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More memories from the block, circa 1970's

I was just in the car on my way home listening to the radio and they were playing "Spinning Wheel" by Blood, Sweat and Tears and I REMEMBERED ... I REMEMBERED WHAT IT SOUNDED LIKE ... MUSIC .... REAL MUSIC ... brass sections, rhythm sections, lyrics, MUSIC MUSIC, not the computer generated crap that goes for music today with the negative, hateful, misogynistic lyrics. Let's go back shall we ... to the 1970's when music was real. Remember Chicago? Especially early Chicago ... the "Color My World" Chicago, the "Beginnings" Chicago, these guys were REAL musicians. They wrote the music and the lyrics. Tower of Power's horn section was, and is, legendary.  Earth, Wind & Fire, another legendary group, especially EARLY, Earth Wind & Fire ... anyone remember "Feelin Blue?" OMG, this song always gets to me and you never hear it on the radio ... another favorite "Outside Woman" by Bloodstone. Ay yi yi, talk about S E X Y ... Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes - the entire 1970's was a feast for the ears. Music that moved and grooved and was super romantic. Today there is nothing that compares to that era. I know that each generation believes theirs is the best, but I'M SORRY ... the 1970's were AMAZING. I remember seeing David Bowie on my 18th birthday at the Forum in L.A. I remember seeing Chicago at the Anaheim Convention Center and absolutely falling in love with trombone player Jimmy Pankow - WHAT A FOX! (fifth guy from the left with with the beard) every 16 year old girls fantasy.

When I remember these amazing groups I can't help but go back to Manzanar Avenue. I'm 14 all over again, hanging on the block with my best friend Denise. All the kids on that block will forever have a special place in my heart. Richard Monroy had the best collection of records EVER and it is because of him that these songs resonate in my memory for he was the one who played the music from his garage 24/7 and provided me with the entire backdrop of my teenage life. I remember he had a real talent for hooking up speakers and stuff like that. Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amor" will always remind me of Gerry Santana and Elaine Phillips ... sitting in Gerry's front yard with their new shag haircuts, they were the cool girls on the block, older than me and out of my league socially but everything I wanted to be as a teenage girl ... POPULAR!

My cousin Danny was GOD to me. Three years older than myself, he was really cool and had lots and lots of really cute friends (which, if you're the younger cousin of a cool, older cousin who is of the opposite sex and just happens to live next door, well this is like hitting the jackpot if you're a dorky 14 year old) Danny drove a lowered gold Camaro with Cragers and a color bar LOL! ... for those of you who don't know, a color bar was a contraption that you could hook up under the glove compartment and it flashed colors and shit ... I think it was supposed to be a "turn on" to chicks LOL!! More than anything on earth I wanted to hang out with Danny. I hoped and prayed that some of his coolness would rub off on me and make me the kind of chick that his friends would wanna hang out with (if you know what I mean) I wanted so much to be cool and good looking instead of being who I really was at that time, a dorky little pest. Whenever I hear Earth Wind & Fire's "Feelin' Blue" I remember Danny's friend Rod playing this song for me over and over again on the 8 track of his lowered Riviera ... so sweet to do that for me ... being just a nerdy little girl at the time.

I have so many memories of that time; hiding behind the curtains in my mother's bedroom to watch Danny and all his friends collect on his front yard on a summer afternoon with their low riders parked every which way and the music blaring and wishing more than anything on earth that I could be over there too, hanging out with all those cool, cute guys.

I remember having a HUGE crush on Danny's friend Frank Moreno (aka The Coolest Guy in the Universe) ... Years and years later I would actually be corrupted by Frank ... he got me high for the first time in my life. We sat in his low rider and he handed me a roach with a clip. I wasn't sure how to hit this thing, but hit it I did ... I was 23! Believe me, getting high for the first time at 23 was OLD in my neighborhood!

These songs from the 70's bring forth all the bittersweet memories of my youth. The secret crush on a special guy, the longing for that first kiss and the awkward, bewildering navigation through teen aged angst. I remember the beautiful pain of it all. At 14, I truly was an innocent and I look back on it with a full heart because there aren't too many innocent 14 year old girls anymore. And that is so very sad to me. I remember what it was like to be an awkward 14 year old girl riding my 10 speed all over P.R. with Denise and cruising Bobby Valencia's house, the neighborhood bad boy/heartthrob. Me and Denise at the carnival in the parking lot of Shopping Bag Supermarket, riding the Scrambler and laughing until I peed in my pants when she swallowed a bug and started gagging. We knew nothing of sex other than the magical imaginings of what it would feel like to have a real live kiss, this was the ULTIMATE, considering that neither of us had had this experience yet. I think back now and it was a beautiful time, though I wouldn't want to live it over, well, maybe some of it ... I loved growing up and going from a nerdy, skinny girl and metamorphosing into a young, pretty girl. I started to notice that Danny's friends, and other guys, were looking at me "differently" .... mhmmmmm, I think I like this! I liked the way the opposite sex started treating me. I loved the protection with which my older male cousins, especially Danny, showed for me even though at times it really put a cramp in my social life, but I now know that he was truly watching out for me. He once told me that we were at a dance and he saw a guy talking to me that he didn't like so he asked another friend of his to go ask me to dance to distract the other guy away from me. I never knew this until recently ... What a guy ... REALLY. So thank you my cousin for always taking care of me.

When, I FINALLY did get married, years and years and years later (LOL), I was waiting on the staircase inside the church in my gown and veil ... no one had seen me yet, and Danny wanted to take some film so he came up the steps and I'll never forget it ... he shook his head and looked down, then looked up at me and said "YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL!!!!" And my heart melted ... I was a beautiful bride ... cause Danny said so. And at that moment, I BELIEVED IT because Danny, my big, older cousin, who I'd always had a little crush on ... said it was true and it meant the world to me. I was now ... very grown up and even though I took this walk rather late in life, I felt young and beautiful and ready to take this big step and walk down the aisle ... I looked over at my father and said "come on Daddy ... let's do this!"

There is nothing sweeter than revisiting your youth when you're far, far away from the pain and misery of it all and you can remember only the fun times, the magical moments and the beautiful memories that were were made with people that were family, neighbors and friends. There are moments I would love to relive ... and I do, if only in my mind. That is the beautiful thing about memories ... you can go back there whenever you want to, spend a little time there and relish every sweet, magical second.


  1. Deb, I love this blog and you are so right on all counts. JC and I often talk about the music of the 70's. It was so good then. I always wonder if it's because it's "our" music or because it was so good. Whatever the answer might be, it is feel good music. It has a way of taking you back to those memories of youth and innocence. Like they say, once it's gone, you can't get it back.

    Love ya.

  2. Hi Debbie, you are sooo right on about the music of the 70's (love it all), there will truly never be music like that again. I called Dan to tell him about your post. He is anxious to read it. It was great I know he will love it. Keep up the good writings, we enjoy them all.

  3. I think the older we get the more we try to remember. The 70's were great in every way but especially the's kinda the foundation of my life in sing songy kinda way. When I hear "Color my world" by Chicago, I think of my first kiss at a dance at the ranch, when I hear "Where comes the sun" by George Harrison, I think of Bedgie cuz she used to do a little dance to it and when I hear "Purple Haze", by Hendrix, I think of diane jumping over a fence....don't
    ahhhh....good times!!!

  4. Hi Debbie!

    What brought you over my way? Thank you for coming by! Sometimes I think my blog is to "out there" for most people, but I guess there are enough of us dreamers! How have you been? Yes, the music of both the 60s when it all started with the Beatles and the early seventies is great. I don't even keep up with who is who on the scene now....I guess is really does happen to you when you get older....

    Have a great Thanksgiving! Anita

  5. Debbie,
    I really loved this blog. I could hear the music you were talking about as it left a huge impression on me as well. I loved (and still do) early Chicago. How about: "War, huh, good God ya'll, what is is good for..."? Santana's Black Magic Woman. James Taylor, You've Got a Friend. One of my favorite songs of the 70s was Roberta Flack, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Remember Janis Ian? Now I won't be satisfied till I download a busload of this stuff.

    I never had a low-rider, but Oh, did you awaken my memory of "lowered" Camaros with "Cragers" and "color bars" that "flashed colors and shit" (have to admit, that line was beautiful).

    And I totally relate to the feelings of being awkward and feeling definitely not cool as a kid, and then later actually becoming someone others wanted to hang out with. The irony is that some of the "coolest" and baddest boys I knew (and even feared) when I was in high school never did much after that. And yet at that age you think nothing will ever be more important than high school. I've long since realized that (other than the good memories I can now afford to talk about) most of high school was about the least important thing I would do in life.

    Sorry. I didn't mean to drone on, but you really sparked my memory here.


  6. Those were the days! I remember them vividly...sigh....if only we could go back, and take the experience and insight we have now with us. I'm with you all the way on the music sister, there will never be a '70's again! We had it all! Luv ya, Corinne


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