Note: From October 12th – 20th posts here will be new but pre-written due to my camping in the mountains of North Carolina where Internet connections are not always available or fast. Thanks for reading!
Have you ever had certain songs remind you of people or a time in your life because, for whatever reason, the song is so closely associated with that person and/or time?
Ok, maybe I’m the only weirdo, just indulge me.
When I was driving around Iowa I had a lot of opportunities to listen to oldies stations on the radio (it seems like every city has such a station, which is great) and I found myself thinking back to times and people in my past that I associate with certain songs.
In 1970 I was 15 and in the 9th grade when “Close To You” by The Carpenters came out and it always made me think of Lynn Palmer from the very first time I heard it. I first met Lynn in band practice over the summer between 6th and 7th grades, but didn’t develop a crush on her until the end of 8th grade, that summer during band practice sessions and the year I was in 9th grade. Lynn played the bassoon and sat directly in front of me, so she contributed to my slow decline from first chair trombone to last (which ironically put me right next to Phyllis McCormick, who was first chair French Horn) because I was spending time flirting with Lynn instead of performing up to my potential.
Lynn had the kind of smile (even when her teeth were covered by braces) and attitude that just drew people to her. She was a genuinely nice person. She never seemed to be involved in the “catty” type behaviors that the other girls indulged in, and I always thought of her as being more mature than most of them were, in the way she carried herself and interacted with others. When “Close to You” came out, it seemed like a song written for and about Lynn, with the gender references changed to male.
Like Phyllis, I never saw Lynn after 9th grade, though we did talk on the phone over the summer between junior and senior high school. After that, we lost contact when I moved from Hialeah to South Miami.
Somewhere at home in an album I think I still have a Polaroid of her, another girl and our mutual friend (and her fellow bassoonist) Ray Thompson that I took of them on our last day of junior high school. But when I hear “Close to You” a memory of Lynn turning around to smile at me from her seat in the band is clearer than any picture.
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