1981 was a harsh year. Looking back I think it was it was the year my childhood ended. It was the year that my grandma passed away. Her funeral was very confusing for me. She was a well known politician and super active in her community. Her funeral was very regal and what seemed to me at the time, enormous. All branches of the military were represented and she was given a 21 gun salute. So many flowers were sent they were getting turned down at the door and sent directly to nursing homes. It was that day I realized how important she was to her community. All I knew before that was she was my gramma and I loved her and she loved me. That day I changed forever. My life changed forever and left me with a hole in my world that I can never fill again.
That same year, I was taken out of public school. I was 10 years old. I had to leave all my friends behind and go to a new school. A STRICT Baptist school. I had to wear a dress every day, and had no idea what was going on half the time. The style of the leaders of the school were military in nature. In fact, we would have chapel twice a week and we would sing “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the Calvary, shoot the artillery. I may never fly over the enemy, but I’m on the lords army. Yes sir!“
It took me forever to fit in there. Maybe I never really did. I did make friends. Mostly new kids who were terrified like I was when I started. I felt their fear and confusion in this overly strict, overly religious environment filled with sick mind games to control you. Like, making you think you’re going to hell if you don’t do all they say. That place really messed up a lot of us who went there. We were not allowed to do anything American kids have every right to do. We couldn’t dance, listen to rock n roll, go to the movies or the video arcade. I still talk to a few of my old classmates. (One who suggested a support group to those of us who endured the brainwashing and indoctrination and survived. I told him sign me up. I will be at those meetings.) I don’t talk to the ones who drank the Kool aid. They are still there breeding more hypnotized, Kool aid swigging spawn to keep the cult going. The summer before I graduated from that place, a friend of mine killed his whole family. His parents were part of the cult, whereas I was lucky that my were not. I was allowed to be a kid out of school hours. I can, however, say that I did get a good education. I was too terrified of punishment by the teachers or the Dean to hand in any work that was less than perfection.
But 1981 wasn’t a total drag for me. I needed an outlet. An escape. A happy place to retreat from this new and oppressive world I was living in. One day I found the liberation of my mind right there on the cover of my parent’s People magazine. The man who would change my life forever and make me happy like no other. Mick Jagger. Everyday I would come home from school and play the only 2 Stones albums I had at the time. Some Girls and Tattoo You. I started a scrapbook of all the articles I could find on Mick or any other of the members of the band. It drove my mother insane. “I can’t wait until you grow out of this Mick Jagger phase!” She would scream at me and roll her eyes at the growing collection of posters of him on my wall. I never did grow out of my Mick phase. I still love him. His music makes me happy. Seeing him in concert makes me feel like I’ve just been born again. I have pictures of him on my walls. I hear time and time again how he’s old. He’s a man whore. He hasn’t had a good song since 1974. Whatever. To me he stands for comfort and his music brings me joy. He is forever my boyfriend, and my husband has accepted that.
So there it is. 1981. The year my eyes were opened and my childhood ended. My days of Barbie and Santa were over, and the cold cruel world reared up it’s ugly head and showed itself to me. Luckily, Mick was “my knight in shining armor coming to my emotional rescue.” As a matter of fact, the Mick Jagger of 1981 still is.