“I Siiiiiing The Body E-lec-tric! I celebrate the mee yet to coooooome.”
How often I sang those lines when I was a kid without even knowing what they meant. Dressed in legwarmers and cut up t-shirt, I spent many the afternoon throwing myself around my best friend’s front room with broad arabesques and high kicks as her little dogs pawed our calves. We believed we could be stars too as we belted our hearts out into brushes and tossed our hair wildly, yet meaningfully.
For a few summers, Rena’s older sister Liza was our babysitter in the period between day camp and the parents coming home. She was only about four years older but she was trusted, for those few hours, to keep us in line. It wasn’t really that hard either. Just throw some vinyl on the hi-fi and turn the volume way up. Back then there were so many musicals to choose from and we knew them all by heart. From Fiddler on the Roof to Annie, and Grease to Xanadu – we were the young divas hoping someone would hear us from the sidewalk and rush to the door to get our names for some Hollywood or Broadway producer.
In roller skates we were muses, spreading magic to believe in with our open arms. We believed in it even if you don’t. Puffing on candy cigarettes we were innocents, faking a wild side the male lead had yet to notice.
Even without a cohesive theme, we were singing at the top of our lungs (and always from the diaphragm). Billy Joel’s Glass Houses told us it was okay to be crazy. Chrissi Hynde confused us with references to the contents of her pockets, but we sang along anyway because she sounded cool and we loved to sing – loved to perform. We were daydream believers who wanted to go sailing, be lost in love, and have someone shout, “here comes my girl,” as we strutted down the block. (Watch her walk.)
The friendship with Rena ended long ago, but my love affair with music never will. My inner nightingale still sings like a chanteuse every chance she gets.