During one of my recent very frequent trips along Highway 120 between Oakdale and Escalon, I tuned the radio off the normal AM All News station I listen to when it went to a commercial and hit the FM button.
A song came on that made me smile and I was once again reminded how music is one of those things that can immediately take us back to a specific place and time; a song can trigger a memory. The song was by Huey Lewis and The News, titled ‘Stuck With You’ and it brought back a vision of the morning DJ at a radio station I worked at putting the song on and then doing a little skipping routine through the office. He also referred to it, as the song faded away, as the ‘Bubble Gum’ song because he always thought of stepping in gum and getting it stuck on his shoe when he heard the words ‘stuck with you.’
Why him skipping in the office has stayed with me for all these years, I have no clue. Maybe because he was six-feet plus and was a proficient skipper? It was just a light hearted moment that made us all laugh.
He also played Rod Stewart’s ‘Forever Young’ as his finale, when he was working his last morning shift and leaving the station to move in to a different career and that has always been part of my radio days memories too.
We worked together for many years; Homer Charbonneau was the ‘morning man’ and I was the newscaster. We also did high school football games together; he was the play-by-play guy and I provided the color commentary as we covered the Cobleskill High School team in upstate New York. Since we were a small, sun up to sundown station, if the games were on Friday nights, we would have to record them and play them back on Saturday afternoons but it was always a fun and interesting ‘side job’ in addition to all our other duties at the station. Small town radio: not only was he a disc jockey, he was also the accountant; not only was I the newscaster, I covered and wrote all the local news and we both did commercials as well. Just fun stuff. About the only thing that wasn’t fun was those winter mornings after a big storm dumped too much snow on the equipment and we had to go out into a snowy field where the transmitter tower was and re-set it so we could get signed on the air. Typically I was just along for the ride then, Homer knew the ins and outs of the transmitter and I was there more just to make sure he didn’t get lost in a snowdrift.
And I do remember getting reprimanded one time for playing a Boston song – ‘More Than a Feeling’ – too early on a Sunday morning when I was doing a DJ shift. The general manager said no rock and roll before noon on Sundays; we needed to have ‘quieter’ music.
But generally, it was a good time. We were a small, rural station that focused on our listeners and our communities and promoted the spaghetti dinner fundraisers and the holiday bazaars and yes, even did a listing of the school closures on those ‘snow days’ that were pretty common during the winter.
But back to the music and the memories.
I love it when songs bring thoughts of good times spent with friends, putting you back in the midst of that time.
Having spent many years and logged many miles with my daughter during her competitive travel soccer career, my camera always made the trip and, with the help of my sister, we would put together a season-ending video. My photos, some background music that we used as best we could to highlight the action, and my sister’s computer expertise to make everything fit together perfectly. When the video was done, we would have a ‘watch party’ with the whole team and each player would get their own copy of the video. I hope those little pieces of our shared history still bring back memories and a smile for them the way they do for me.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.