I briefly considered renaming this series “Lamps on Hands,” but then Etta James passed away, and I suddenly didn’t find so much humor in photoshopping old youtube videos. (Don’t worry, though, I already have next week’s lined up, so I haven’t suddenly matured overnight or anything)
Theresa really said it best yesterday. I know there are countless other amazing songs by this incredible woman, and I’m not being original by posting “At Last” but this song still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. She was an unbelievable talent and music is better because of her. She was born the same year as my dad, and they both died of Leukemia. Though she out lived him by 6 years, 73 is still far too young to go.
I remember discovering this song when I was a sophomore in high school and feeling like no one else in the world had ever heard it, and being in awe of how perfect the lyrics were, and the way the tone of her voice sounded like she was talking just to me. I remember putting this song on repeat and wishing more than anything in the world that my high school on-again-off-again boyfriend would finally be what I wanted him to be. Which, at 15, was impossible to describe what that is exactly. But I remember playing it in the car ride with my dad over the summer of 2002 on our way up the New England coast, and making an impromptu appointment at a hair salon in Burlington, VT, to chop all of my hair off because that boyfriend was going off to college in a matter of weeks and I would still be stuck in high school, and our time had really never come. We would finally end things for good a few months later when he was home on a break after over 3 years of playing emotional ping pong, but I will never be able to forget how overwhelming my feelings were for him, how little sense anything made to me, and that this song made me feel okay.
I know it’s shallow to associate a song this moving with something as trivial as a high school relationship (if you can really ever call it that), but there it is. Looking back, of course, with perfect 20/20 hindsight, I should never have put so much emphasis on that entire situation, but who can see that when they’re 15 and hormonally imbalanced? It’s funny to me now, looking back on everything. So despite knowing that I was an idiot, and being able to laugh over it now (albeit while cringing), I really wish I hadn’t taken anything so seriously in high school. Although it was hard not to with a song this powerful.
Spill: what’s your embarrassing high school memory?