Sunday, July 11, 2010

The summer that Supertramp helped me be a little bit hip

I read a newspaper article recently that asked folks: “What was your favorite album when you were 16?” No question about that one for me.

It was the summer of 1979 and I was working for my hometown’s summer recreation department. I was stationed in the program’s arts and crafts room, where every day for six weeks, groups of kids ranging in age from 5 to 11 would gather to braid boondoggle, weave potholders, and fashion log cabins out of popsicle sticks and copious amounts of Elmer’s glue.

Joining me on the arts and craft staff were two “older” girls, 17-year-old Lori and Sandy. These two were a riot, always laughing and making our long days cooped up in one of the airless rooms at the local elementary schools more bearable. Both Lori and Sandy also loved "Breakfast in America" by Supertramp, the big hit album of the summer, and they played it endlessly on the record player in our room. Day in and day out for those six weeks, we were serenaded by “The Logical Song”, “Goodbye Stranger”, and “Take the Long Way Home”, and I memorized every word of each track on that album.

And because Lori and Sandy were a year older than me and were among the “popular girls” in school, our shared loved of Supertramp created a bond between us that never would have happened during the regular school year. We got to know each other that summer, and talking, laughing, and appreciating together “Breakfast in America” made me feel a little more accepted and “hip”. So even with my bowl haircut, those thick glasses, and wide wale corduroy tunic with the black polyester turtleneck, I felt a little bit “cool” that summer of 1979, thanks to Supertramp and my friends Lori and Sandy.


  1. Ok- that was a good confessional! If that is a picture of you, that's not a bowl haircut, but a WOK Haircut! Oh, no wonder you love Awkward Family Photos! Mike- I have a half dozen or so of the same.
    Supertramp was the band that made me realize that Air Supply was too foofy, Journey was too druggy and Pink Floyd was another planet. They were like Klezmer on red wine and rufies for the AM set. Thanks for reminding me what a great album that was- i'm off to download it now!

  2. Yes, that's a picture of me. I would agree...sort of a modified bowl cut. It's about the time that i visited my barber (actually a lady....a "barberette"?) who told me, at the tender age of 16, "you know, by the time you're 30, you're going to be bald". I hopped onto my banana-seat bicycle and cried into my black polyester turtleneck all the way home.



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