I can still see it now. Sitting on my friend Tammy’s bed, with dog-eased copies of Sassy magazine (oh, how I loved Sassy), YM and Seventeen (what, don’t tell me you didn’t read those as a teenager) in her basement bedroom, giggling over whatever boy crush we had at the time and planning our next adventures. The radio on in the background, it always was, and this song comes on. The first notes play and instantly we are Wilson Philips, singing in (what we thought) were perfect harmonies along with the song, pretending to be Carnie, Chyna and Wendy, with their glamorous beach and mountain backgrounds, funky outfits and hats.
“I know this pain, why do you lock yourselves up with these chains…”
I hear the song now and I am transported back to that moment in time, a time when our biggest worries were getting good grades and hanging out with our group of friends at every possible opportunity. A time when we shopped for taffeta dresses with big-ass bows and velvet edging with matching bolo jackets to wear to the big school dances. It was the early ’90’s and pop still ruled with us. Grunge hadn’t yet taken hold, and although we loved the hair metal of bands like Warrant and the pounding but catchy rock of bands like Mötley Crüe, put on some Wilson Philips and that was it. A time of innocence, before life got complicated, and a boyfriend was someone that you did no more than hold hands with and kiss on the cheek. There was no texting, no Facebook or social media. We would spend hours on phone, sometimes falling asleep and waking up still on the line, and picking up where we had last remembered leaving off. A time of sleepovers and bumming around the local lake, feeding ducks and talking about nothing and everything at the same time. A time of just being together because we wanted to be, because we had to be, because it just wasn’t quite the same if we weren’t.
We were a close group of friends, me always the youngest and a grade behind, but still as much a part of the group as anyone. We were all so different but yet so much the same, misfits and people who didn’t quite seem to fit in with everyone, but perfectly with each other. We were creative, artistic, musical, geeky, and totally awesome.
We pretty much travelled as a pack in those years. I still to this day have a fear of spiders because we watched the movie Arachnophobia together and one of the guys did something (though I can’t remember exactly what, it was traumatizing, as only teenaged boys pranks can be). We spent New Year’s Eve together, ordered pizza and made prank phone calls to people we knew. We walked around, sharing cans of pop and once, someone smuggled a can of beer and it was shared, lukewarm and nasty, between 8 teenagers who all thought they were SO cool because they had a sip (literally, a sip each) of beer. Ugh. That still makes me shudder. We log rolled down hills and split our sides watching Ren and Stimpy and singing “Happy Happy Joy Joy”. I will spare you a video of that, because chances are, it is already stuck in your head. You’re welcome. We rode the Greyhound bus into Vancouver to go to Playland, a big amusement park, at the start of every season and a few more times each year, had competitions to see who could ride each ride the most times before quitting or getting sick. As an aside, I will say that I was usually the reigning champion of riding the Zipper, a ride the both spins and turns you upside down, and managed to ride it 36 times in a row before I was too dizzy to stand up anymore. I don’t know if I could even make it through twice now, haha.
They graduated a year before me, and as high school friends do, we went our separate ways. We had some misunderstandings, as can be so rampant in highschool that could have potentially damaged our relationships, and caused us to drift a bit in the later years. After they left school, some of us stayed in touch, and would get info about the others we weren’t in touch with from those who were. Somehow, no matter how far we strayed, they were always there on the periphery of my brain, as only the people who knew you best growing up can be. All it takes, though, is for me to hear those first few notes of “Hold on” for those few minutes of the song, I am transported back, and I am 14 again.
Care to share a musical memory with me?