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Thursday, July 20, 2006

AN ODE TO BARRY...


My ten year old fingers wrap around the rope of my swing. The cane sandals fly freely off my feet, my toes dig into the sand, the denim cut-offs creep up just slightly exposing my butt to the warm seat of the swing as I push off into the warm Texas afternoon. The wind hits my face blowing my bowl cut all over my head. And the portable 8-track tape player is blaring out as I soar closer toward the sky...

"...Hey, Baby. I went lookin' too and I found out that there is no other love for me but you. Just me and you..."

Feeling so free. Grandmother and Howard are back in the house watching Mike Douglas. Mom is at work flirting with her boss. Dad is at some job flirting with all manner of people and doing as little work as possible. I soak in the hot sun which has already tanned my body. My faux-football jersey half shirt has those little holes in it which prevents the polyester from being too unbearable. Grandmother thinks it's funny that she can see where the sun has allowed the little holes to appear on my shoulders and chest. I think it cool.
My pal, Margaret, is all sunburned. However, I don't burn --- I stay brown.

"...a different kind of cool love who's going to treat me right -- day and night. And, I found what I was after and my day is filled with laughter. I found you, love..."

I feel so happy as I swing and sing along at the top of my lungs. Our neighbor is tending his corn and seems to take pleasure in my singing. However, next week he will talk to my mom about the appropriateness of the music to which I am allowed to listen. My mother will defend my right to play and sing along with "belly rubbin'" music. Good for her.

"Disco is fun" she will tell me as she drops me off at the rollerskating rink for a day and night of roller disco. I do have fun, but would rather be at the movies. Still, I became a good skater. I dreamed of skating with Scott. Or, Peter Brady -- or, Andy!

...but, secretly I really wanted to skate with Barry. Torn. Did I want him to be my boyfriend or my dad? Or, did I want both? I'm still not sure. I had always imagined that Woody Allen and Diane Keaton were my real parents. I was there love child who had some how been left in White Trash Texas Hell. But, maybe it was disco desiny. Disco dew.

Oh, Barry. What happened? In the summer of 1977 it all seemed so innocent and fun. And, look what was survived? Child abuse. Latch keys. Being gay and not really understanding why or what that meant other than my mom was blaming Barbra. Not that it was all easy for you either. I mean, you kept those hits rolling but all the while your cute little brother boogied down a bit too much with Joe Walsh and Uncle Stigwood convinced you that it would be cool to do a musical version of SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND.

"Barry, baby! Have I ever steered you boys wrong? This is going to be bigger than TOMMY and we've got Peter Frampton! Baby, this is going to be hot! Hot!"

Robert fucking bastard Stigwood and his silly little pig loggo'd RSO records.

But, in the summer of 1977 I had no idea that my mom and dad were headed for a rocky divorce, I would soon have a sweet little brother to watch out for, I would be losing my Grandmother, I would be discovering the odd/twisted/fun/horrible road of drugs -- No. I had no idea. I was just swinging to the music. To those swirling strings and the beat of those drums.

"...I was lost with no direction and my life was one big question. Now I know just where I'm going and I know just where I'm going cause I found you, love. I found a new love!"

The swing kept going higher. Just like you, Barry.

I mean. You know. Who can ever knock you? ...Jive Talkin', Stayin' Alive, Night Fever, More Than A Woman, Emotion, Too Much Heaven, Shadow Dancing, Love Is Thicker Than Water, I Just Wanna Be Your Everything, A Woman In Love, Guilty, Grease, Islands In The Stream, If I Can't Have You and How Deep Is Your Love. ...the list goes on and on. It was an era of sweet music which seemed to be dripping off the beautiful Pier One Import rubber tree leaves which were positioned on the furry carpet by the oval swirling white chair and the Pet Rock on the micro plastic yellow table with the way cool and functional picture cube.

I learned so much from you, Barry. And, no matter how bad you continue to look as you attempt to work that 1978 hair do as a thinning hair did or try to turn your disco into war protest songs for Barbra.

I will always love you.

Yes. Grease really IS the word. Your love will turn the key. Certainly, no one gets too much heaven anymore. You and I both know we've got nothing to be guilty about. And, you taught me that a woman in love will fight for that right to the end.


Barry, I swing with you. In a way, in a certain part of my brain it will always be the summer of 1978 and Samantha Sang will always be crooning on about crying a river that leads to your ocean. In the words of a broken heart --- it is just emotion that is taking me over as I remember those sweet moments of disco innocence which you created.

But, Barry --- where do YOU go when the record's over?

6 Comments:

Blogger ginab said...

The wind hits my face blowing my bowl cut all over my head.

Oops, you may have lost something.

Neat tribute. I almost thought somebody died, and then there were two, so technically people have died, but that's not a happy note! Shame for shame.

I hear a speaker phone might be in the offing. Not sure what the plan is. I hope I'm home!

-g+bb

a.k.a. 'mz. mysterious'.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Barry? meh, personally, I'd be more looking forward to the Sex Pistols who were destroying that type of music at the same time....

speaking of which, the SP's 'God Save The Queen' really should become the British national anthem, don't you think?

9:27 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Matty, have I mentioned I adore you? I had Andy posters in my room for a time. He had lipgloss on. Why oh why? I too secretly lusted after Barry but he seemed so much older and wiser and scarily virile compared to sweet and safe Andy.

Andy would frolic in fields of wild flowers with me, chastely kissing me and nothing more.

Barry, well, we all know what Barry wanted. Perhaps that was the beginning of my penchant for older men? Who knows. I wonder what ever happened to that album. Now, at 1am I have an urge.

1:10 AM  
Blogger matty said...

Gina! I've lost many things over the years -- my hair being just one. I had a dream about my old swing and thought of that brief time when I would be on it and everything would seem ok. I don't understand our friend's phone. We couldn't get it to work and mine has no battery power at the moment. Are you ready for Spain!?!?

Jon -- Oh, I was in a small town in Texas. I think I might have heard of the Sex Pistols but they didn't catch my interest for another couple of years. This was 1977. I was 10 and it was still not a crime to enjoy pop/disco music. Barry and Andy would be forgotten for a while but I no longer listen to Sidney and the SP's ...tho, I do own their LP (now on CD) ...However, I play the Bee Gee's all the time now. Funny what brings us back and what falls away.

...is that from Walt?1?!

1:13 AM  
Blogger matty said...

Lovely Meredith -- I was only just listening to Flowing Rivers this morning. Makes me feel grounded somehow. Safe. Yeah, I get what you're saying about the safeness that we perceived was Andy. Odd that Andy turned out to be the one livin' on the edge. But one suspects that Barry was/is the more, um, aggressive lover.

...guilty.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Me said...

sigh, I dreamt last night that I had incredible sex with Robert Deniro... must stop thinking about older men... hell, must stop thinking about sex....must stop thinking. Mmmmmm, Barry.

8:21 PM  

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