Monday, May 12, 2008

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

I hope that everyone had a pleasant Mother's Day. I sent my Mom a nice plant, and had a nice phone conversation with her. It's still kind of melancholy around here, especially because I had to work today and Evan was at home by himself. I know he misses his Mom a lot, but he doesn't show a lot of his feelings. I suppose that's to be expected from a teenager, but I do my best to make sure he knows that I'm accessible.

It really wasn't that bad of a day or weekend. The Art & Jazz Festival was a nice diversion on Friday and Saturday evening. It's nice to be able to walk there, and last night the sounds of Hazel Miller and her band drifted up 4th Street into my neighborhood, giving the late evening an enjoyable ambiance.

The Sentinel had an interesting group of features today on High School graduations. One that particularly interested me was a story about graduation songs, good, bad, and otherwise. The title of this post popped into my head when I was thinking of potential song titles. It's a Monkees tune, and before you cringe (a lot of us remember their 'performance' at Country Jam a few years back), remember that for a band created exclusively for a TV show they actually had some really good songs.

I don't know what the class song choices were in the 60's around here, but the title and lyric to this song might have warranted consideration by some GJHS kids during that time:

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Mothers complain about how hard life is
And the kids just don't understand

Creature comfort goals
They only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see
My thoughts all seem to stray, to places far away
I need a change of scenery
Whether or not a song like that would have passed muster with the powers that be remains to be seen (I can hear that conversation now; "Well, it's better than 'Purple Haze'), that's part of the fun of doing something like that. It's all part of the last great act of defiance against The Man - right up there with beach balls, shorts and tank tops underneath your gown, and throwing the caps at the end.

I really don't remember whether or not my graduating class had a 'class song' or not. I asked Leslie about it on the phone tonight (she graduated 3 years after I did), and she said that she couldn't remember any of that stuff about high school. She had too many other things to do.

While so many of us cling to high school memories, some of us just saw it as a stepping stone to something else entirely. I have to admire both approaches as a part of the path we're all headed down. The different paths that we take, the very existence of them, are part of what defines us as human beings and citizens of this great but deeply flawed country.

2008 Graduates, hold on to the good memories of these years as long as you can. As Simon and Garfunkel said best, "Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you".

My 30-year class reunion is coming up in October. I'm still debating on whether or not to go. I had a few close friends there, but not many, at least not until after high school. Today I thought about what a good class song would have been, taking into account what I know after 30 years in 'the real world', and what I remember about that time of my life.

I was surprised to come up with one rather easily, without racking my brain too badly. It was released in 1977, during the autumn and winter of my senior year. I heard it on the radio a couple of days ago, and it immediately brought back both the joyous and bittersweet memories of that time, along with the hope, uncertainty, successes, and failures of the true formative years that lay in wait after the last diploma has been handed out.

Song lyrics | The Pretender lyrics

Hug your high school student if you've got one, and enjoy the week ahead.

No comments: