Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You can't go home again (and that's called. . . sad)

I'm gonna hide if she don't leave me alone
I'm gonna run away


'Cause you can never go home anymore

Listen, does this sound familiar?
You wake up every morning, go to school every day
Spend your nights on the corner just passing the time away
Your life is so lonely like a child without a toy
Then a miracle-a boy

and that's called "glad"

Now my mom is a good mom and she loves me with all her heart
But she said, I was too young to be in love
And the boy and I would have to part
And no matter how I ranted and raved, I screamed, I pleaded, I cried
She told me it was not really love but only my girlish pride
And that's called "bad"

Never go home anymore

Now if that's happened to you, don't let this
I packed my clothes and left home that night
Though she begged me to stay, I was sure I was right
And you know something funny?
I forgot that boy right away, instead I remember
Being tucked in bed and hearing my mama say

(Hush, little baby, don't you cry
Mama won't go away)

(You can never go home anymore)

I can never go home anymore

Listen, I'm not finished
Do you ever get that feeling and wanna kiss and hug her?
Do it now
Tell her you love her
Don't do to your mom what I did to mine
She grew so lonely in the end
Angels picked her for a friend


And I can never go home anymore

And that's called


Blogger's comments. As is so often the case, this started off as something, then turned into something else. I got listening to pop songs of the early '60s - that awful sobby one about I Wish That We Could Be Married (which was just as bad as I remembered), among others, but then this one came up and hit me right between the eyebrows.

This isn't a song so much as a narration, a soliloquy, and one wonders if it actually stopped any young girls from bolting. It has the power. The Shangri-Las weren't known for their emotional depth, mostly for high hair and go-go boots and gigs on American Bandstand. But then this song came along, and whoever narrates it is compelling.

I thought originally of comparing and contrasting this one with other songs about leaving/running away from home. The only song remotely close to this one in intensity is Tar and Cement, which I've never much cared for. Then there is Del Shannon's Runaway, and Leaving on a Jet Plane, and the Beatles' She's Leaving Home, and blah blah blah.

None of them touch this one.

I guess I must have been about in Grade 9, awkward, baffled at my changing body, fascinated and terrified by boys. Running away was never an option. But I do remember listening to this song a lot (it came on CKLW Radio every 5 minutes, it seemed). Changing out of their godawful gym bloomers, the girls talked about it in hushed tones. "Didja hear that one about. . . " "Yeah. The girl that runs away."

It was a different sort of song, the kind where you stop what you're doing and really listen, because there's a story here, a riveting one. The girl who narrates - and it really is a girl, not a woman - has a slightly nasal Bronx accent that is somehow endearing, in that it makes her more real. It could be anyone, really. It could be us.

I was not a runaway. I survived Kelly green gym bloomers, penny loafers, unrequited crushes, bullying, being heckled at school dances, having a tampon fall out of my purse in front of my friends, being groped by drunken married men at "family parties" that were a million laughs for me, and got the hell away from it all as soon as I could. This was partly on the advice of a psychiatrist, whom I remember now saying, incredibly, "You must get away from your father".

So I didn't bolt, I didn't run away, I walked. With measured pace. But I was eighteen, and I never really did return. A year later, I was married (not pregnant, by the way, in spite of people's snide remarks). I'm still married, to the same person, with no regrets. A miracle? Miracles are acts of God. WE made this happen, with effort and love.

And I never had those feelings about my mother because my mother was like a missing puzzle piece, a non-presence, at least towards me (though my eldest brother was highly favored: she always cooked his favorite dishes when he came home from university).

So you can never go home any more. Especially if you've never really had one.


Order The Glass Character from:

Thistledown Press 



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