The older of my two stepsisters died of a stroke a year ago today at the age of 55. It remains shocking and heartbreaking. I hadn’t actually seen her in many years, in no small part to her living 1500 miles away. She could be tempestuous when we were younger, but I was proud of the successful, together person she grew up to be, and happy to see the rapport she developed with my father.
I may have mentioned her when doing “songs associated with people” posts, but as I recall, I did not do one specifically for her. This seems like an appropriate time. I was asked, almost a year ago, not to post anything about her death, memorializing her or whatever. Thus I never posted about it on Facebook, and have mentioned it nowhere more than passingly. This has made the whole thing harder to take, letting it fester rather than benefit from sunlight. Even this barely qualifies, but perhaps it plus the passage of time will be sufficient.
My stepsister was never notable for having a big interest in singing. However, I will never forget the time we sang along together to Olivia Newton-John’s Let Me Be There. I did the male part, while she did Olivia’s part. It was a blast. That was probably in 1974. I was also second guessing myself and thinking of If You Love Me, Let Me Know, which also has a male part. However, it has a less extensive male part, and I sang during most of it. Funny how memories can muddle. More after the video.
I associate my stepsister with ABBA in general, and Mama Mia specifically. We were in the back of my father’s station wagon and she was singing along with Mama Mia heartily the first time I ever remember hearing the song or the band. That couldn’t have been later than 1976, because of the location. Good taste.
Rock & Roll All Night by Kiss is one of her songs because I will always remember hearing it with her at a house in the neighborhood where she sometimes hung out and, to the extent possible at that age, partied. I can’t hear it without thinking of her.
Rich Girl by Haul & Oates was a shared experience among a few of us. I think my friend Frank might have been there at the time, since I know there was an incident when we were at my aunt’s boyfriend’s house, where my aunt lived at the time, when he and my stepsister went out on a rowboat together. He lived on the water in Plymouth. Anyway, we were sitting around a table and that song was playing on the radio. She, at least, was singing along. The lyrics include “it’s a bitch girl…” and my aunt’s boyfriend chewed us out over listening to and singing a song with such horrible curse word lyrics. He was kind of a mess. All of us shared kind of a quiet WTF reaction to the man being insane.
Last and perhaps least, barring anything I might have forgotten offhand, is that my stepsister resembled Linda Ronstadt so much, for a long time, that songs by her can remind me of my stepsister. My other stepsister for a long time resembled Valerie Bertinelli in her heyday and hated the fact, even though that was incredibly complementary.
One of them in particular does, a later one by Ronstadt that I had loved and then forgotten existed until recently. When I rediscovered it, I bought the MP3 so it comes up on my big playlist periodically. I’ll end with the video for How Do I Make You.