Photo: Warren Starkebaum
This weekend -- I think it's this weekend -- is the 35th reunion of the Fitchburg High School Class of 1972. I took a pass on this one, as I have with all of them since the 5-year reunion, which -- and you have to remember we were kind of a "slow" class -- we held 6 years after we graduated.
I had a great time in high school, or at least the junior and senior years. I wasn't flunking, I played on the hockey team (sort of), I had a girlfriend (my first true love), I had a job, and my mother let me have the car whenever I wanted it, which was always. OK, I never actually asked, I just took it... which I'm sure had something to do with the fact that I bought both of my kids cars when they got their driver's licenses; I didn't want to walk out the door and wonder where my car went.
1972 was a wonderful time. The music was still good, disco hadn't been invented yet, and if you closed your eyes real tight, you could almost make yourself believe that Richard Nixon really wasn't president and Vietnam wasn't really a war.
So it was fitting tonight that we spent the evening at Big Top Chautuaqua in Bayfield, Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Superior, not far from the Michigan border, listening the group, America.
Now, I know what you're saying, "America? Are they still around?" They are, and while at first blush you think "A Horse with No Name" (really, one of the dumbest songs ever), the more you think about it -- the more you listen -- you realize how bit a part the group was of the soundtrack of 1972.
I don't go to many concerts so I'm easily impressed anyway, but not having any talent where musical instruments are concerned, I'm always amazed that the notes and sounds and songs that I listened to on the radio growing up, the songs that still take me back to the place I was when I first heard them (it was almost always on a date, I think, with Kathie Morse) actually came out of these instruments and these people.
It was another one of those "boy, I never saw that coming" moments. Growing up in Massachusetts, singing along with the songs of America, I never thought that 35 years later, I'd be sitting in the second row of a big tent at the base of a ski area in Bayfield, Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Superior, listening to America sing songs.
Life can be surprisingly and consistently symmetrical.
Note: The show as recorded for broadcast on the Public Radio show Tent Show Radio. Find a station and broadcat time here.
3 days ago