top of page

Entry date: 2-23-2024 – Memories and the In Between – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

What a day it was yesterday.

 

Why are some days like that, I wonder. It was so many things in a 12-ish hour period. I woke up distracted. I wasn’t sure about what, but when I got to my 7:45AM work meeting, I was having a hard time concentrating. I was in and out of the conversation, doing work on my computer, distracted by the things I feel like I need to get done.

 

Luckily, my team is a good team, and we pick each other up on a regular basis. Our Instructional Coaches are great, too; super supportive and helpful. My teacher friends will know how important this is and how lucky I am. Not all instructional coaches are good. We have a good thing at my school.  

 

Later in the day I was speaking with a new friend, the wife of an old friend, about how lucky I am to work in a school where we are mostly happy to be there. Not all schools are like that. Some schools have a dark cowl around them, like Batman, that just doesn’t let the necessary light into the building.

 

The day was going along fine at work, too. No Cocaine Baby yesterday. I’m a bit worried that maybe he is getting yanked out of our school and sent off to Texas or California to live with family. As much as he drives me batshit crazy sometimes, there is work to be done. We are not finished yet.

 

My class was so much easier to deal with, though. Having a good amount more time to focus on some of my other difficult cases, though, was not received with the excitement I had when I realized I could get a bit more done with them today. No Cocaine Baby means that Lazy Baby and Too Smart Baby and “I’m a Lovable Goofball” Baby got way more attention from me.

 

They were not happy.

 

Then I found out that my old friend, Ed, died. I feel so bad for Markus, but I’m grateful he told me. I knew Ed from when I was in high school. He had his chums came to Easy Street pretty regularly back in the day and they were a super entertaining and talented bunch.

 

If you have lived in the Valley awhile, you’ve seen his artwork. I think there are stamps with his stuff on it. His work is in museums and airports, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone paint the Arizona landscape like him. It was just incredible.

 

I liked Ed a lot. He was always kind to me. When Mark couldn’t make Ed and RoseMarie’s wedding, I got to go as Mo’s date. Some of the family there just thought I was Mark. It was hilarious, but it was also great to see Ed in a different way. I love that we got to connect outside of Easy Street. This led to spending more time with Ed when I worked on a piece for a local magazine about him.

 

He talked to me like an old friend and that was so great. A few years ago, I sat down with him at his home for the last time, even though I didn’t know it then, when Mark and Mo were staying with he and RoseMarie on a trip to town. We had a glorious chat and he showed me some of the art from his personal collection.

 

I feel very privileged to have known him and wish peace to those who loved him. I will be writing more about him in the coming days for the New Times, too.

 

*****

 

After that, I was kind of in a daze for the rest of the work day until plumbing news snapped me out of it. Basically, the short version is that both of our bathrooms are fucked, and we are going to be spending money for a while to have working bathrooms again. Lucky for us, Ryan is a good and loving son and will help us as much as he can.

That put me in a bit of a tail spin for a couple hours.

 

I got out of the house, headed to Costco for dog food and a few other supplies, then met up with some old friends. It was really nice. I connected with my buddy, Alejandro, who was a good friend of mine in the fifth grade. We hadn’t really seen each other since 1983. It was great to see him and meet his wife, Diane. She seems super awesome, and we had a great conversation.

 

I also got to see my old friend, Amy, who I hadn’t seen since high school, as well as connect with several other people. It was very cool to see Rick and Debbie, too, and of course get time with my co-pilots, Rick and Justin. I love those guys. It put me in a much better mood to be able to relax and get some rest last night.

 

Can’t wait to have another day like this today.

 

***** 

 

Life is full of twists and turns. You can literally go lifetimes within your own little world without thinking about certain things. Albums, for example, come into your life and become important and then they are gone. It’s really very few that remain a constant. Most have their place then fade into different corners of your memory.

 

I was nine years old when Electric Light Orchestra put out Discovery. I was no stranger to the band at that point because they were pretty huge. My dad definitely had a few ELO records in his collection, and we listened to them a lot. I liked them a lot and still do. I have a few ELO records in my own collection now and Discovery is most certainly one of them.

 

Over time, though, my love for Discovery has not really grown. It’s easy to say I went about forty years without listening to the whole thing. In thinking about what albums have touched my life (and having the goal to write about 366 of them, stupid leap year), I chose to include Discovery in the mix, so it was time to revisit it.

 

My first impression, after all these years, is that ELO was bitten by the disco bug and not in a great way. “Shine a Little Love” is a fine song, I suppose, but the disco overtones lose me a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of disco music. I like to dance and there is an aspect to the 70s craze that hits me right in the feelers. It can take me back to certain memories and feelings pretty quickly.

 

“Confusion” is pretty darn forgettable. As a second track, it doesn’t push any buttons, but it does ring the bells of familiarity. I’m guessing I never paid much attention to it when I was in fourth grade. “Need Her Love” is a lovely little song, though, and there are all the bells and whistles (literally) that let you know it’s an ELO/Jeff Lynne gig. Beatles-lite and a little mopey, “Need Her Love” puts a smile on my face.

 

Now, my favorite track on the record is the last song on Side A. “The Diary of Horace Wimp” was my favorite song that year until “My Sharona” kicked it to the curb. It’s still my favorite ELO song. It’s not nearly their catchiest song and I’m probably in the minority here with my fellow ELO fans, but something about the song has always spoken volumes to me.

 

It’s probably the lyrics. If you are not familiar, the song has a bit of a classical meets early techno (or what I would have thought “techno” was in those days) feel. The titular character, “Horace Wimp,” is not having the best day of his life. He likes a girl and gets up the courage to meet her and ask her out. There is a bit about a “voice” speaking to Horace. He’s either crazy or has been divinely intervened upon and either way, you just know it’s not going to work out. “Don’t be afraid.”

 

I’ve always liked the chanted days of the week at the end. It just works (and if you listen, Saturday is not mentioned). Oh, Horace.

 

“Last Train to London” is straight up disco. There is a groove happening on the song, for sure. As I listen, I know I need to play it when I DJ next. Probably in between a couple of heavier post-punk songs. I definitely liked this one as a kid. Great bass line by Kelly Groucutt, too.

 

The B side is far superior to the A side on Discovery. I remember (and still do) enjoying the song “Midnight Blue” quite a bit back in the day. Lynne was really into the modulated vocal sound in those days, and it was fun to listen to as a young’un. I’m a sucker for this type of ballad. It’s a sad song and Lynne’s lyrics are just sappy enough to tug on the heart strings just enough when you combine it with his signature delivery. Goddamn he wanted to be Paul McCartney.

 

“On the Run” is a fun one. It’s super 70s sugar pop and who in my age group (and probably some of the 20 somethings) is not a sucker for a bit of saccharine in their pop music. The original album closes so strong with “Wishing” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” that you can forgive some of these more forgettable songs.

 

This album reminds me of riding around in my dad’s dark blue Camaro with the T-tops. It was quite a car. I bet he humored me by listening to this one. He probably preferred (and rightly so) some of their other work.

 

“Wishing,” though, is a really great song. The whistling in the beginning really sets you up for that beautiful chorus. If the whistling did its job, you are sucked right in. The verses have that sad tinge, but there is a layer of hope there, too. Lynne was a master at layering the vocals to create a really huge, natural chorus sound.

 

After the sweetness of “Wishing,” the last song, “Don’t Bring Me Down” sounds like the huge rock and roll number it was and is. I have to imagine “Don’t Bring Me Down” is a lot of ELO fans favorite song. It’s raucous and a lot of fun. What does he say there, “Bruuuuuce?” or is it, “Baaarrruce?” I refuse to look it up. I don’t want to spoil it.

 

Who says you can’t go home? I think you can if you put on the right record. Give it a try.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.

 


Thinking about this guy, too. Wishing him peace right now.

 

 

 

19 views1 comment

1 Comment


The Bob and I were talking about ELO a while ago. Definite closet music like for me for years, respect the heck out of them. Lot of events going on for you on this date!

Like
Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page