Earlier this year, I was accosted by a man in a van on White Street. He stopped the van, turned the music way up and started singing along to “Suspicious Minds.” When the song was over, he addressed me. “You’re so young I bet you don’t even know who Elvis is!” he laughed. With that, he drove away.
I was too entertained to respond to him, but I do know who Elvis is. I grew up watching his movies. My nana and her sisters are big fans of Elvis, from his music to his films to his style. I’ve heard plenty of Elvis songs.
In fact, “Suspicious Minds” is one of my favorites. It kicks off many of my work playlists. I’ve got some ’80s hair bands on those playlists, too. That’s all courtesy of my mom, who played ’70s and ’80s bands in the car when I was a kid. Poison is probably my favorite of those bands. Not that I’m proud of it, but I know more Poison songs than most 25-year-olds. I’m talking about the obscure ones, not just “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Nothin’ But A Good Time.”
This is what happens when you’re an only child and your mom doesn’t like children’s music. I went through certain phases like most kids born in the 1990s, including an obsession with Barney & Friends. But as I got older, Mom started watching what she wanted and playing the music she liked. I was just along for the ride. It didn’t take long for me to start liking those things, too. One of my first crushes was George Clooney in ER. I still have a crush on him, if you’re wondering. That man is a fine wine. I also still like ER and basically any other medical drama you can name. I thank my mom for that.
When I was in middle school, my nana started calling me and my mom “The Old Couple.” Nana joked about how Mom and I would stick to the same primetime TV schedule every week before going to bed at the same time every night. Some nights, I couldn’t sleep and stayed up watching All in the Family or Three’s Company or whatever else was on Nick At Nite. That’s about as rebellious as I got.
Eventually, Mom took to calling me an old soul. She didn’t mean that I enjoyed music and TV shows from another generation, though that was true. She meant that I was a serious kid … too serious sometimes, if I’m being honest. She never had to ask me if I did my homework. She didn’t worry about me skipping class or missing school altogether. I never did that, because I wanted to graduate and go to college and be successful. The jury’s still out on whether that has happened, but it’s safe to say I’m just as serious now as I was then.
When I graduated from college, many of my friends seemed surprised by the demands of the real world. I expected to face that difficulty. When you grow up with a single mom and no siblings, you see the world in a different way. For a long time, it was me and my mom against the world. She was always honest with me. She didn’t sugarcoat things, especially when it came to important subjects like finances and death.
Some might think my mom didn’t shelter me enough when I was a kid. I couldn’t disagree with that more. She definitely didn’t shelter me, but she did raise me to have an old soul. She also raised me to enjoy ’70s sitcoms and ’80s hair bands.
For all these things, I am grateful.
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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com.