I was invited to meet with a book club who'd read Kicks Like a Girl. Utterly charming group of women! They came with loads of questions and said the sweetest things about my writing. I didn't want to leave the table. Like, ever. I could have basked in their kind words all day long. Obviously the Cronies Book Club is one of excellent taste in literature, intelligent and thoughtful. They invited me to join them for next month's discussion, which I'd love to do, but alas! The boys and I are signed up for a mud run that same day making it impossible.
The book club took place in the town where I attended high school. My family has all since migrated to other places, and it's always a blast of nostalgia when I drive by that town since I'm an infrequent visitor. The restaurant where the book club met used to be a diner, a real dive called Katie's. I actually use the old diner as a setting in a book I'm currently writing--the redone restaurant is a slick cafe with espresso and vegan entrees, the hip kitchen staff sports piercings and facial hair and tattoos. Katie's employees wore hair nets, orthopedic shoes and polyester back in the day--in an unironic kind of way.
On my way out after the meeting, the woman I'd sat next to started talking about her daughter and it turned out her daughter and I went to high school together. Small world! As it happens, that same next book club/mud run date in July coincides with a high school reunion (back in the same town) that I also won't attend. It was a nice connection, though.
I don't often think of high school, current events keep me busy enough. But then I heard Casey Kasem died over the weekend and it brought me back to the years when I'd sit by the radio and listen to the Top 40 countdown. Remember recording hit songs on cassette tapes from the radio? Remember how he'd read those letters during each program, about how a song would give some woman comfort while her husband was in Iraq or a young girl fought leukemia while listening to "Eye of the Tiger?" The sound of his voice always propels me back to middle school especially--my retainer tight against the roof of my mouth, my boom box plugged into the wall beside my book shelf filled to the brim with Judy Blume, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables and those Sweet Valley High books. Back then summer vacation meant my ten-speed, a library card, a swimming pass at the local pool and lots of neighbor kids to mess around with.
The sound of Casey Kasem's voice still takes me back there--and so do certain songs. Over the weekend Mr. G played in a baseball tournament (took 2nd place) and a wedding reception was in full swing in the same park after his final game. They had a rockin' band and the baseball parents enjoyed singing along to favorite old hits by bands like Eddie and the Cruisers and REO Speedwagon from our spot by the bleachers.
Makes me wonder what songs will take my kids back to childhood someday in the future. What will they remember? Cleats and dust? Swimming and playing in the creek? Certainly not cassette tapes!
Spill it, reader. What sparks nostalgia for you?