Gwnewch y pethau bychain

I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadows

A lot of people have been reacting over the last couple of days to the death of Whitney Houston. She was, obviously, a superstar, and like any superstar, the news of her death generated a lot of strong opinion and emotion, both good and bad.

But when I heard the news, my first thought was of a more personal moment. I was fifteen years old, and one of a number of sophomores who were tapped to be waitstaff at the junior/senior prom. We scurried around refilling punch bowls and setting out trays of snack food in the lobby area of the gymnasium at the local junior-high school while the older students got their groove on. It was their party, after all. We were just the help.

Just before the last song, the adult chaperones turned us all loose and told us we were welcome to dance that one dance before it was time for everyone to go home. Various of the other kids who were dating filed off. I wasn’t dating anyone, and I was shy, so I was kinda not sure what precisely I should do.

And then Shannon, who was one of my best friends, walked over, cocked her head to the side that way she would, and held out her hand. And we went into the gym, and I held her close to me, and we danced.

The song was “The Greatest Love Of All”, by Whitney Houston. It was a huge radio hit at the time. And that is, hands down, one of my favourite memories of high school, ever.

Goodnight, Ms. Houston. Thanks for being the soundtrack to a perfect moment in time.

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4 Comments

  1. What a sweet memory! Thanks for sharing it. Seems to fit very well with a song I know you inspired someone to write (Love Song For A Friend).

    Ms Houston was born the same year as I was. That freaks me out a bit.

  2. I also had a fairly personal Whitney Houston moment. When I was eleven I was at summer camp and we had a talent show. Since it was the 80’s lip-synching was considered to be a talent, so I got up in my tube top and halter-tied blouse and my acid washed jeans and lip synched to How Will I Know and got the only standing ovation of my life. The crowd literally picked me up and carried me around the dining hall on their shoulders for five minutes, cheering. I have no idea what happened there, but it was definitely a memorable experience. I think they may have even made me do an encore.

    I’d have almost believed it was all a dream but somewhere in my files I still have the camp newspaper documenting it on the front page.

    I should also mention that at 11 years old, I was the youngest kid at camp, where the median age was probably closer to 15. This may have had something to do with it.

    I loved that whole album and listened to it a lot. My father bought it on vinyl and made me a tape to play in my walkman. I think that says a lot about my my musical development right there.

  3. That’s also a great memory. Thank you for sharing it. *hug*

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