My Twisted Mix-Tape: Shag Carpets and Open Windows

Written by Emily

Jen Kehl

Jen announced the theme: duos and duets, and I had nothing. Total brain snow and static. And then somehow between diaper changes and grocery shopping, dinner and bedtime, a few duets hummed in my ear and a montage from my childhood played: toes in a green shag carpet, the fuzzy pink blooms on our mimosa tree, my body curled in the seat of a faux leather recliner, ethereal white curtains blowing in open windows like a dream.

So that’s where I went. I went home.

John Prine and Bonnie Raitt–Angel of Montgomery

Home is Saturday mornings. Mom is clearing the breakfast dishes. A bucket of cleaning water is waiting at her feet. It smells like Pine-sol. There’s music. It could have been Harry Chapin or Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. It could have been Joni Mitchell. Today, though, it’s John Prine–his raspy voice is singing me a story, and later when the door to my room is closed, I’ll pretend to be a writer while his voice whispers in my ear.

That a duet exists between these two is pure childhood perfection. Not only did I write behind closed doors, I also pushed play on the karaoke player my parents’ bought me for Christmas and sang to my reflection in the mirror. I imagined my voice had Bonnie Raitt’s soulful depth. It didn’t.

Lauryn Hill and Roberta Flack–Killing Me Softly

I was sitting in the rusty blue pick-up truck that was my very first vehicle when I heard Lauryn Hill’s rendition of this song. For the first time in my young life, I knew all of the words to a popular song on the radio. I had Roberta Flack’s version on a mixed tape, a grainy copy my dad made for me from the record. There in the cab of my truck with it’s DIY sunroof and vinyl bench seat, two worlds collided for me. The result of that collision was obviously the trendsetter before you: SAHM to three, typing in her jammies.

John Prine and Iris DeMent–In Spite of Ourselves

A little more from John Prine because I love him. And I love this. And I can barely see with the “big old hearts dancing in [my] eyes”.

Bing Crosby and David Bowie–Little Drummer Boy

Bing Crosy is the buttery smooth sound of Christmases when my white tights bunched at my ankles just above my Mary Janes. David Bowie is the strangely sexual villain, Jareth, from my favorite childhood movie. Because Bowie did not wear the white spandex/lycra blend pants from the film, this duet is lovely and not at all weird.

Okay, I’m slobbering into my Carmel Bedtime tea. My nose is running, and I can barely keep my glasses from sliding off of my face. Damn you, Twisted Mix-Tape. I’m stopping at four this time. Memories of my mom’s handmade Christmas ornaments is all that I can take…

16 comments for “My Twisted Mix-Tape: Shag Carpets and Open Windows

  1. August 14, 2013 at 4:13 am

    Ohhhhhh wow! Such beautiful memories – so wonderfully written.

    And LOVING that you got Lauryn Hill in here – I’d forgotten about this track, but it was always a favourite 🙂

    • August 14, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I had forgotten about that one, too! But I discovered I still love it…and with Roberta Flack…awesome!

  2. August 14, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Excellent choices!! No one can top Roberta Flack’s voice on that song – LOVE it! And, Little Drummer Boy is one of my dad’s favorite songs, and Bing Crosby and David Bowie just bring me to tears!

    • August 14, 2013 at 10:44 am

      There’s something about Christmas music that takes you home, right? I hear those voices, and I’m a little girl all over again!

  3. Catherine Pasierb
    August 14, 2013 at 9:08 am

    What a way to start the day! I’m sobbing. Love you, love this! I would add little-known Hedge and Donna, and be a total basket case!

  4. August 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

    You know I actually listed to Hedge and Donna last night. They sound like our old house, but I couldn’t remember the songs specifically. Thanks for giving us such interesting music memories, mom!

  5. August 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Big internet hug and fist bump for wedging Lauren Hill into this one. Well done…and Hi

  6. Jen
    August 15, 2013 at 9:14 am

    This is amazing! I love all of these songs! Some old favorites and some quite new! I love that version of Killing Me Softly it is one of my songs that I sing loud and strong to in the car, I don’t care who hears!

    • August 16, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Oh! Thank you! I love that song, too. This link-up is just so much fun for me. The memories!

      And I am so glad you sing in the car…so very glad! I do the same, and I truly believe I can sound exactly like the artist. Ha!

  7. Jen
    August 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I just want to say that when I first went through your mix I didn’t have time to listen to the whole John Prine / Iris DeMent thing, but I promised myself I’d come back to it. I am so glad I did! Thank you so much for that song, I absolutely love it and will listen to it forever!

    • August 16, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      I am so glad you liked it. I just love the lyrics to that one! It’s just great. Thanks for listening, reading and commenting, Jen. And thanks for the unique, fun link-up!

  8. August 16, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Oh, by the way, the fairies want a word when you have a minute: 😉

    • August 16, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      And now I’m crying! Thank you so very much. Truly.

      • August 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm

        My pleasure! Aww, you’re crying… That is so sweet. You’re the best!

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