Remember the 80’s? I went to a lot of concerts, bought a lot of records, made a lot of friends, attended many high school functions and sporting events. I learned a lot about myself. I developed my sense of who I am and where I wanted to go in life. I learned to take risks and reap the rewards- as well as how to handle failures a little bit better. These are some of my favorite moments.
First concert: Iron Maiden/ Twisted Sister, Worcester Centrum, January 1985.
I went to the show with two of my friends that my mom and dad worked with at the State Line Auction store. We thought about going to the show weeks before the concert- so we ended up getting seats in the upper balcony nosebleed section. It didn’t matter to me. My friends were there to see Twisted Sister- who I thought were good, but they weren’t the mighty Iron Maiden. Dee Snider was having a hard time singing because of a bout with the flu- so he would run off the stage during some of the solo sections and had to rehydrate himself.
I sang every word to the entire Iron Maiden show. I lost my voice and had bells ringing in my ears for a couple of days. I bought the Powerslave tour shirt when bands would sell baseball jersey length sizes. I converted my friends from being Twisted Sister fans to Iron Maiden fans. I would see the band on 4 subsequent tours- but their stage show and ability to connect with everyone from the front row to the back was a tell tale sign they would be around for future generations to follow.
First job: Mr. Otto’s Flower shop. I was 14 at the time. I learned so much about the flower delivery business- how to interact with customers, the personalized touch, how to make arrangements, the degree of politeness necessary to make the customers feel special and that appearances go a long way. I only stayed there for 6 months before moving on to a cafeteria job at the Winchendon School, but I applied a lot of what I learned from Cliff and Keith to my philosophy with deejaying. Years later as an adult, I would get the opportunity to bowl on the same team as Keith on Monday nights before he retired from bowling. Amazing how your life can come full circle.
I also remember saving my best friend’s prom in 1988 by quickly running around to gather our equipment and getting what would could from our collections. I remember the church dances, our drive to start a teen center called the Hot Spot, the school football games, the bonfires and pep rallies, and the sense that our town was a nurturing, small town community where you really gained the chance to know everyone.
I thank the people who challenged my shy ways, who encouraged me to step outside of the boundaries I set for myself and become a better person as a result. I hope I have been able to give you that same level of courage, friendship and insight that you’ve given to me. We can each come from different backgrounds and different worlds and still find some level of common ground.
It’s good sometimes to reflect on our time growing up, see where we are today and champion our accomplishments.