Sometimes memories come fast and hard, whether you’re prepared for them or not.
I opened Yahoo to do a search for school (do people still use Yahoo anymore? I feel so old asking that question.) and one of the top trending searches was “Casey Kasem.”
And memories came flooding back.
I was riding to church in my parents’ 1981 teal Monte Carlo. We’re listening to the radio and Casey is doing long-distance dedications, sharing heartbreaking stories about lost love, and fun inspirational antidotes. I was hooked. That Casey Kasem was smooth.
We had recently changed churches and these kids I had grown up with were no longer a part of my life. There was no Facebook at the time, no Instagram to see what they were doing. If I wanted to know what was going on, I had to call them. And I wasn’t going to call them, so it was pretty much the end of our time together.
My first crush, my first real-life-I-think-about-you-when-I-go-home crush was from church. He liked me too. Obviously. (Just kidding.) I remember the stories our parents shared with each other, that he had told his mom when we got married we would live with them because his mom needed to buy us groceries. It was real, we were in love, and someone needed to buy us food, gosh darn it.
It sounds sweet until you know that we were both chubby kids and then it’s just kind of funny. Those chubby kids in love need to know where the food is coming from. Priorities, people.
So heading to our new church, all I could think was that my crush would only be able to contact me via a long-distance dedication from Casey Kasem. I started to worry that I wouldn’t be listening when it came on and how was this going to work? What if I missed this important moment? How were we ever going to find each other again? What was the song going to be and would it be something cool?
How were we going to make our love work?
Young love is tough, guys.
So I became obsessed with the radio stories just sure that one day it would be my turn.
If it happened to be nighttime while we were driving, I would look longingly out the window, find a star to stare at, and be sure that he was staring at the exact same star at the exact same time thinking about me. It wasn’t even a question. I just knew.
I feel like that idea came from watching An American Tail: Fievel Goes West a lot. I tended to let movies become too real for me. And now I do it with books…so maybe I haven’t grown up, I’ve just matured in my weirdness. Or I just learned how to read.
I would stare at the night sky just sure my long-lost love was pining for me the way I was pining for him. It never crossed my mind that I was being dramatic or exaggerating our relationship.
And all those intense feelings, those encompassing thoughts came back so strongly when I saw Casey Kasem trending on Yahoo. I wonder if everyone works this way? I know smell has the power to bring up memories and transport us back in time. But words? Do they work the same way? Or does this speak to my love of words, on their power over me, and the worth I give them? I saw that man’s name and was immediately transported to my parents’ backseat, the smell of vinyl and cloth seat belts so real. And that boy, that boy whom I have no connection with now, but still have such a sweet spot for in my memories.
Those memories came sudden and without warning. They came out of hiding and all at once stopped me in my tracks. It’s so weird what you remember about childhood. It’s so weird that I was such a dramatic child. But it’s not weird to want your mom to buy you groceries. I understand how cool that would be now.