Sister Golden Hair Surprise.

‘And I tried to fake it, I don’t mind saying, I just can’t make it…will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the end?’

Nostalgic Saturday night.  Got the face mask on, the music (so retro) and that ever glass of white with the ice cubes in.  Nostalgic indeed.

‘I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words, how wonderful life is, that you’re in the world.’ Elton John.

1978.  First year fresher at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.  Arrived with mom and a cake, with pink icing, to soften the goodbye.  First time away from home. Mom cried the entire time. First time in a ‘res’ – tiny room, single bed, knowing no-one. Tough and afraid. All this girl knew is that she had chosen her University based on a thought, a dream to go to Hollywood (all the drive in movies) and my own record player.  This turned out to be the charm. Attraction station, with some snazzy clothes which I learnt, was meant to be shared.

Difficult year, not so au fait with life, with relationships and sex (was still holding out for Robert Redford) and all the messy stuff in between. Way out of my depth with English literature and bohemian professors who had no time for the pretty shoes.  Politically inept. Mama never spoke of politics. Alcohol was new, and surprising.

The music got me through. What do I care for essays and stuff when I had Fleetwood Mac? Bob Seger belting it out in my car (yup, I was one of the few) – singing to the Bee Gees. It was the music that defines it all. And of course America. SGHS – Sister Golden Hair Surprise became my nickname and my friends still call me by it. Those first year, finding one another, still together forever friends that co-produced the ‘pretend you are an Autumn leaf’ in drama classes: the friends that held my held up over the toilet at The Ansonia Hotel when brandy and ginger ale did not agree. Put me on the train when term time ended and spoke of things I thought I would have to pray very hard to forget I ever heard.

Hopeless but happy first year at University. Hitch hiking to the beach. Cheap wine out of the box. Grease is the word. Those leather pants!

Wonder where some of those great characters are now?

Needless to say the first year was the party year, the discovering year, the year of fumbling and failing but ultimately characterised by the music of the time. Still on my playlist.

SGHS – Sister Golden Hair Surprise was my nickname.  Wonder how much I relate to it now? Good times thank you Joni Mitchell, Khoti, Maggie, Jenny and B.

One needs to play the old music to remember how we sort of measure today.  Do you have a favourite? Saturday night nostalgia, the making of it all. Would I have that year again, with all the naiveté and youth – and if so – what would I change?

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