When I was in elementary school, I had to ride the bus. It was ok, but it could get dicey at times. One thing that stands out strongly in my memory is someone bringing a radio on the bus. They were playing that song by Queen, “Another One Bites the Dust” and all the big kids were singing along. Except they changed the words to, “Another One Rides the Bus”. When a group of kids would exit at their stop it was, “and another one gone, and another one gone…” Clever wasn’t it? Well, it was that experience that really got me interested in music. My parents have always been into music. My sister and I were suckled on the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Allman Brothers, BB King, Chuck Berry, all the greats. And much of it I enjoyed but it wasn’t my style. I discovered my style a couple of years after the “Another One Rides the Bus” experience and that was when I heard Duran Duran on the radio.
It was the summer before 7th grade and we were climbing in the tree in our yard, listening to our radio when a song called, “Hungry Like the Wolf” came on. I was hooked and there was no turning back. Soon, my room was wallpapered with pictures of Simon, John, Nick, Roger and Andy. Andy was the ugly one though so there weren’t many of him unless it was a group shot. When they came to town we went to their concert and it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I lived and breathed Duran Duran. Their music wove it’s way into my prepubescent soul and it has remained their ever since.
I was reminded of this on Friday when I was cleaning up the room upstairs to get it ready for Iain. There was a stack of CD’s in there and one of them was “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” by Duran Duran. I have no idea what the frick that title was supposed to mean but their lyrics never made any damn sense either so who I am I to question an artist? As the music began to play, I began to sing along, badly but fervently, surprised that even to this day, I still remember the words to every song. I was thrust back in time and instantly I was 14 years old, sitting on my bed that was covered in the latest Laura Ashley comforter, surrounded by pink walls and I was writing down the words to Duran Duran’s songs while listening to the music. Suddenly my father burst into the room, “Why aren’t you studying?! What are you doing there?” And he came over and snatched up the piece of paper upon which I was writing the lyrics to my soul. “Why are you wasting your time on this? You should be studying! If you would put as much effort into your schoolwork, you could make straight A’s. I don’t understand why you don’t want to do anything with your life!”
He wasn’t wrong. I’m sure that, had I been interested in school, I could have been extraordinarily successful. I just didn’t care. School was boring. There were no choices about what we could learn and so much of what they taught us was monotonous repetition from years before. So now my mind comes back to present day and suddenly I am awash with a feeling of being incredibly grateful that my children don’t have to worry about being too into a particular group, or too into video games. My parents didn’t know about unschooling and I’d like to think that if they did they might have considered it. But I am SO thankful that we know about it and we’re able to celebrate the interests of our children and that we recognize that children are exalted by those interests, not impeded. In that moment, I said a quiet thank you to Simon, John, Nick, Roger and yes, even Andy for reminding me that we’re doing the right thing for these boys.
Happy Easter everybody.