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Memories Don't Die

“Have you seen my childhood?”

So goes the first line of the Michael Jackson song “Childhood.”

A lot of journalists have recently attached the death of Michael Jackson to a person’s childhood. People interviewed all over the world say they are grieving for Jackson “...and their childhood memories.”

Your memories don’t die.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of saying things like “...another piece of my childhood gone.” Truth be told, that childhood was gone years ago, the only remnants being scrapbooks and other mementos – especially the music. Isn’t the childhood love of music what brings most of us together on a daily basis? If you think back to some of my earlier posts – buried over a thousand deep in this site – it’s just random ramblings of me remembering the first time I listened to Poison’s Open Up and Say...Ah! or watching Aerosmith live at the MTV Video Music Awards.

When I was young I had lots of records (think a giant, obnoxious stack) that I liked to play over and over on my mom’s big console stereo. In 1991, I was in fifth grade and yes, I owned a copy of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous on cassette. (By the way, Dangerous is still my favorite Jackson album). I remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom, running the tape back and forth, listening to “Black or White” constantly. In nearly the same action, I would pop on many other tapes and click through MTV like it was going out of style. 1991 was a big year in music – but especially so for Glam and therefore I had a lot of choices. Even though I’m no longer that young girl sitting on the floor listening to my cassettes, I’ve always carried that memory with me. I’m not exactly sure why I have such vivid memories of scanning the booklet for Dangerous and thinking it was exceptionally thick, except maybe it was fate I would one day write about the experience for mass consumption.

I suppose today’s giant outpouring for Jackson is as selfish as it is selfless. Sure, millions of fans entered the lottery to win tickets to the public memorial in California and the lucky ones flew from all over America and points beyond. But that’s only half the story. No one wants to face mortality and if there was anyone able to cheat death, it was supposed to be Michael Jackson. After all, who was more famous or rich? The rest of us can’t compete with that – we’re just average Janes and Joes. The “dying part of a childhood” isn’t so much saying goodbye to a memory as it is the stark fear of being pushed forward in the great mortality chain that is life – no one is immune.

So, today when you turn on the news – and the story of Jackson’s memorial will be on TV, radio and the Internet all day – don’t be fooled by the masses crying for Thriller and their past youth. Recall the past fondly, but don’t be scared to look ahead, ready for the next big band or album to change the world. The best is yet to come. Of that, I am certain.


Reader Comments (13)

great post Allyson!!
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlajustice77
Incredible article. Good job Allyson :)
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
Very good article, and very true.
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucifer
Thumbs up !
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDamnp78
Great post. I guess when people talk about their childhood dying, they mean they feel separated from it. But, I agree with you, there's no reason for that ever to happen. Take it from an old dude - you're as young as you want to be, at least inside ( the outside tends to wear out a bit ).
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Excellent post! I'm speechless.

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRyo Vie
that was an excellent post allyson!
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteral rose
Awesome. Very well put. Thank you.
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
It's those little childhood moments that you remember that make life worth it sometimes. Nothing like flashing back to a childhood moment, no matter what that moment may be. In the center of the mantle on my fireplace, I have a picture of me and Sammy Hagar from the first time I met him in 1999 and the picture frame says, There's no such thing as a little moment! I truly believe it. Most of my special childhood moments relate to music, whether it was me as a little girl on the swing with my fisher price tape recorder listening to The Wonder of You by Elvis; listening to the Oak Ridge Boys sing Elvira in my parents living room; or my Monkees bday party when I was 10 and getting so excited about my monkees cake my mom had specialty made for me (yes, I was obsessed with the Monkees during the time of their 20th reunion back 86); going to the record store and buying Madonna's Like A Virgin with my allowance money, those slumber parties lip synching to Whitney Houston's How Will I know (yeah, those girlie things in grade school); and then the biggest moment that changed my life when I was 12, discovering Every Rose has it's Thorn for the first time on radio in my room, and then even years later right after college that first road trip by myself to go see Poison in 1999 b/c it was something I said I had to do and sure enough I did it! WOW, the list goes on and on and I'm creating new memories each year. Great post Ally! Emotions are already on sensitive overdrive this morning with the memorial service happening today.
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Maybe thee best post youve ever written. Kudos dear.
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
Loved the article. So true.
July 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric
Brought a tear to my eye - well done
July 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShinboner
Dangerous is my favorite MJJ album as well, but I remember when my sister brought home the Thriller vinyl LP and we played it over and over again.

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