Friday, September 12, 2008

A Very Sweet Story About a Reunion

When I was a freshman in college in the late 70s, I answered an ad on the bulletin board in the music department for a songwriter to put music to poetry. I called and met the young woman who was also a freshman and majoring in journalism. (The story continues below)

She wanted me to write some music to her poetry and we started in on the project, convinced we were on our way to being hit songwriters. She was also president of Helen Reddy’s fan club, so we were convinced that we had an ‘in’ on The Industry.

We were both newbies in the “coming out” process and quickly became close friends. We also wrote a really horrible song about it:

“Sit back, relax, take you shoes off for a while
Make yourself as comfy as you can
I want you to know just exactly how I feel
I want you to see me as I am. . .”

Okay, I’ll stop. I told you it was horrible.

Anyway, our friendship survived the Horrible Song and we became ‘soulmates’ which was a very late-70s sort of thing to do. She met my family, we went out to lesbian bars together and she tried to get me to like Helen Reddy. (I feigned some admiration).

Anyway, over the summer of ‘79, Eileen went to Alaska to visit her brother and didn’t return for the Fall semester. She ended up transferring to the university up there and we lost touch somehow.

I had heard that she enrolled in the University of Alaska which I assumed was in Anchorage. I tried hunting her down there to no avail.

Then, one night as I was delivering pizza for Domino’s in my little-bitty 1976 Honda Civic, I just happened to be listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 radio program.

Remember that program?

During that weekly program, he always did this segment where one person would give a long-distance dedication to another. Kasem would relay the story about how they met, how they moved apart and then he’d announce, “So this dedication is from so-and-so to so-and-so” . . . and he’d play the song that so-and-so dedicated to so-and-so.”

You know where this is headed, right?

I was driving around campus in my little-bitty car, dressed in my dorky polyester Domino’s shirt and baseball cap when Kasem began to relay a pretty familiar story. . . . I was a little stunned; downshifted into second gear, and pulled over.

I remember it so well. It was raining really hard that night and I had a backseat full of pizza. He said, “. . . So this is from Eileen in Fairbanks Alaska to Buck in San Marcos Texas.

The song that was dedicated was Helen Reddy’s You and Me Against the World. It was right then that I knew it was my Eileen.

What was better was that Kasem mentioned that Eileen was in Fairbanks, (not Anchorage). I got on the phone that night and found her dorm on campus way up there in Fairbanks.

She was so surprised to hear from me because the radio show was always broadcast a week later in Alaska and didn’t even know it had already run in the “lower 48”.

We made our connection because of that radio show. We’re still in touch to this day. She moved back to Texas and we became roommates in a really crappy apartment during our senior year. Whenever we visit, we often talk about that night we were reunited on national radio.

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At 8:42 PM , Blogger Breenlantern said...

this post is similar, but different...then the one you posted but have some splainin' to do. (it's a sweet story none the less)

At 11:10 PM , Blogger Barb said...

What a great story. I've only had a song dedicated to me once ~ it was from an ex boyfriend and I still hate the song to this day!

At 11:36 PM , Blogger Citymouse said...

that is the sweetest thing I have ever heard. I often dream that Chrisy Blumenthal will find me -- or maybe Keith with the cats... yep.. I am a sucker for this type of stuff.

At 12:47 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Dooder, I never heard this story before!

Wow, I remember always wishing that I'd be the "dedicat-ee" of one of those songs...I can't believe you actually were!

How fun! :)


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