the voice

Documents indicate it was 1981; I would have been nearly twelve, and so in seventh grade.

My family listened to “regular radio” in the morning as we all got ready for our day. AM, not FM. Chatty, newsy programs, much like a local Today show but on the radio and all (maybe only most) of the speakers were male.

Occasionally a song fit in between the traffic report and the news, but not many. It was fine; it was music enough, and I saw nothing wrong with the way the lead speaker mocked the repetitive beat of disco.

And then I heard a song that ravished me where I stood.

I didn’t know enough to listen for the title or artist. It came around again another morning; they didn’t say the title or artist. Ravished at random with no way to hold on, but desperately hungry to hear it again.

What could I do?! There was no Shazam to look it up for me. I could hum it to my parents, but they didn’t know any more than I… and it doesn’t really hum.

I went to my mom’s best friend, across the street. She had pop culture savvy, cooked gourmet food for fun, did all the fun adult things my mom didn’t. (For example, a few years later she demonstrated how to, um, appreciate the male form. It had never dawned on me that one might say that OUT LOUD, though clearly only ever in a very few contexts.)

She guided me to an FM Top 40 station, told me when the DJs would list the titles and artists, and so helped me take a step over the border of kid-life.

“The Voice” was the first single I ever bought. B-side: “2200 Days.”

Make a promise take a vow

And trust your feelings; it’s easy now

Understand The Voice within

And feel a change already beginning…

It wasn’t easy, then. It’s not necessarily easy now. But somehow it was a good place to start.

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