Sanctuary: A Feeling, not a Place
Frank asked us to share favorite memories this week. In honor of what would have been my dad’s 93 birthday yesterday, March 26, I am sharing memories of John Peter Wallace Friederichs, a wonderful, quiet man who loved to fish, hunt, camp, build things, create things, and learn new things. Most of all, he loved his family. I think of him always. He passed away in 1986.
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When How do you like me now?! was released in 1999, Toby Keith’s label wouldn’t promote it, saying that it might offend women. But, for me, it speaks to both men and women. Many of us have been there. As teenagers, didn’t we all hope that one day we would be able to smile and say to those foes (and friends) who tormented or teased or ignored us: How do you like me now?! Not that we had become country music stars. But that we have lived the life we wanted, moved beyond our comfort zones, and are content with who we are. The 2008 video Alright by Darius Rucker says it all.
In the 50’s and 60’s, the teen tragedy song was very popular. Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, released in 1964, was one of my favorites. I first experienced rock, soul, and pop music on a small transistor radio. When I was in my early teens, we didn’t get many FM stations where I lived. But at night, sometimes I could find a Chicago radio station on my transistor if I played with the dial. I think it was WLS-FM. I loved to stick my radio under my pillow and listen to music until they went off the air at midnight. I remember even getting the station to come in at night when we were camping at a lake where the reception was generally terrible. It was a thrill to be listening to music from almost 700 miles away.
If you want to explore the teen tragedy genre, check out this wiki list of other songs.
BJ Thomas was an American pop singer best known for his hits of the 1960s and 70s. Mighty Clouds of Joy was released in 1971. While it has religious connotations, that has nothing to do with why I love the song, not being at all religious. I went to a small high school in northwestern Minnesota. Attending sports was an important part of the high school experience. In 1972, our basketball team won the district championship and made it to the regional finals. I am a bit sketchy about which of those games this memory applies to. One of my friends’ boyfriends loaded us into his car, and we went to Grand Forks, ND, to attend a game. We were elated when the Pirates won (so probably the district tournament). On the way home from Grand Forks, ND, this song played on the car radio. I will always think of it in terms of meeting a challenge and winning, even though all we did was watch and cheer.