I heard the song Carrie Ann by the Hollies on the radio a few days ago and was transported back to 1975 immediately.
My friends and I used to listen to that song along with The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace and Billy Don’t be a Hero by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods every day after school. Oddly, Billy Don’t be a Hero was a hit for Paper Lace in the United Kingdom before Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods had a hit here in the US.
We would listen to those songs repeatedly on 45 rpm on a good old fashioned turntable.
My sister and I would stop at my friend Penny’s house and wait for the babysitter after school. We went to McKinley Elementary School in Columbus, Indiana. Those days were so carefree. The future was blue skies, sunny skies and wide open for the possibilities.
It is a sweet time in my life that always makes me smile when I hear one of those songs on the radio. I always feel joy thinking about those friends of my early youth, and the expected pain that we lost touch, drifted apart and in some cases passed on to the other side.
We would walk home from school just about every day. It wasn’t that far. About six blocks as I can remember. The good old days, I guess. I think about the old neighborhood from time to time. I always refer to those days as the first life I lived. When we moved to Vincennes, I Indiana, that’s the second life I lived. I graduated from high school there. I went to junior high school there. But more about life #2 later.
When we didn’t walk, we rode our bikes to school. We took a few more blocks when we rode bikes. There were some pretty “sweet jumps” on broken sidewalks a few blocks away from the regular walking route. I remember jumping my bike off what seemed like a giant ramp at the time. In reality it was about three inches of broken sidewalk that lead me to Evel Knievel dreams of jumping the Snake River Canyon. Actually, I think I had my sights set on the Grand Canyon among other death defying stunts.
I was in our old hometown a while back and the city finally fixed the sidewalk of death. It only took 40 years. It looked better before. I thought about future generations who wouldn’t be able to take their lives into their own hands with death defying acts of ramping like a paid dare devil entertaining thousands. And I thought about the dare devils, like me, who had the chance to risk it all for childhood glory.