If you’re anywhere near my age, you grew up with Michael Jackson. I can hear any song off of “Thriller” and instantly be taken back to junior high and high school. But I have two very, very vivid memories that are entwined around his music.
The first I will share happened at my 10 year high school reunion in 1997. I was getting reacquainted with Friend A and Friend B walked up. Friend B and I lived in the same town so I didn’t really need to get reacquainted with her. Before any of us had a chance to catch our breath or even say proper hellos, Friend A asked Friend B a question. Asked isn’t really the word. Friend A had all the intensity of an assault rifle, but without the charm. She blurted out, “You (Friend B) wrote ‘Billie Jean is not my lover/The kid is not my son’ in my yearbook. What did THAT mean?”
The drinking hadn’t even begun.
Talk about an embarrassing, awkward pause.
B was speechless. B looked at A with a complete look of utter disbelief and said, “Uh, I have no idea.” I have laughed about that interaction probably at least 10 times a year in the 12 years since the reunion.
The second MJ memory is honestly one of the happiest memories of my entire life. It easily makes “Cheri’s Top Ten Best Moments Of Her Life” list. I was in the 9th grade and went to a friend’s sleepover birthday party. The cool part was that her house had a downstairs apartment in which her aunt lived. The aunt let her have the apartment for the party . . . . . . which meant no parents around. That whole night we played the entire “Thriller” record on her aunt’s stereo as loud as it could go. And it was loud. Over and over and over and over and over it played.
And we danced all night long.
Why was this signifcant? You see, we were a bunch of girls attending an independent, fundamentalist Baptist private Christian school. Dancing was on the very long list of no-no’s. We danced with wild abandon. We danced as joyful teenage girls celebrating our friend’s birthday. We danced because we were young and had an immense amount of stamina and energy. We danced because we could. No one was telling us no. That “good girls” don’t dance.
That night was pure joy and I remember it like it was yesterday. Funny how Michael Jackson worked his way into one of the best memories I have of my entire life. And one of the most socially painful!
**FYI – I don’t buy the “no dancing” crap anymore. There’s a lot of crap from that time of my life I don’t buy anymore.