Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Writers Workshop: February 12, 2009

Greetings, Kittens!

It's Thursday and time for another installment of Writers Workshop, courtesy of Mama Kat.

This week's prompt:

What was the first CD (or record or cassette) you ever purchased? Write about the way that particular album made you feel then. Write about how it makes you feel now.

The first cassette I ever purchased was Debbie Gibson's first album, Out of the Blue. I think it was back in 1987, but I do remember that I was fifth grade, and I was with my BFF Beth at the time I bought it. (Come to think of it, it WAS 1987. But I digress).

I bought it at Ames. Ames is a Connecticut-based department store--if you could call it that--that no longer exists. The merchandise at Ames was wicked cheap, and the quality was wicked horrible. Still, to a fifth grader with little to no money, Ames was good for buying cheap stuff.

The cassettes were among the cheap stuff we got at Ames.

The first time we listened to the tape, we listened to it on Beth's pink--or was it blue?--boom box. We were in her bedroom. I was introducing her to Ms. Gibson's tunes. "Only in My Dreams" was out for a while, and "Shake Your Love" was playing on the radio too. I loved both songs. Beth, at first, wasn't too crazy about it, and I, thinking that I was such a connoisseur of good music, thought she was nuts.

Then "Foolish Beat" came out, and that changed everything, not just for Beth, but for many of my female fifth grade classmates. A bunch of us bought the tape and sang her songs, and watched her videos on MTV, back when MTV was Music Television, merci beaucoup. I have memories of me and my girlfriends at a middle school dance in sixth grade, dancing to "Red Hot."

And I was a charter member of her fan club!

I never saw her in concert; Mama and Papa Cat didn't have the money to go to concerts; nor did any of us have the brilliant idea to actually go to a Debbie Gibson concert.

Then the Electric Youth album came out, and we all got it at Ames. I liked it better than the first album. I thought the songs were better, and more...well, for lack of a better word, "emo." She wrote a lot about love and heartbreak on that album, and as a lovestruck middle schooler, that spoke to me.

By the time her third album came out, I think it was Anything is Possible, I had moved on to other artists. I still kept my cassettes, but by that time CDs were starting to be sold. When I got to high school I never admitted that I was a Debbie Gibson fan. I did not want to be ostricized for my musical tastes.

College came and went, and I had a few good friends who liked some of Debbie's songs, but not necessarily her. Too goody-goody, they said. So I kept myself a closeted Debbie Gibson fan.

Years pass, and one day, I found all of my old mix tapes. Lo and behold, I found Out of the Blue and Electric Youth.

I put 'em in the tape player (I still have one in my stereo), and took a trip in the Wayback Machine.

Suddenly, I found myself back in Beth's bedroom, listening to "Out of the Blue" come out of her boom box. I was back in the middle school gym, dancing to "Red Hot". I was back at the Jersey Shore, listening to "Electric Youth" on the beach.

I'm surprised I didn't wear either of those tapes out. They were still in good condition.

Then iTunes came out and I put Deb on the ol' iPod shuffle.

As an adult, I'm no longer embarrassed to admit I'm a Debbie Gibson fan. Most people will correct me and say she goes by "Deborah" now, but to me, she'll always be Debbie. Her music will always bring back the good times I had as a carefree preteen, before I became your stereotypical emo adolescent girl.

But that's another post for another time.

Meanwhile, enjoy this:


Improbable Joe said...

I wish I had a tape player... my dad bought me a book on tape, and I have no way of playing it!

BTW, it is and always will be "Debbie"... that "Deborah" thing is just stupid.

Jenners said...

I just loved how you wrote this! All the little asides and memories. I love that it never occurred to you to go see her in concert!

Mimi Lenox said...

Ames sounds like a little "dime store" I used to visit when I was a little girl. Debbie Gibson....never got into her much. To each his own.

Jodi said...

I loved "Foolish Beat" - still my favorite song of hers. I remember getting the tapes too!

She will always be Debbie.

My hubby got to meet her in NYC at a signing at the Virgin Megastore. I was pissed I had to work and couldn't go.

drollgirl said...

DEBBIE GIBSON?!?!? you are killing me!!! i think my first cassette tape was huey lewis and the news. horrors.

Anonymous said...

Debbie Gibson ROCKS! Thanks for the flashback!

Anonymous said...

You had a boombox too! My husband and I try not to use that word actually.