and place. "If You Were Here, "Under the Milky Way," "Walls Come Down," "I Could Be Happy," etc.

Suddenly I was transported to my parents' old kitchen in CT, before the drastic 90s makeover. Sunset orange walls, grapefruit colored countertops, orange and yellow flowered wallpaper, Tweeter singing in his birdcage, Woofer asleep at my feet (yes, we had a canary named Tweeter and a Golden Retriever named Woofer). The tiny portable radio had to be positioned just so, corner of the kitchen near the stove, the antenna resting against the window, so I could barely get WLIR out of Long Island to play. All my teenage dramas playing out as I was introduced by that radio station to The Jam, Love and Rockets, Violent Femmes, Depeche Mode, David Sylvian, the Smiths, the Cure, Jesus and Mary Chain, Siouxsie and the Banshees, basically every band I came to love, respect and turn to for comfort for decades to come.

Downstairs, below the kitchen, my best friends from high school, Gabrielle, Monique, Ken, Brian, Sarah, Linda, Anne, Maria, Jenn (now Jenna) would come over every Friday for dinner and we'd screen John Hughes movies, among many others, probably taped from cable, as another soundtrack boomed from upstairs, my dad practicing the piano, Tweeter chirping along. Somehow we all learned to drown out the noise and hear the TV. No one seemed to mind that much, or we would have picked another house. When my dad had his first recital, I remember the few friends who attended would say something like, "That's the theme to Pretty in Pink!" when he was playing Schuman or Chopin or Beethoven.

I was enjoying this wave of nostalgia today. Listening to the music, reading the Facebook entries, the Tweets. But when KEXP played "If You Leave" and my friend Justin posted a link to the video around the same time, I actually broke down and cried. My parents have sold the house, Tweeter and Woofer died within months of each other in 1988, some of those friends I probably won't ever speak to again for various reasons. That world is long gone for me. But still, I will miss John Hughes. A man more than 20 years my senior, whom I never met, who somehow understood everything I was going through as a 16 year old female. Now I know what people really mean when they say someone meant the world to them.

Deciding whether to work out or keep listening. I opted for both. After all, in the words of Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you might miss it."

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