Saturday, August 9, 2008


Far from Orwellian, 1984 was the first year that I really remember in full and vivid detail. Memories before that are plentiful but more general and vague. When I changed my iPod collection the other night (because I have a smaller one, I can't fit all my music on it, so I change it up now and then), I decided to add some songs from the Footloose sountrack (you must remember that my license plate sums me up: NRD). I added the song "Almost Paradise," the cheesy ballad one. That song brings back a very specific memory for me, and one that made me bawl for sentimental reasons.

In 1984, the Chicago Cubs nearly made it to the World Series. This, for my sports-obsessed brother (as he remains to this day), was B.I.G. The equivalent, for me, of meeting one of my celebrity crushes and marrying them (or at least having a torrid affair)--equally improbable and equally delicious to imagine. Haha. Anyway. So, my brother. He was freaktastically excited all summer. Then, of course, at the end of the NL playoffs, the Cubs tanked very much like they did in 2003, but without the help of that one fan dude who pushed the ball back into play in game 4.

The 1984 Cubs were my brother's Great Hope, and then his Great Disappointment. One evening, shortly after the defeat, we were going to the mall as a family. We heard the song "Almost Paradise" on the radio as we pulled into the parking lot, and my brother, quite dejectedly, said, "This could be the new theme song for the Cubs." Almost to the world series--almost paradise. Almost.

So, now in 2008, I have that song on my iPod. And when I heard it again for the first time in awhile, I thought back to that little (and relatively insignificant) memory. And, being me, I started to cry. Not because of the Cubs losing, but because I felt one of those occasional and acute pangs of reality that time moves on and we grow old and everything changes. My brother and I aren't kids anymore--we're in our 30s. My parents. Well, they aren't in their 30s anymore. We don't live in the same house. We talk frequently, telling jokes and offering and hearing advice. We still love one another and are lucky enough to have each other in our lives. But we aren't That Family now--the family that lives together, watches TV together, and vacations together (to destinations with baseball teams to appease my brother!!). I don't fight with my brother over the front seat (he always gets it!), and I don't get to cuddle with mom at church or eat those pink mint candies from her purse.

One stupid, cheesy pop ballad from a cheesy 80s movie and suddenly I'm an emotional spazz. A therapist once told me I tend to blow things all out of proportion. Maybe, JUST MAYBE, he was right. But still.

1 comment:

netekay said...

Almost Paradise....ahhhh...what a great song!!!! Sentimental to me for other reasons that shall go to my grave with me.... :)