Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes

As I was driving my mammoth suburban on the freeway, all four of my delightful progeny riding along with me, a song came on the radio. It was David Bowie's song Changes. Suddenly I was fourteen years old again, and wondering how in the world it came to be that I was driving a car with four of my very own children inside with me. How did I get so old?



It's ok, go ahead and listen. There really isn't much video going on there--just the song and the picture of Bowie.

It came out in the 70's. Eons ago for many of you. For me? Not so much. Seems like yesterday.

The song always reminds me of my friend Kathy. It was the song we listened to when we were both quite young--though we felt old and mature at the time. It was the song playing on the radio and on the 45 record in her bedroom over across Aurora at her house.

It's the song that always takes me back to Kathy.

As I drove through the pouring rain on I-5, listening to the song, I wondered where Kathy would have been now had she been allowed to live. Would she have children? Would we meet for lunch once in a while and talk about our kids and the struggles of having teenagers? Would we reminisce about our time together as teenagers and laugh about how silly we were? How daring? How.....innocent?

Kathy is frozen in my head and my heart at the age of fourteen.



There was a time in the not so distant past when I thought I could write her story. Sure I could. I could do it. So I went to the courthouse and gave them a FOI request. As I was a columnist for some newspapers, I was considered press and I was allowed to sit in a room for a few days, completely alone save for the boxes and boxes of court documents, photographs, coroner's reports and notes written by the detectives in charge of the case.

I learned things I never, ever wanted to know. I saw things I wish I hadn't seen.

I wrote to her killer in prison. He wrote back. I felt as though I was immersed in a dark, dank place. Light could not enter.

I let it go. I could not write her story.

When Kathy died, she had a baby sister named Char. Adorable, delightful and Kathy loved her so very much. A week or so ago I got an email from Char. We've since exchanged several emails and last week I talked on the phone at length with her sister Sherrie. We're going to get together soon. Char, Sherrie and their mom Sally. We don't live too awfully far from each other and Kathy still holds us together in some way that I can't explain.

So David Bowie and his song, Changes

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste
was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence and
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware
of what they're going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Where's your shame
You've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can't trace time

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace
I'm going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Pretty soon you're gonna get
a little older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time


Bowie was right. Time did change me, but it will never change Kathy.

4 comments:

  1. Oh how sad! How old was she when she was killed?? You could still write the story, but have it be fiction so you didn't have to delve into all the nitty gritty...Perhaps she is waiting for you to do that for her. Was she LDS?

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  2. Kathy was only 14 when that monster killed her.

    I might be able to write about it---but not now. I just can't.

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  3. Kathy was only 14 when that monster killed her.

    I might be able to write about it---but not now. I just can't.

    ReplyDelete
  4. it will come...you are amazing!

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead....tell me the truth :)