When I was a kid, I had a rather strict upbringing. It was made a rule that I couldn’t listen to “secular” music, and therefore, spent most of my childhood listening to old-timey gospel songs on the AM radio. Because of this reason, I simply opted out of music, when other kids were jamming out to the latest tunes that I had never heard of.
Late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping, I would bring in my dad’s old radio from the garage into my room and listen to the same FM oldies station he would listen to in the car. I felt like such a rebel. If my mother had found out, I may as well have been caught doing drugs, blaring the devil’s music, at a goat sacrifice. Crimson & Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells came on one night, and I had truly never heard anything like it. I thought to myself, is this what my mother was trying to shelter me from? How could something so entrancing and beautiful be so evil?
When I was in about 5th grade, an important time in a young lady’s life for communication, I received a red and black telephone to put in my own room! This was massive for a kid in the early 90’s. At around 9pm or so, the DJs would take requests on the request hotline, and I mustered up the courage to hit that redial button as often as needed to be able to get through to request my song. The first song I ever requested was Crimson & Clover. I remember hearing my child-like voice echoing on the phone and radio as I waited apprehensively for their response. The radio announcer only commented that such a kid that would ever take a chance to call in past bedtime to request a song, risking their parents finding out on air, should definitely get any song they wanted played. I thanked them, and nervously hung up my little red landline phone. What if my parents did hear me?
For the next few weeks, I played it cool. I was pretty much scared out of calling in songs on the request line. Instead I just went back to listening quietly to the radio each night, and each night, before actually falling asleep, I would hear my song. I’d like to think that those DJs played that song just for me, because they knew they had scared me out of ever calling again.
To this day, I hear Crimson & Clover, and I think two things. For one, I think back to being that terrified little 5th grader, sitting in my old childhood bedroom, and wondering if my parents had heard me call into the radio show. Secondly, I laugh, because if staying up past my bedtime to listen to Crimson & Clover was such a terrible thing back then, then I’d hate to know what my parents think of my music choices now.
Lissa LaRoche is passionate about two things in her life, cooking and writing. Although most of Lissa’s writings can be found in an old Skechers shoe box from the 90’s, she has also previously written as a food columnist in the local Billings publication, Noise & Color. She is currently working on her first novel, while working full time in the trenches of the kitchen. Lissa’s dream job would be to travel, eat, and write like her former idol, Anthony Bourdain.