I have nearly 3,000 songs on my iPod, and the Little River Band’s Reminiscing shuffled into rotation today for the first time in over a year. It was oddly suspicious timing considering where I am on my life journey because music carries such strong memories for me.
Hearing this song took me back to my ninth grade Homecoming Dance in 1978, where I spent the evening dancing with a petite brunette, a seventh grader, I had taken as my date.
We had such crushes on each other and hung out together nearly every school day in the fall of that year. There were no real dates. No movies. Just talking at lunch and sometimes after school.
The innocence of the times made the Homecoming Dance a magical place for an awkward ninth grade boy and a girl at her junior high school dance. We danced all evening, doe-eyed and love-struck, sticking together on the song breaks while we drank punch.
Ten o’ clock came too quickly. The music stopped, and the dance was over. The dancers filed out of the gym and to the front of the school where everyone waited in line, while, one-by-one, parents pulled up to take their children home. My mom arrived in the family station wagon, and we climbed into the back seat. We held hands as we rode silently to her house. I caught mom glancing in the rear-view mirror from time to time.
We never kissed. I was too nervous.
The holiday break came soon after and we didn’t see each other for two weeks. When we returned to school, it just wasn’t the same. The Homecoming Dance became our only evening together, and this one song captured a memory of a moment in time better than any picture ever would.
I think memories are much better than pictures.
While over time our memories may fade, they become what we need them to be and not always a crystal-clear or true snapshot of what once happened. I sometimes believe this is better when it comes to matters of our heart. The reality of the truth is often too painful for us to relive. We need these softened memories to allow us to reminisce and dream about what could be again. Too much clarity prevents us from even trying.
Here’s to you, my dear friend, wherever you are. If you remember this one night so long ago, I hope you have good memories, too. I think of you every time I hear this song, and it reminds me of sweetness and innocence, now forever lost.
Reminiscing was originally written December 16, 2010.