Jon Bon Jovi turned 50 four days ago. This milestone has caused me to take one long stroll down memory lane, as his 2007 single “You Wanna Make a Memory?” echoes in my head. But maybe rather than “stroll,” the more fitting word for this trip would be “cruise,” since it all started in a car…
It was the summer before my Senior year of high school. My boyfriend and I were driving somewhere with his brother. Music from a cassette blared through the car. I’d never heard it. It was catchy. I was hooked. My simple inquiry came from the backseat.
And so it began.
From that time it’s seemed that song titles, lyrics and themes have paralleled my life —or maybe I’ve just interpreted them that way. Sometimes with depth. Many times with humor. “She’s a Little Runaway” played in my head as I waterskied on Lake Shasta. I sat with a guy I barely knew in high school and the profound, thoughtful lyrics of “Silent Night” served as an ice breaker. I crooned “Never Say Goodbye—which pretty much summed up the hopes and desires of my college years—encircled by swaying, singing friends at a fraternity pledge dance. As I went through a mid-20’s-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life crisis, I left the office of the counselor I was seeing. Her parting words came from my concert tee: “Keep the Faith.” “Give Me Something for the Pain” hit home during the break-up of a longtime friendship. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” marked the rekindling of another friendship.
And the list goes on. The music and memories have left an impression, one that even my parents couldn’t escape.
Shortly after the release of Slippery When Wet, I excitedly tossed Hit Parader magazine across the dinner table to my dad, proudly showing him long-haired rocker Jon on the cover. “Who’s she?” dad asked. Ouch.
These days, when I’m out running errands or driving the boys to a school event and a Bon Jovi song comes on the radio, I’m instantly taken back to a particular time and place. Suddenly, I’m in high school, lip synching at Chuck E. Cheese’s as part of Bon and the Jovies. Or I’m in the upper deck of the Cow Palace at my very first concert, watching in horror—certain a riot would ensue—as the lead singer of opening act Cinderella orders security to get an unruly fan “the heck” out of there. I’m recording an answering machine greeting duet to the tune of “Wanted Dead or Alive” (sometimes people call, and sometimes they do not, the people that call always hang up a lot…..sometimes you tell a friend by the message that they leave…) I’m directing girlfriends in a “Bad Medicine” music video at a convalescent hospital for my college Senior project. I’m driving a concert-bound VW van with the words Bon Jovi or Bust scrawled across the back window. I’m standing atop a seat at Key Arena with the words “Hi Jon!” emblazoned across my 7-month-pregnant belly.
But when I go back there, I am never alone.
I am always with friends (and my sister).
(Well, maybe not in those moments at the Cow Palace.)
A couple weeks ago my mom called. Twice. In a row. At night. Uh-oh. Emergency?
“Kira, did you know Bon Jovi takes Advil?” (to this day I don’t think she knows that he has a first name.)
“I’m watching this commercial, and I just know it’s him, I’ve rewound it a couple times.”
So Jon Bon Jovi has turned the Big Five-Oh. Life has moved us from Hit Parader to Advil, high school waterskier to PTA mom. Which leads me back to the question at hand: do I wanna make “a” memory? I’ll say. Here’s to the countless ones that have spanned more than half my life—and to the family, friends, classmates, roommates and coworkers who’ve helped bring all those experiences to life: thanks.
We’ve seen a million faces, and we’ve rocked them all.