Saturday, November 29, 2008

They Reminisce Over You....

As I sat back down on the futon in my dimly lit paramedic office in Lower Chichester a few days ago, I came across a movie playing on the TV that instantly took me to another, simpler place and time. Double K was busy sucking face with Rae Dawn Chong and impressing Kool Herc with the way he controlled the crowd at the 'Burning Spear.' Lee's windmill game was on point and it was the first time I'd ever actually saw what Doug E. Fresh actually looked like.

'Beat Street' was on and suddenly, if just for a moment, everything was alirght in the world.

I leaned back, took my boots off and felt the familiar pang of nostalgia that always hits me when winter hits around here. I guess that everybody has a story about how it used to be back in the day around their way, but man, wintertime in Philly back in the day was the shit. I remember:
  • Snow. I mean actual snowstorms-not just bone chilling, icy winds that are no fun and don't cause school closings (Real-talk; Connie Clayton wasn't closing school for us at all anyway so I don't know why I'm even bothering to mention this.)

  • Peanuts/Charlie Brown/ABC holiday specials. I don't care how old I am, THIS SHIT STILL MAKES ME FEEL GOOD. 'The Great Pumpkin,' A Charlie Brown Christmas,' 'Frosty the Snowman,' the one about the elf who wanted to be a dentist, etc. are effing classics that I will watch EVERY TIME THEY COME ON TV. Period. All I have to do is hear the 'Peanuts Theme' and I find it utterly impossible to frown about anything. Fuck being hard; holiday specials rule.

(Note: If you don't feel the same way about holiday specials as I, then you truly have no soul and there's no help for you. Locate your nearest expressway and play 'Frogger' in it. Word.)

  • Looking through the Sunday Inquirer for toy store circular in search of what I wanted for Christmas / Christmas ads on TV. The names of the stores come back so easily: Lionel Kiddie City, Toys-R-Us, Kay-bee Toy and hobby,etc. I used to look at the circulars for hours dreaming of what to ask for that year. Even stores like Radio Shack with all their 'Tandy' and 'Realistic' knockoffs held my attention every Sunday afternoon from Black Friday until Christmas Eve. I never got everything I wanted (Effing Reaganomics) but I felt blessed to have always gotten something-and it was all to the good.

Above: Fiscal policies jacked up Christmas from 1981-1989.

  • 80's Winter B-boy culture. Bomber jackets with the fur hood. Kangols. Linoleum floor pieces/cardboard boxes. Lee's. ('two-tone' or not) Massive, brand new radios blasting rap music on Christmas morning. 'Christmas in Hollis' by Run DMC or 'Christmas Rap' by Kurtis Blow. Fake rabbit-fur hats with the tail in the back. I remember inheriting my cousin Biz' old 'pleather' bomber jacket with the fur hood AND the additional gaping hole in the side. I could care less about that damn hole-I wore that shit into Leeds Middle School the next day like 'What!' It beat the hell out of the long, beige winter coat my parents bought me; if only from a style perspective. It resembled the coat Edward Woodward wore on a tv show that he was on back then called 'The Equalizer' and I got tired of my friends asking me why I kept wearing my 'Equalizer'coat day in and day out.

Above: Not a good look for ya boy back at Leeds Middle School.

I fell back to sleep while watching the movie (as I always do on EVERY movie) but it had served its purpose for me. To have a look back and to hold on to something good and real in these troubled times where Christmas is shortened to 'Xmas' (trying to take Christ out of 'Christmas') and where murder and mayhem never takes a snow day. Feel free to stop by and share your memories if you get a chance. God Bless. Fiat Lux.

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