Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

My Junior High High

James Taylor was the soundtrack for my adolescence. I would sit in the living room and play his records over and over on our big console while I tried to imagine what anyone would ever see in me. There was no other music player in the house. We all shared the stereo. We all had to listen to the same music. My children are unable to comprehend this. "What about a Walkman?" they ask.

Before Ben Hashimoto introduced me to "Mudslide Slim" and "Sweet Baby James" and "Steam Roller" ("a churning urn of burning funk"), I knew only musicals and Frank Sinatra. I was the oldest kid in my family, and I had no close, older cousins to introduce me to the latest hits. In sixth grade, when I heard "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" on the bus, I thought that was rock and roll. The Monkees and the Irish Rovers were the only other bands that I knew of (and I liked the Rovers mostly because of their accents). My second cousin saw Help four times, which my mother thought ridiculous, and so I was never allowed to know much about the Beatles until I learned about them myself later in high school.

But James Taylor was my junior high high; the closest I could get to an altered state. I would sit and write and cry and listen for hours. I had such a crush on Ben in seventh grade that it lasted until eighth grade. I was 12 in 1970, and the country was at war then too. I used to listen to "Fire and Rain" and despair that Ben would never fall for me. And he didn't. He dated my two best girlfriends, both blondes. I, a brunette, felt so alone. But alone isn't so bad with James Taylor. (Although when James Taylor and Carly Simon divorced two years later, I thought, "What hope is there for romance?")

I even got James Taylor sheet music for the piano and whenever I felt sad, I used to play "Blossom" or "Carolina In My Mind." ("Hey, babe, the sky's on fire, I'm dying, ain't I? I'm gone to Carolina in my mind." I think of one James Taylor lyric and the whole song comes flooding back to me -- why do we equate memory retrieval with natural disasters?)

I put a book cover on my James Taylor book to protect it, and I loaned the book to Ben because I loved him and longed for any connection between us. He was rougher with my book than I would have expected. When I got it back, the book cover was a bit tattered, and the bottom corner of the book cover was ripped off so that you could see the book underneath. My mother took one look at it and said, "That's a breast."

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

She pointed to the exposed bottom right corner. It did look kind of like a breast. I took the cover off and realized that it was James Taylor's elbow.

She said, "They do that. They put stuff like that on covers to sell records; it's disgusting." She was disparaging of James Taylor after that. She also implied that Ben was in on this ruse and had purposely ripped the cover to highlight the indignity.

I went into the bathroom and took a good look at the cover picture. Then I looked at my own bent elbow in the mirror, cupping my other hand around the point of my elbow to see what it looked like. And it looked like a breast. I wasn't sure, but I didn't think it was James Taylor or Ben who was responsible here. Perhaps evolution made the body more sexual than we know. And it took my mother to see it.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

What Beethoven's Fifth is not

An answer to vox.com

James Taylor was the soundtrack for my adolescence. I would sit in the living room and play his records over and over on our big console while I tried to imagine what anyone would ever see in me. There was no other music player in the house. We all shared the stereo. We all had to listen to the same music. My children are unable to comprehend this. "What about a Walkman?" they ask.

Before Ben Hashimoto introduced me to "Mudslide Slim" and "Sweet Baby James" and "Steam Roller" ("a churning urn of burning funk"), I knew only musicals and Frank Sinatra. I was the oldest kid in my family, and I had no close, older cousins to introduce me to the latest hits. In sixth grade, when I heard "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" on the bus, I thought that was rock and roll. The Monkees and the Irish Rovers were the only other bands that I knew of (and I liked the Rovers mostly because of their accents). My second cousin saw Help four times, which my mother thought ridiculous, and so I was never allowed to know much about the Beatles until I learned about them myself later in high school.

But James Taylor was my junior high high; the closest I could get to an altered state. I would sit and write and cry and listen for hours. I had such a crush on Ben in seventh grade that it lasted until eighth grade. I was 12 in 1970, and the country was at war then too. I used to listen to "Fire and Rain" and despair that Ben would never fall for me. And he didn't. He dated my two best girlfriends, both blondes. I, a brunette, felt so alone. But alone isn't so bad with James Taylor. (Although when James Taylor and Carly Simon divorced two years later, I thought, "What hope is there for romance?")

I even got James Taylor sheet music for the piano and whenever I felt sad, I used to play "Blossom" or "Carolina In My Mind." ("Hey, babe, the sky's on fire, I'm dying, ain't I? I'm gone to Carolina in my mind." I think of one James Taylor lyric and the whole song comes flooding back to me -- why do we equate memory retrieval with natural disasters?)

I put a book cover on my James Taylor book to protect it, and I loaned the book to Ben because I loved him and longed for any connection between us. He was rougher with my book than I would have expected. When I got it back, the book cover was a bit tattered, and the bottom corner of the book cover was ripped off so that you could see the book underneath. My mother took one look at it and said, "That's a breast."

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

She pointed to the exposed bottom right corner. It did look kind of like a breast. I took the cover off and realized that it was James Taylor's elbow.

She said, "They do that. They put stuff like that on covers to sell records; it's disgusting." She was disparaging of James Taylor after that. She also implied that Ben was in on this ruse and had purposely ripped the cover to highlight the indignity.

I went into the bathroom and took a good look at the cover picture. Then I looked at my own bent elbow in the mirror, cupping my other hand around the point of my elbow to see what it looked like. And it looked like a breast. I wasn't sure, but I didn't think it was James Taylor or Ben who was responsible here. Perhaps evolution made the body more sexual than we know. And it took my mother to see it.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Finding a different world inside Samarkand Uzbek Café

Don’t miss this overachieving tent restaurant tucked away in a City Heights parking lot
Next Article

Jerry Andrews preaches the beauty of the savior

“Don’t doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close