Watching a documentary of the Traveling Wilburys, at the point where Roy Orbison dies, I remember it like it was last Thursday. Then they flash the date, and it takes a minute to register. 1988.
1988. A lot of things had happened to me by the time I was listening to the Wilburys in 1988. It didn’t seem that long ago, until the math kicked in.
In 1988, the year 2000 was 12 years away. Now, it is 24 years later. That’s 43 percent of my life, and 2 years away from being half of Orbison’s life. A long time, but it doesn’t feel that long ago.
I remember November 22, 1963, and the Beatles on Sullivan. I remember Neil Armstrong on the moon, the U.S. Bicentennial, and the Cardinals in the World Series, 6 years later, all a long time ago.
Elvis died ages ago, seemingly long before John Lennon (although only 3 years), but Roy Orbison dying, that doesn’t seem that long ago. Bob Dole running for President and Martha Stewart going to prison, those seem far in the past, although both happened much more recently.
Why does Roy Orbison still feel current, while John Lennon does not? Is it the 8 years between their deaths? I don’t think so. I think it’s more of what was going on with me in those days, as Kelly suggested it might be.
Personal and professional struggles unlike any I’d had before 1988 left me, well, struggling for the next few years, a portend of things to come, it turned out. So I turned to music, which I listened to constantly, especially Orbison, and my CD collection, which absorbed any extra time and spare change I had.
I decided to buy every Orbison CD, an impossible task, and watched A Black & White Night hundreds of times. Orbison’s music was a security blanket in ways that Lennon’s was not, and he has stayed more current in my mind.
Could it be that simple? Am I missing something? Or is this just something we all go through once we are people “of a certain age”?