1986 - Holding Back the Years

Today's song goes out to Sarah, my best friend from childhood.  She is 13 days older than I am, and we have known each other since we were 6.  She is 29 today, and upon my request, she chose "Holding Back the Years" from the 1986 list of Billboard Hot 100 number 1's. 

So is this song about regret, or about no having any regrets?  Sometimes I like to find out what the songwriter's intention is, other times I like to make up my own interpretation based on the lyrics alone.  The online song-meaning-comment community doesn't seem to have much of a consensus (granted, these are people who have time to go online and write comments about what they thing songs are about - there but for the Grace of God and facebook go I).  In any case, the narrator in the song is looking back on his life with some sort of deep emotion. 

Again with the nostalgia.  This month's project makes me feel sort of like I'm watching a sped-up film of my life.  1986 was the year my family went to Japan for the first time, to visit my family near Tokyo where my uncle was stationed with the civil service.  My sister could not remember ever having been illiterate, because she learned to read very young, so she got a little pissed at the impenetrable Japanese language and decided to learn it.  Now she has formidable Japanese language skills, a masters in simultaneous interpretation, a career in patent translation (meaning she knows how to say "widget" and "doohickey" in Japanese), a Japanese husband, and two cute little boys their aunt doesn't get to see often enough. 

Then tomorrow, in 1987, my family will move from a tiny mining town in Arizona to Silver City, a slightly larger mining town in New Mexico, and I will meet Sarah, whose dad teacher photography and pottery at the local university and whose mother works several part-time jobs, including that of organist at the church my family chooses to attend. 

Sarah towers over me at age 6.  This is why she can - and does - tell me that my part's not straight.  I can't remember if she fixed it, or just told me it was crooked.  She has always had more style than I!

Age 12: because my hometown is so small, we drive 2 hours each way to the orthodontist.  Sarah and I usually go down together with our moms to have our braces tightened, and for the slightly less torturous activities of mall-shopping and TCBY.  Sarah and I both play wind instruments in band during the braces years; wax is an important fact of life. 

Age 18?: Don't remember exactly, but it was some summer right before or during college.  Sarah worked at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, which is 44 very hilly, very curvy miles from Silver.  I just looked at the website for the monument, and it states travel time as two hours.


Ha ha. 

Don't tell our parents how fast we used to get there. 

Well, we lived through that to age 22 - Sarah went to Argentina to do some volunteer work; I went to London for a 6-month work program.  Around the time I was having my heart broken by a classist British boy, she was falling in love with Sabino, who is now her husband (if you are a loyal reader, you have already met Sarah and Sabino at least once). 

Age 25: I make a trip to Buenos Aires for Sarah and Sabino's wedding.  Sarah and Sabino and I jam late at night - I think Sarah's little brother joined us too.  I call him my Otherbrother (even though I don't have a brother for which he could be other), and Sarah's mom and dad are my Othermother and Otherfather.  Their civil wedding (which everyone does down there) is casual and fun, and their big family wedding is beautiful.  All of us eat more meat than I ever knew existed at the asado at their wedding - Argentina: not a vegetarian's paradise - and most of us stay up all night dancing.  Bedtime is about 9 a.m., after we've taken charted buses back to the family home. 

Age 26: Sarah and Sabino finally have paperwork for Sabino to enter the United States.  They discover that the cheapest way to get to New Mexico from Argentina is actually through New York, which is a huge bonus for me. 

Age 28: I visit Sarah, Sabino, and the new addition to their family in Albuquerque.  My first opportunity to corrupt my Othernephew (I am NOT calling him my Otherson!  Don't get your hopes up, Tamara!) comes in the form of a musical mobile.

I wrote a really rough draft of some musical thoughts about "Holding..." and the past few songs, but I am out of writing time for now.  It's time for social time - I sometimes have to remind my Inner Crazy Artist Person that that's important, but clearly, from the above list of selected memories from a 23-year friendship, important it is.