Last week, I got a song stuck in my head. "You threw out my Nancy Drew books / My model horses from Massachusetts / All my Barbies and all my Kens / My stuffed animals, my childhood friend!" The song is called "Nancy Drew", it’s by a band called Tuscadero, and even though I own the Teenbeat album it’s on, I probably haven’t heard that song in five years. This being the age of information cataloging, I immediately fled to Google to do a search for Tuscadero lyrics. I needed to remember more than just the chorus to excise that earworm! And I stumbled across a blast from the past.
Like Michelle of Sapphireblue, I have had my email address for a long time, and for many of the same reasons she lists. People from high school occasionally email me out of the blue — I’ve gotten email from a younger friend announcing her graduation from college, I’ve gotten a small selection (very, very small) of emails about the zine I wrote back then, and a friend graduating class occasionally sends entertaining anecdotes about life in the U. Penn bio labs — and it’s handier for my friends from Providence and Berkeley for me to keep the same address. One of the top results for my query was an old issue of the Indie-List, a mailing list from the dawn of time that I subscribed to. I learned about a lot of cool music when I was subscribed to the Indie-List (and its later spinoff, Finley Breeze), and I got to read some good writing. One of the writers was Douglas Wolk. Wolk, who runs the Dark Beloved Cloud record label, has become a gen-you-wine professional rock critic (and he recently wrote about his wedding for Slate), and I can say I knew him when.
That is, I knew him when. Me. My online identity, the one I still trot out. It’s a connection to days gone by — probably one that will come back to embarass me, but that’s what youth is for, right? In a way, it’s a direct connection to my past, to the person I used to be, just like the band t-shirts from when I was 16 that are now useful only for painting in, the carefully stored letters from my penapls I haven’t heard from in five years, or the childhood books I may never read again. "I have never forgotten about them / How do I get along without them? / I feel so unsteady… / Oh Nancy, I miss you already."