Listen to Bobby Vinton’s voice break as he sings. This is one of the saddest songs I know. It takes me back to 1964. It was the end of junior high school and almost the beginning of high school.
I was typical of most 14 year old girls… I giggled a lot, I wrote letters to my girlfriends in study hall, my friends and I spent the night with each other as often as our parents would allow, and I had crushes on all the cute boys in my class. A new one every week. I did a lot of fantasizing about boyfriends and dates and living happily ever after. I followed the latest fads whether it was itchy angora sweaters or making Gum Wrapper Chains.
It was probably the loneliest time of my life.
I was smart but I was insecure.
I wasn’t pretty.
I was awkward and didn’t have the coolest boyfriends.
I wasn’t a cheerleader and there was no organized sports for girls.
I was in the band which I loved, but was kind of geeky.
My armpits were always wet as were the palms of my hands. My hair would never do what I wanted it to do. I had pimples. My mother was the last mother in the world to allow her daughter to shave her legs,
We didn’t talk about self-esteem back in the 60’s. We didn’t know that pretty much everyone else felt insecure, too. We just acted like we were confident. And it was definitely an act.
I turned to humor to survive. I was never the class clown, but I could make people laugh and I could think on my feet with smart remarks which made everyone laugh. That was way better than thinking they were laughing at me…. I caused them to laugh so I was in control.
But it was a lonely time. On weekends I would listen to songs like “Mr. Lonely” and “In My Room” by the Beach Boys. Sometimes I would cry because I thought everyone else was out at some fun party having a great time and I hadn’t been invited. They weren’t. They were home sitting in their room like me, or watching Lawrence Welk with their families.
But it was a lonely time. It’s a time in your life you just need to feel accepted.