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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: Rock On
By Sheri Gordon


“Hey kid, rock and roll. Rock on, ooh, my soul.” I crank up the volume on the AM radio of my newly restored, classic 1964 VW Bug and keep beat on the steering wheel with my right palm while singing along with, um, whoever it is that sings this song.

“…Jump up and down in my blue suede shoes. Hey kid, rock and roll, rock on.”

When the song ends, Casey Kasem tells me that “Rock On” was recorded by David Essex in 1973, and hit number five on Billboard’s Top 40 chart in March of 1974. Yikes. That’s 35 years ago. Why do I still know all the words to that song? I’ve got to clear some of that stuff out of my brain to allow room for new information.

I also learn, not from the classic Casey Kasem, rather from some smooth-talking contemporary DJ, that David Essex was born David Cook—which is the name of the cutie-pie who won American Idol.

Cutie-pie? Why would I use that word? ‘Cutie-pie’ and ‘whippersnapper’ are terms used by my grandma—not someone young, hip and together, like me. And why would David Cook change his name to David Essex? Oops, wasting more brain space on inconsequential details.

I don’t have time to ponder that question, as I have to pay attention to my portable talking GPS system. “Turn right on Windsor Way in one-half mile.”

After navigating the turn, I continue contemplating David Essex/Cook. Actually, I’m thinking about his song, “Rock On.” I sang the lyrics flawlessly, and yet, I have no idea what I was singing about.

I mean, honestly now, “jump up and down in my blue suede shoes?” Why? Why is he jumping, and who wears blue suede shoes? Elvis sang about not stepping on his blue suede shoes, but since I’ve never actually seen a pair of blue suede shoes, I’m not sure they even exist. And if a guy really is wearing blue suede shoes…which seems like a fashion faux pas to me…he most certainly would not be jumping up and down in them.

I form a bizarre mental image of me morphing into a blue suede shoe—jumping up and down, and praying nobody steps on me. Just like motherhood. You spend 20 years jumping at your kids’ beck and call, and then they step all over you by moving away and leaving you all alone.

“Turn right on Radley Road in one-quarter mile.”

And what’s with the blue jeans, and baby queen…oh, and Jimmy Dean—not the sausage, but the real James Dean?

Without a doubt, James Dean did not wear blue suede shoes in ‘Rebel Without a Cause.’ Remembering Natalie Wood’s initial assessment of him in the movie—“I’m sure you’re a real yo-yo”—I think how life is like that. We go up and down, and then back up again, and back down—over and over and over. Sometimes, the down time can be prolonged—like with ‘the sleeper.’ And sometimes the up time can be comforting—like with ‘rock the baby.’

My hopping blue suede shoe transforms into a brilliant blue Yomega yo-yo. Why would I remember the brand name of my boys’ yo-yos from fifteen years ago? More wasted brain cells.

My sullen face travels up and down, up and down—someone else pulling the string…controlling my fate.

Please don’t do ‘the sleeper.’ I don’t like being down here that long. I might get stuck and die at the bottom of the string—never to turn again.

And then, with one quick jerk, I’m back up. Thank you, I like ‘rock the baby’—back and forth, back and forth.

While lost in my mind, my Bug drifts into the soft gravel shoulder of the road. The vibration of the little car causes me to imagine my blue yo-yo face bouncing along the ground while the yo-yo master performs ‘walking the dog.’

“Your final destination of 122 Radley Road will be on your right in one-quarter mile.”

Shaking shoes and yo-yos from my mind, I spot the sign for Center Plaza Psychiatric and park two doors down—by the sandwich shop. I pick up the business card in the seat…I wonder what my new therapist, Karlene Carmichael—with the fish by her name—will make of my blue suede shoes and Yomega yo-yo face. Before opening the car door, I reapply brown-beige lipstick, plaster down escaping stray hair from my ponytail, and paste on my perfected smile. Rock on.

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This article has been read 829 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kenneth Heath04/09/09
Thanks for call back the past! I now also require the services of a Therapist. And no I have never seen a pair of 'Blue suade shoes' either. But they were the "good old days" in a fun way, pity we all have to grow older physically but mentally we will always be "Forever young."
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/09/09
I was wondering and wondering where your m.c. was headed and smiled when she arrived; it sounded, like the right destination.
Betty Castleberry04/10/09
I can sing the songs you mentioned form memory, too. Frightening thought.

Loved your MC's voice. Nicely done.
Jan Ackerson 04/10/09
I love the stream-of-consciousness feel about this story--it's just absolutely right with your character. The nostalgia was great, too!
Chely Roach04/13/09
What a great voice; completely meshed with the character. Great title, too:) The whole thing was so entertaining...loved it.
Rachel Rudd 04/13/09
I really liked this! I wonder though if I should end up at the therapist. I'm pretty sure my thought processes sound a lot like this! I could certainly relate to the "yo-yo" thoughts and I know that I arrive at places in my mind and then try to figure out how in the world I got there!
Beth LaBuff 04/13/09
I enjoyed your nostalgic humor. :) A yo-yo is perfect for the topic. Very clever work!
Bryan Ridenour04/14/09
Entertaining piece, as some have already mentioned, maybe I to should seek out her therapist :) Well done!
Loren T. Lowery04/15/09
To me, your MC appears perfectly sane. I'm certain those images and sounds are simply a result of the silver fillings in her teeth - it happens all the time. That's because there's a conspiracy between dentist and psychiatrist, don't you know - : ) : ) : ) Rock On, indeed this was a wonderful, entertaining read!
dub W04/15/09
Delightful. One of my favorites this week.
Beckie Stewart04/15/09
What a delightful read. I remember too well all of these items/songs as well. This tale certainly ages the reader. :)
Karen Wilber04/15/09
I laughed the whole way through. Funny contrast between AM radio and GPS. This was my favorite line--"I sang the lyrics flawlessly, and yet, I have no idea what I was singing about." So true.
LauraLee Shaw04/16/09
WHAT a FUN read!!!! Clever, witty, creative while still being masterfully written. LOVE it!