Music is the backdrop for the precious times of our lives. I’ve had many great “times” in my life, but one of the most precious times for me was when I was 11 and 12 years old. I had great friends and the liberating freedom that comes with being a kid.
In 1973, we moved from Boise, Idaho to Boston’s Beacon Hill. At the time, I had no idea that our new home was in a place regarded as one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods in Boston. We lived on Grove Street. It springs up from Cambridge Street. The other side of Grove Street is North Grove Street, address of the famous Massachusetts General Hospital. My sisters and I used to run all over that hill. It was our neighborhood and we were safe.
My mother, two sisters and I, along with our two cats, Velvet and Mizpah, and our black Afghan Hound named Alfie, had just moved into a five-room apartment on the second floor of a brick rowhouse that had a bright red door. Mom drove us cross country in a yellow VW bus that we called “Jaspar.”
Beacon Hill is a historic neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It is a neighborhood of Federal-style rowhouses and is known for its narrow, gas-lit streets and brick sidewalks. The Hill is divided at the top by Myrtle Street. All streets leading up from Cambridge Street end at Myrtle. You have to walk down West Cedar Street or up Joy Street to get to Pinckney Street in order to cross to the other side. Back then, that was the “nicer” side. Maybe because it’s closer to the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common, where the single-family rowhouses are. We used to babysit for families who lived on that side.
Michael Martin Murphy’s Wildfire played almost continuously on the popular WRKO AM radio station. I used to listen to it play every morning before heading off to sixth grade at the Michaelangelo Middle School in the North End. I bet if you listen to this song now, it will be one of your favorites, too.
WRKO played Wildfire faithfully, almost all day every day, the way radio stations are prone to play hits. If Wildfire wasn’t playing, then one of these other songs probably was (all favorites of mine):
Baby, Baby Fallin’ in Love by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynold.
Carl Douglas’ Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting
Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods’ Billy, Don’t Be a Hero
I love them all because they’re great songs. And also because they bring back memories of a good life.
Kind of like Paul Davis’ On a Cool Night.
My “Good Old Days.”