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And I showed you stars you never could see
I remember where I was, exactly where I was, the moment I first heard Tom Petty.
There are reasons why a random memory like this decades-old one sticks and others do not and it has to do with axons and neurons and blood vessels and synapses in the brain all just popping open at the right moment, sweeping up the memory, and storing it.
Don’t you hear the rock ‘n’ roll playin’ on the radio?
It sounds so right
It was 1977. It was morning. I was on a school bus.
I can tell you where I was sitting … on the left side, probably over the wheel well, because that’s where I always sat.
The driver had rigged up a radio with a speaker, his primitive way of piping down the student savages that he carted back and forth everyday down miles of unkept gravel roads on the longest bus route in the county.
It was always tuned to KFYR.
The song was “Breakdown.”
And, my still half-asleep ears perked up in a “What’s this?” kind of way. It jangled. I liked any music that jangled. I still do. And, I really liked this.
Between classes that morning, I was walking down the hallway and my best friend Jana was walking the other way. She handed me a note.
That’s what we did. We wrote notes on scraps of paper and passed them in the hallways. Like texting.
And, in this particular note she wrote … and I’m paraphrasing a bit, because my memory might be strong but it’s not all crazy-weird perfect. She wrote this: “Did you hear that song by Herbie and the Heartbeats????????????” (There may have been more ????????? I’m not sure of that.) She had heard the song on the radio, too.