NPR is doing a feature on All Songs Considered asking people to write about memories of their parent's music so I thought I'd give it a shot.
I remember going to my first official school dance in the 7th grade. There were no decorations or themes. No punch bowls or dates. It was held in the gym with just dim lights and a DJ.
I was the oldest of three and all I really knew at the time was my parent's music. It also happened to be the same time I was starting to realize that maybe that wasn't something to be proud of. As in, it wasn’t “cool.”
I had a vague understanding of who Nirvana was, I pretended to mouth along the lyrics to Ace of Base, but what I really knew was Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison.
I was faking my way through my first school dance when the DJ decided to play Brown Eyed Girl. It was as if a weight had been lifted off of my flannel clad soul. I knew this song! I looked around and it seemed like everyone knew this song, and I remember wondering if everyone else had been faking their way through knowing "our" music too.
Before I knew it, I was on the dance floor with my friends "la-te-da-ing" with the rest of them. And although I was in the middle of having one of my first very parent-free moments of adolescence, it was like my parents were right there with me, not trying to embarrass me, just casually letting me know how cool they actually were.
Later in high school I discovered the poetic masterpiece that is Astral Weeks and stole my mom's thread bare Van Morrison concert t-shirt from 1985 to try and be "indie" in suburban New Jersey. Van very much became my music, but I will always associate him with my parents. Whether it be twirling around to Into the Mystic in our home movies or as the soundtrack to long car rides, I'll always remember when we used to sing,
Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da.