Saturday, April 11, 2015

Musical Memories: The Joker



My theme is Musical Memories:  The Memories that music brings rushing back.


One of the very strongest musical memories I have centers around the song, "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band.




As soon as I hear the first few chords of the song, I can smell strong chlorine and hear the snap of a diving board and the click of pool balls on a table.  If you had the privilege of growing up in Silsbee in the 70's, you probably remember these things, too.

There was a pool on a hill at the North edge of town that the Nelson's ran.  Huge pool.  With a low dive and a high dive.  A kiddie slide in the shallow end and a big slide in the deep end.  There was a small wading pool before the big pool for toddlers.  And a covered pavilion with pool tables and foosball tables.  And a jukebox.  That jukebox is why this song brings back such vivid memories.  The boys that would hang out under the pavilion playing pool would play it over, and over.  

As an adolescent, the pool was a special place for birthday parties complete with cakes from Registers bakery.  The best bakery ever.  I don't even eat birthday cake anymore, because none of them taste like a Register cake.

As a teen, the pool became the place I lived at from 1-6 pm two or three days a week all summer long.  I always got a bag of sour cherry balls and a coke for a treat. We'd lay on the hard plastic 60's style lounges and sun bath with baby oil or pina coloda scented lotion.  We'd flirt and play chicken in the water in pairs. I loved to dive and go to the bottom of the pool and shoot up like a torpedo.  Every year the Nelson's would treat the graduating class to a pool party at night.

So, many, happy perfect memories there.  So sad our kids have nothing like it today.

What was your happiest hangout as a teen?
Are you a Steve Miller Band fan?
Do you adore swimming as much as I do?



58 comments:

  1. As a teen, it was the railroad tracks. I grew up in a big town with people everywhere, but the tracks were our space :)

    You can find me here:
    ClarabelleRant

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    1. My daughter in law just took my granddaughter out to some old abandon track and mad pictures for Easter there. Seems that teens in books are often hanging around RR Tracks.

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  2. We went through Silsbee a few years ago on our way to my daughter's. We liked to go through several of those small towns and found a Orsak's café in one. John's mother had a café by this name years ago in Charlotte, Texas.

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    1. Our old cafe, The Bluebonnet, sat un-operated for a number of years, then was finally torn down and a Walgreens put there.

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  3. For along time I told everyone my middle name was "Maurice" and that I was the joker... did they believe me... yes they did. Later I told people my middle name was "Middle", that my parents have a sense of humor...

    Welcome in the letter "J"... thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There's no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

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    1. Doh! I did that twice... coffee not caught up yet! :)

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    2. I see you had your awesome sense of humor for a long time!

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  4. This post took me back to our summer vacations. One summer they were playing Walk Away by the James Gang at the pool constantly...now that song is playing in my head! As for Steve Miller, I love Fly Like an Eagle the best.

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    1. Oh, I did too! My posts being centered less on which songs I liked the most, but on which ones stir certain memories. I'm not familiar with James Gang. Will have to Google.

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    2. Ah! I did google and I know this song! And like some of the others. Guess I just didn't remember the bands name. Now the name Joe Walsh I know!

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful gathering for kids during the summer. The pool up at Billings Montana where we lived 9 years ago was the same way (with a few modifications on what they had in the pool area) but everyone did hang out there. Got son a season pass when we lived there and he and his buddies would be there from almost opening to closing time :)

    betty

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    1. Glad your son got to have some of these type memories!

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  6. I am a Steve Miller fan. Great song neat memory.

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    1. I had you pegged for a Steve Miller type of guy.

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  7. Love that song, the Joker! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE being in the water. I could LIVE in a pool. I will stay in a pool for hours on end and never tire of it. I like to float too. Reading your post made me want to drop some money in a jukebox and go shoot pool!
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Well, go out and do one or the other first chance you get, Michele!

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  8. Great song and band. I saw that band to, a few times at Winterland. Love this theme of yours.
    As I See It Daily

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    1. Thank you, Katy! I never saw the band perform.

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  9. I have lots of friends that loved the Steve Miller Band, but for some reason, I never really got into them.

    But a song that evokes memories - that is awesome. My whole theme is tied to those songs this month. Love this!

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    1. Oh, well, to each their own. Like you, I'm more about the memories than the songs themselves.

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  10. We didn't have a place like that, although there was the base pool when I was growing up. I do enjoy swimming and wish I could do it more often.

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    1. My wonderful hubby put us in a 10,000 gallon above ground pool with a salt water system three years ago. I love it! Big enough I can swim. I love it best at night, under the stars.

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  11. We had an outdoor pool where I live, but being England it was flaming cold most of the time LOL! I love swimming, as in lengths, but I hate messing about in the pool :) x

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    1. I do imagine it'd be hard to catch a good swimming day in England. Good place for an indoor pool.

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  12. every single day at the Nor-Gynn pool in North Wales PA. I can thank my lack of sunscreen use for my bad skin today. But back then, it was BFFs, boys, and the joy of listening to a tinny transistor radio. Oh yeah.

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    1. Yes, that's what it was all about. We had our priorities in line! ;)

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  13. Oh I do enjoy swimming very much but my hang out was my bedroom where I read:) I remember listening to Bat Out Of Hell album:) I do like the Steve Miller Band

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    1. Nothing wrong with a good book!!! At least you had your musical taste going.

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  14. I don't have many memories of the pool from when I was a kid, but I remember the jukebox :-)

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    1. Oh, yesiree! The Jukebox could make or break a place. Got a post for that coming up.

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  15. As a teen I hung out at home. My mom rarely let us out to run around. We did drag main street some at night. I love swimming too. I have great memories of the swimming pool in the town where I grew up. But more when a child not as a teen!

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  16. Well, every parent has to do what seems right to them. Mama trusted me implicitly. Maybe a little too much. ;)

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  17. You are such a great writer! I really am enjoying these posts. I was thinking it would be "Jungle Love". :)

    As a teen who graduated from high school in 1985 the popular hangout was in our cars riding around. There were two streets everyone was on. You would drive to the end of one, circle through the Sonic Drive Inn, go back down the street, turn right and drive to a point where you would turn into Wendy's and go back the way you came. You would do this over and over for a couple hours every night, sometimes parking in a parking lot here and there visiting with everyone else.

    I do feel so sorry for the kids today. We might have went a little wild, and would "party hardy", but we were a jolly bunch. "Jolly" doesn't describe the kids today. "Jaded" is a better word...very spoiled, cynical, and angry. :(

    Not all of them are like that, but so many are.

    We can pray, though, and lean on the Lord. :)

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    1. I remember feeling care free and like anything was possible, whether that night or 10 years later. Our main street through town is several miles long. Sonic on one end, and Dairy Queen on the other. We'd loop from one end to the other. Every now and then turn off and go down Knupple to see what was going on at the park. Boys would go out to 327 past the pool to run the 1/4 mile. Yep, those were the days. Nothing like it now.

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  18. As a teen, I "hung out" in books. I hated swimming (still do) for various reasons, and sunburns were always a danger. Sounds like you had a great time, though.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

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    1. Well, Liz we could have parked you under the pavilion and let you lounge and read and you would have been our excuse to go up and mess with the boys shooting pool. ;)

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  19. There are songs from the 70s that bring back very strong memories for me, too. Fly Like an Eagle is one of them. Dancing Queen by Abba--I remember hearing that on the airplane on the way to Germany when I was six and loving it. It was brand new at that time. It's amazing how much we associate songs with certain times of our lives.

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    1. Yes, it is! And that's what my theme is all about this year. Sharing mine and kick-starting everyone else's.

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  20. That's a great memory post! I could smell the chlorine too!

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  21. Wonderful post. I had to go look up the song and when I saw the lyrics, I remembered it. I didn't get to hang out with friends much. My parents were very strict so we didn't get to leave the house except for school, mostly. If we hung out, our friends had to come to our house and be under the watchful eyes of my mom and dad. Mom stayed home. Dad was disabled by the time I got to 7th grade so he was always home. So we mostly didn't invite friends over.

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    1. I think a lot with parents depends on the where you live, as to what they do or don't allow. Mama had lived in this town a very long time. And between her and my older sisters, knew practically everyone. So, though it may seem she let me run around willy-nilly, she didn't. She knew Imogene Nelson, the woman who ran the pool. And that's the way it was with most everything. She knew someone who was going to be at the place or the parents of the other kids I was with. More than anything, after Daddy sub-coming to cancer when I was fifteen, I thank she was just thankful I was managing to enjoy my life.

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  22. This is the first song on your list that I'm truly familiar with. I hear this song a lot at bars, boardwalks, parties... Steve Miller is kinda inescapable. Like Jimmy Buffet or KC and the Sunshine band. Fun song though...glad it conjures up good memories for you.

    I never learned to swim properly - in fact I nearly drowned when I was a kid so that led to a water phobia. But I grew up in a beach community with a long boardwalk and a bocce court where all the older folks would roll their bocce balls, and fill the air with cigar smoke and Frank Sinatra.

    My favorite teen hangout was inside a community center - there was an after school youth group and we'd all go there to do homework, play video games, or listen to music. It was the mid 90's so Nirvana, No Doubt, and 311 were big back then...along with some other punk/ska stuff I never got into. But there are plenty of great songs that will always remind me of that place.

    Alone With My Thoughts

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    1. Well, if you were a teen in the 90's then you are only about 5 to ten years older than my son. No wonder you don't recognized every song or group! Ah, Frank Sinatra! Not of my generation, but still a legendary stylist.Your community center sounds like cool place! This theme is all about the memories, whatever yours may be.

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  23. Great post Barbara. I suppose my cousins farm was my favorite hangout. Climbing trees, jumping off the piggery, reading comics and the train tracks. The place had train tracks running through it. Vincent knew his trains and had a little coin trick. When the train passed, sometimes we found the coin, squashed and flattened.

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    1. Sounds like glorious days! Country boys and girls getting down on the farm. LOL

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  24. I grew up in Mobile, Alabama; just a block or two from the University of South Alabama. As a kid, my best friend's dad was a professor there, so we had access to the college pool. I remember the pervading smells of bleach and chlorine, the slick tiles in the locker room and the sunlight dazzling the surface of the pool...good memories.

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    1. A kid whose hangout was the college! Not that is Cool!

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  25. When I hear this song, I remember being in high school and hearing the other girls sing their hearts out to this song. :)

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    1. LOL Thanks for stopping by and sharing your own memory.

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  26. Jukeboxes are so cool. I remember there used to be mini jukeboxes that sat on diner tables. I miss those. Thanks for sharing your awesome memories.

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    1. Oh, I did too! Every good cafe or dinner had them!

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  27. I didn't know how to swim until i was 23. I learnt it in my Post Grad. And still i prefer back stroke only !

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    1. I like the back stroke too! Or to simply lie back and float. At night you can star gaze.

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  28. I love swimming; and I learnt it when I was 25 years old and then after that I never went near the pool after another 25 years, I lost my son and was feeling quite depressed - then i took up to swimming, I went for full two years every day and even participated in the competition at the district level. Later on I even taught my daughter to swim and now both of us enjoy swimming together... when ever we are out on a holiday,. the very look of a swimming pool is so energising ...

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    1. So glad you made it through to the other side and are enjoying an activity you love with your daughter!

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  29. My happiest hangout as a teen was in my car--we'd drive around and around the suburb, blasting music, driving by people's houses, talking about anything and everything.

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    1. Sounds a lot like cruising in my home town, back in the day. Always a lot of fun!

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So glad you stopped by! Come 'round any time. ~ Barbara

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