A Mid-summer Memory

October 10, 2005    By: Kristen J @ 11:58 pm   Category: Life,Rock 'n' Roll

It’s late, I’m hunkered down in my studio/closet making jewelry and listening to music on my computer. Normally I listen on headphones but tonight something makes me let the music flow freely out into the night air.

I really should be in bed but this is the only time of day that is just for me. A time where I can concentrate on my creations pretending they aren’t inconsequential or mediocre. I wouldn’t give up on my art even if it was silly to most eyes.

I’m working on something with stars and blue and very little structure, letting my fingers do what they will while my mind just observes. Suddenly the computer plays a song that makes my heart and breath catch all at once. My mind travels back to a summer a long time ago…

My family had just arrived in Provo, Utah at the foot of the mountains just below the big white Y. We went there every single summer to visit my grandparents. To my parents it was a necessary evil, a chance to pay the minimum homage to their parents where the relationship was strained, to put it mildly. To me it was a chance to go on vacation. It wasn’t an exotic and far away place, but to a “not so well off” kid like me it was enough.

In past summers we had dried out and baked in the hot sun while chasing our margarine tub boats down the gutters where the water raced by. We had been warned to never put finger or toe in the water because a boy from the distant past had once been caught and carried down to the pipes below where he had met his watery end. Somehow this made our game more exciting and challenging.

If we stayed during the 4th of July we were guaranteed a fabulous and fiery show that went late into the night. I will never forget Donny Osmond flying into the “Cougar Stadium of Fire” standing on the ski of a helicopter and singing “We’re Coming to America”. I was one proud American that night.

This summer was a little different. I wasn’t sure the margarine boats were going to work for me this year. I was a girl just on the verge of bigger and better things. I sensed that there was a big wide world out there and it was waiting for me. Besides, my grandpa made pancakes every single morning for breakfast and I hated pancakes!

My sister, brother, and I headed down to the basement to get settled in our rooms. My youngest sister stayed upstairs closer to my parents and my oldest sister was almost a grown woman with a life of her own. I think she was attending camps at BYU that summer. My sister plopped down in front of the tv, turned it on, and started flipping through the channels.

Suddenly she called back to us, “Hey you guys, come check this out!” My brother and I popped our heads out of our rooms and saw a wondrous sight indeed. It was a channel that played nothing but rock and roll…while the bands played and danced around. It was MTV and it was brand new!

My siblings and I spent that entire summer vacation in front of the tv. We got to know Martha, Adam, and Marc while watching our favorite bands as we danced and sang along with them. My parents didn’t check on us much, I think they were relieved that we weren’t adding any more stress to an already strained situation. If they only knew what evils were romancing us that summer!

My favorite song of the week was the same song that sent me down memory lane tonight. A silly, poppy song called “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. It was a song about change and nostalgia, just perfect for a girl dancing closer and closer to womanhood with every passing summer.


  1. I remember when that song came out and I remember the video, too. The band The Presidents of the United States covered it. The Buggles original has huge nostalgic qualities and it really brought forward a lot of the era of “New Wave”. What fun!

    Comment by meems — October 11, 2005 @ 3:54 am

  2. I remember well when MTV came out. Our cable company didn’t carry it. We watched other late-night video shows instead, like Night Flight. My friend who lived across the valley had it, though, and she’d tell me about videos like “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics. She thought it was crazy but cool. I just thought it was cool.

    Comment by Susan M — October 11, 2005 @ 7:53 am

  3. Meems- I’ve never heard the Presidents version of that song, I’ll have to check it out.

    Susan-Wow, talk about nostalgia! We didn’t get mtv at my house either (just grandma’s) but I remember late on Friday nights watching music video count down programs too. I totally forgot about those.

    Comment by Kristen J — October 11, 2005 @ 8:04 am

  4. I think I made my first trip out to Utah one summer in the in the early eighties… did you see me? (chubby kid with a Dutch-boy looking haircut…)

    Comment by Geoff J — October 11, 2005 @ 9:25 am

  5. MTV came to the rest of the world while our sleepy little community slept the slumber of the dead or at least the soon to be! Our daughters were in elementary and middle school. We began a campaign to get our MTV. It took about two years before we joined the rest of America and we haven’t looked back. The girls even did a news show for MTV about our town. They interviewed Sony Bono and did all kinds of work for it. The audio portion of the tape was chopped up really badly due to a mic that wasn’t working correctly. So as far as thier piece got was being part of the promo for the show itself.

    Our community has changed, as well as the girls have grown. I tune into what is now MTV and don’t recognize it at all anymore. Where’s the music? There are too many commercials and way too much talking. Sigh.

    Comment by chronicler — October 11, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

  6. You can dance if you want to, you can leave your friends behind . . . Fun/interesting memory, Kris. Thanks for the short journey back in time.

    Comment by Linskey — October 11, 2005 @ 6:15 pm

  7. Nice to see you here at the thang, linskey, it’s about time!

    Chronicler-mtv is so sad now! hardly any videos

    Comment by Kristen J — October 11, 2005 @ 6:35 pm

  8. Wow, both versions on your Radio Blog. How neat!!! And the Specials too. Very nice…

    Comment by meems — October 13, 2005 @ 6:53 am