Over The Picket Fence

“Reflections of my life.” Do you remember that song by The Marmalades back in the early ‘70s?

I didn’t start out to write a memoir— and mercifully I didn’t— but the 1-1-14 date on the calendar had me reflecting the past year and making wishes (a lazy substitute for resolutions) for 2014 when I sat down to write my column this week.

I wrote one word: Reflections. And then the whole elementary school talent show thing flooded my head and I was back at afternoon rehearsal for our all-girl singing and dancing act for the school-wide show.

My quintet was so confident in our voices and dance moves that we had even prepared an encore number of “Build me up, Buttercup,” on the chance that the audience reaction to our rendition of “Reflections of My Life” was strong enough to warrant a J.D. and the Pips reprise right there on the school cafeteria stage.

The J.D. and the Pips name came from our lead vocalists Judy Jennings and Cathy Dean. I was a loud and proud “Pip” in the back row.

And as it turns out, we got to sing “Build me up, Buttercup” too, thanks to an entrepreneurial Dean who suggested to the teacher in charge that our rehearsed bonus number could serve as entertainment while the judges deliberated.

Even more shocking, we tied for first place.

I suppose the fact that the elementary school talent show actually ended in a tie carries the real poignancy here, but what’s got me freaked out forty-some years later is the lyrics.

We didn’t have a google search or an album cover insert to learn the lyrics, we just had Angie Flippin’s 45 with the yellow disc plastic insert so that we could play it on the Jennings’ hi fi.

So, we copied down the words as we stopped and started the record a bazillion times and then sang them at the tops of our lungs with full-on heart and gumption.

Now, decades later, I am trying to string together a few thoughtful words to ring in the new year—and perhaps plant some seeds for some actual resolutions I can carry out for a month or two—and instead I’m googling the lyrics to a nearly forgotten song by a one-hit wonder called The Marmalades.

It was the second word, second verse that sent me into yet another orbit.

While The Marmalades might have intended “The ‘greetings’ of people in trouble” as the second line lyric, J.D. and the Pips were belting out “the ‘creepings’ of people in trouble.

Creepings? We probably thought it odd at the time too, but none of us had come up with a suggestion for what our predecessors in music fame had intended after stopping and starting the record over and over that made more sense than what one of us transcribed and then carbon-copied for all members to memorize.

So we won (tied) the first place prize with those bungled words. (It does stand to mention that “the ‘greetings’ of people” in trouble might be a little weak, too, but I digress.)

Anyway, maybe what should really be noted as cause to reflect here is this:

1. hi fi;

2. the Pips;

3. a 45 record with a yellow plastic insert thing;

4. carbon copies; and

5. The Marmalades.

It’s 2014 and how many of us know anything about numbers 1 through 5?

Each of these fossilized notions have given way to the new technology, the new sounds, the new normal.

So let’s reflect this: What will we find that’s “all that” in 2013, that will have “gone the way of the dodo bird” in a handful of years? (Another digression disguised as an explanation: That means, to become extinct. For readers who are not familiar with numbers 1 through 5, you’ve probably never heard of that term either, because, in fact, the term itself is something else that has gone the way of the dodo bird.)

Back to the task at hand, how long will it take what’s cool today to fossilize?

What year will it be before school kids gaze perplexed with boredom at a museum display of Kindles and laptops and Google glasses?

What will “The Hunger Games” be like in its third and fourth remake?

Will tomorrow’s babies be scrunching their noses and raising their eyebrows at Facebook and Twitter the same way many youth do of snail mail and cursive writing today?

Will turnips be the new kale?

When will “Duck Dynasty” and “Breaking Bad” become stage plays?

There are these and so many thoughts to ponder as we leave 2013 and begin anew with the new year.

Like, when will Miley Cyrus go the way of the dodo bird?

Oh wait. That was quick.

Email change:

My third and final bellsouth email address has become defunct (gone the way of the dodo bird, you might say) and I’m giving up on trying to raise it from the ashes.

To those of you who are kind enough to email me with ideas for Over the Picket Fence, please change my email address in your records to kflorence@criernewspapers.com.

And if you’ve emailed me during the last two weeks and I have not responded, please resend to this address.

Happy New Year!

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