Bygone Days
Patricia Harrington

It was 1958, and my parents liked to listen to hit tunes on the radio. Mother even hummed them while she vacuumed the living room in her high heelsójust like the woman on the TV commercial.†

Sweet Little Sixteen ≠ Chuck Berry

On my sixteenth birthday, Mother baked a cake, and after dinner, I opened my gifts. My parents gave me a blue cashmere sweater, a string of pearls, and pompoms in my high school's colors. My parents wanted me to try out for the cheerleading squad.

Secretly ≠ Jimmie Rodgers

I didn't want to be a cheerleader. I wanted to be a writer and join the school newspaper staff. The trouble was that cheerleading practice and the staff meetings were held at the same time.

It's Only Make Believe ≠ Conway Twitty

That night in the kitchen, while we did the dishes, Mother said, "You know, Honey, I want you to be really happy." Then she lowered her voice, as if revealing a womanly secret. "After you finish school, I hope you'll find a nice man with a good job and get married. Raise a family, like your dad and me." She smiled.

Poor Little Fool ≠ Ricky Nelson

Mother's words floated between us, and I wanted to shout, "No, there has to be more than that." But I couldn't gum up the evening for Mother. She had worked so hard to make it perfect. Instead, I dried the cake plate and put it away . . . perhaps tomorrow.

There Goes My Heart - Joni James

First published: May, 2003