I remember the summer quite clearly. It was the summer of change, from boyhood to nowhere; I was no longer a boy and certainly was not a man. Dad had left us the year before. He came around about once a week for a while. He would pick me up and we might go eat or go to a movie. Sometimes, we would go see his new friends. His new friends were frantic. They laughed too much, joked too much, and never talked about a thing. Anyway, he quit coming at all after a few months. The winter before is when I met Alicia. She was big and cute, and we just could not leave each other alone. I made love with her for the first time; at least it was the first time for me. A few days later, she said we had to break up. I did not understand, and could not even pretend to. "Many times I've cried," as Paul McCartney would say. The next week Alicia wanted to get together again. Maybe it was my turn, because I told her no. It was all too much (Beatles, 1967) for me.
That summer, with more time on my hands than I could ever hope for, I sat alone in the house while my mother was away. There was the vinyl turntable there in the living room right where my Dad left it. He used to say, "You kids may think CD's are hip, but I can tell you there's never going to be a sound like vinyl." I had to agree after giving some of his records a spin. How can you appreciate music with all of those hisses and popping sounds? Oh yeah, those were the good old days, Pops. Of course, I found one that I really did like. It was an old "Abbey Road" album. (Beatles, 1971) I played it all, over and over; but my favorite side was the white side of the apple. That one had the songs that spoke to my heart that long lonely summer. "The long and winding road that leads to your door /will never disappear/ I've seen that road before." (Beatles, 1971) How could I ever forget?
I could have sworn the Beatles must have known I would be living this life and they would be singing it, because it felt so real. There was my mom complaining every day that "your dad hasn't sent any child support," and "I don't know what we're going to do." That made two of us, but we weren't on our way home. (Beatles, 1970) I don't know how many times I played that old vinyl record-enough times to put more pops and scratches on it-but I kept playing the medley over and over anyway, and hung on to the last threads of my life beyond all of the pain of that summer. The last line the Beatles ever sang together gave me tenacious hope: "And in the end the love you made was equal to the love you gave." (Beatles, 1971) I got through that summer somehow, and learned how to move beyond the disappointments of that period, but a Beatle tune still brings a bit of nostalgia for the good old days that really were not all that good after all.