It's been a long time since I've written a blog post. Not much has inspired my creative writing muse lately I suppose.
I mean certainly - I have had a lot of thoughts that have brought me joy, anger, sadness, and good old righteous indignation - but nothing blog-worthy.
Then last night, in our usual after-dinner pre-tv mode of chatting and having a cocktail, we started to reminisce. This is a busy time- or I mean- it used to be and memory-wise this time is filled with dates to recount. Especially good times: fond memories of Passover tables filled with loved ones, spring tours of the Grateful Dead - indoor shows with outdoor lot festivities, the greening promise of spring, the end of the school year, and a few days ago, April 24, my friend Patti's birthday.
A particular story comes to mind - it was 1982 - we were living together in our pretty rocking apartment in Brighton Massachusetts. Let me set the scene. Patti worked in a mental health facility for developmentally disabled adults. I worked in a placement center for teens who had broken the law and had to be removed from their homes for various reasons, most stemming from inconsistent parenting (putting it mildly). This was already my second job out of college, my first a disastrous stint as the assistant director of the Hillel at Northeastern University.
Both Patti and I worked the second shift, that being a 3:00 - 11:00 pm shift at our respective jobs, and we didn't mind the hours. We both liked to sleep late, and both enjoyed keeping those same hours on our days off. This was Boston, and this was the early 80's so there wasn't a lot to do by the time we got home, but on rare occasions, we could go out, at that time. Once driving home I heard that this new band "The Cars" were playing at a converted warehouse not far from where we lived and we changed our clothes and caught a very exciting show at midnight!
That April we were excited about seeing the Grateful Dead when they played Providence, Rhode Island. Imagine our delight when the Dead appeared on SNL the night before! Since the Dead weren't playing Boston on this tour, and Providence was only an hour away, this was an easy show to get to, and we had a blast. The concert was great and we wanted more. On Monday, we made a big sign on a bed sheet in groovy Grateful Dead lettering proclaiming "I Need a Miracle!" To my knowledge, no one had come up with that before, so yes, I do take credit for that, and you are welcome.
There's a gap in my memory now, because I don't know why we didn't have work on Tuesday or Wednesday - (or did we use up sick days??) - and if Patti were still alive, obviously she'd remember a detail like this. But Tuesday morning we got in my car with our little bags packed, our banner ready and drove to Hartford for the next two shows. Hartford is only an hour and a half from where we lived so I suggested we stop in Sturbridge on our way. I think I was thinking we'd explore Old Sturbridge Village - as I am a sucker for those kinds of things, but instead we did a little shopping and each got a jean jacket. We then continued to Hartford.
|Michael and Patti in 1983 at Duke - Patti in her jean jacket.|
|Me, today, in mine. I added the fringe in about 1986. The haircut I gave myself two weeks ago.|
Back then, I had every confidence that we would get tickets for the shows, and find an affordable motel room. Patti never had that kind of optimism and felt my reckless ways would be our undoing. So first things first, we got a room. Next, of course off to the Civic Center to find tickets.
I remember parking in an indoor garage, and opening the trunk to get our banner out. No sooner had we unfurled our masterpiece - then two guys appeared out of nowhere, laden with gear. Patti backed away, but I assured her they were okay. Tapers. Our miracle happened right then - they provided us with two tickets for that night's show, if we would help them smuggle in their taping equipment. Apparently they never search girls, and if I'd just hide this deck up my skirt, and Patti put these cables in her jeans, we could have the tickets. Before Patti could say no, I was agreeing, saying it was Karma! And did they have tickets for tomorrow? (They didn't but rumor was that they were available at the box office.)
So we spent the next little while doing what Deadheads may do, hanging by the car, sharing stories and of course these guys promised us copies of the tapes. (Which, by the way, I am still waiting for...)
When it was time to go in, Patti was a wreck, and I was pretty confident, despite the discomfort of the tape deck tied to my waist. Once we got through the gates, we gave the guys their stuff and went our separate ways, they went to the taper's section, we went to the box office where, sure enough, we snagged tickets for the next night.
Little scraps of paper with setlists, ticket stubs, and that same jean jacket are the tangible remnants of that time. My memories, (dotted with holes) now written for you in this blog, are of an April holding promise, and positivity. The shows, now available on archive, are below.
A few days later we came home and celebrated Patti's birthday. I'm guessing we both went back to work, energized by our road trip and three awesome shows.
Right now as I sit in the sixth week of quarantine and the 12th week of rotten weather I remember a line that rings more true every time I hear it. "One way or another, this darkness got to give."
And just like that, the sun has come out, and it's time to get outside for a few minutes and collect some rays on my face before I go back to work. Maybe April holds a little promise for me today after all.
Click Here for Providence Civic Center 4/15/82
Click here to listen to Hartford Civic Center 4/17-82
Click here for Hartford 4/18/82