Tuesday Tunes

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?

15 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes

  1. So sorry to hear that you lost your Dad to leukaemia. It’s so poignant that Etta James will probably be forever linked to him in your memory.

    I adore Etta’s “At Last” so much that I really wanted it to be our first dance song at our wedding. We were both really adamant about not wanting to do a customary shuffle across the dance floor so that didn’t work out! :D

    Everyday in “high school” was embarrassing for me because I was painfully shy. I also went to a girls’ boarding school so boys were both fascinating and scary! :)

    You’re absolutely right, though – in hindsight, everything that happened in my teens was not nearly as monumental as it seemed at the time.

    1. Thank you, Chi. xx

      I’m like you, I think I want to shun the traditional wedding routines, but this would absolutely make a perfect first dance song. In fact, I know a few people that have chosen it for theirs! It’s just so romantic, it begs to be used at a wedding.

      An all girls boarding school! The stories you must have! Aside from the “all girls” part I’m pretty envious. Boarding school always sounded like so much fun. They’re not common here though. But you’re right, nothing about my teenage years was as monumental as I thought. I wish I’d known that then and I’d have calmed down a bit!

  2. How can you possibly say: “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.”
    What it does do is give your age away. You know how I know, because when you get to mid-forties, you don’t cringe about anything like that any longer… it was sooooo long ago:)

    Well, having just said that I cried to Donna Summer, Lion Richie and to 10CC I’m not in love! There you go… just had flashbacks.

    Sorry to hear about your dad. Feel hugged!

    1. Ha! I suppose you’re right. I’m only 8 years out of high school (lord it doesn’t seem that long saying it like that!) so everything still feels fresh and embarrassing, haha. I’m typically a tough person to embarrass, but man, high school….

      I love Donna Summer and Lionel Richie!! Those are totally respectable musicians to tear-up to!

      Thank you, Tina! xox

  3. I first heard this song in high school too, and thought the same thing! I thought I knew of this secret gem no one else knew about. I’m glad you got through your teenage torture ! Silly boys make girls crazy sometimes- for no reason. And what a sweet memory to have with your dad! I’m so sorry to know that’s what happened but glad you have the memory .

    1. Glad to know I wasn’t alone in thinking I was alone in finding that song! It speaks to the power of that song that everyone had their own personal cling on it when they first heard it.

      You’re sweet, Holly. As always! xoxo

  4. We had friends who *did* dance to this at their wedding! It was completely appropriate too…I think they waited (well, she waited on him) for nice years before getting married. Best part? He decided he was ready to get married after meeting four year old Callum. I’ve been at the births of both their son’s and I’m god mother to their second.

    I think the whole point of high school is to take everything seriously. I’m finally at the point where I can be grateful for all the creepy weird boyfriends I had because they led me ultimately to Neel. And the absolute best part is that for our senior prom, I was deep in a 1+ year relationship, and two other girlfriends all teamed up to triple date for the prom. You know, drag our dates to dinner, and the after party etc. Years later, we realized that all of our dates were GAY. We were looking for sensitive, understanding guys, and all of those were closeted. Go figure.

    1. Nine years!? Wow! That’s impressive. I don’t know if I’d have that in me. Though it is incredibly sweet that what sparked him to propose was wee Callum! He can always carry that with him. And you, too. Your son is so awesome he makes people want to get married and have their own Callums.

      I’m trying not to laugh over the fact that all three of you dated gay guys in high school, but it’s too funny! Oh the things we choose not to see when we’re young and in love! The sensitive guys were always unattainable, but thankfully, in the real world/out of high school, there are plenty of sensitive, understanding straight guys! And yes, you’re right. All of those experiences led you to Neel! What a lovel way to look at it.

  5. When you told me that you were going to highlight “At Last” for your Tuesday Tunes I knew right away there was going to be a beautiful story to accompany it. In reading the story, I associate this song more with your dad than I do with the boyfriend. I hope you do too. From what I have read on your site, your dad sounds like he was a great man.
    High School years were horrible. I’m always a bit leery of the person who claims they would gladly do high school all over again. “I loved high school!” Whaaa…?! But, you know what? With all the bad press high school gets, it happened and it mattered. It made us who we are today, more or less. Bad memories and all.
    PS~Happy to see your dad’s painting on proper display via 365P.

    1. I’ve always said I’d re-do high school in a heartbeat, but only to make up for all the mistakes I made. I’d do it better if I could. You’re right though, it all adds up to who we are today, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the questionable dating choices. Haha.

      You’re kind to call this “beautiful.” In re-reading it, I agree with you, I have more of an association with my dad than that boy. Which is good, I think. It’s such an amazing song. You really did sum it up perfectly on Monday. xoxo

  6. Ah my gran died of leukaemia too. Feel so bad for you and you miss him so much :( He would love that you have his painting in pride of place now I think xx

    Boo to high school boyfriends. And now you live with a lovely man who lets you do nice things to his flat and plays chess with you. I’ve blocked all of my hs boyfriends out, except the one that now lives across the road from me. I am however still embarrassed about putting Sun-In in my hair. That was not a good look.

    Poor Lauren! Really they were all gay? Did they all end up together?

    I am totally 100% envious of Chi having gone to boarding school. There was nothing I wanted more aged 13 than to a) live in the same room as my best friends and b) live a life a bit like in the Worst Witch. Anyone remember those books? Have to say….I loved high school too! I got to hang out with all my best friends like allll day long and what’s better than that?

    Lovely post lovely Erin xx

    1. Oh, sorry to hear about your gran. xoxo Leukemia is such a bitch. But yes, I think hanging that picture made a big improvement in my everyday life, and I hope he knows it.

      I can’t believe you live across the road from a high school boyfriend. I’d have to move. Like, across the country. Though if I had a boyfriend who lets me drive his Porsche, I might stay! ;)

      I never used Sun-In but all the cool girls did! My hair was a lot blonder in high school and had it’s own highlight situation happening. Everyone that used that stuff though had streaks, is that what happened to you? One day I’m going to come over and go through your old pictures with you! You can do the same, I have hundreds of embarrassing photos.

      I LOVE that you referenced the Worst Witch!! I was thinking the EXACT SAME THING when I responded to Chi!! Though I never read the book series, just saw the movie they made with Tim Curry and Fairuza Balk. I have it somewhere at home on dvd! I’ll tweet you a picture later tonight. Man, now I have to watch that again. Thanks for the reminder, beautiful girl! xoxo

      1. Talking about ‘imitation’ – when I read Harry Potter I was like ‘this is totally the Worst Witch!’ except HP is better at magic.
        Yeay it was ok, I’ve only seen him once and it was a bit drunk :) He wasn’t a cringeworthy one thank fully.
        No highlights, just a kinda all over yellow. Nice! And luckily for me there are zero photos of me from when I was a teenager. In fact one of my best friends texted me yesterday and said she’d found a pile of teenager photos but we both looked so hideous that she chucked them in the bin!

Comments are closed.