memories, but nerdy

In 1988 we moved from Lompoc, California to Rockledge, Florida.

I’ve probably written about it before, I’m sure it’s here somewhere… but my writing has been so sporadic over the past several years, and I wrote so much when I was writing… that I can’t find it.

As it was told to me, and has I’ve relayed it all my life thence, our move was precipitated by NASA’s decision (or maybe it was Lockheed, or Marietta, or some other defense company associated with the program) to no longer user southern California for Space Shuttle operations. My dad worked on the Shuttle program and was given the option to move to Houston or Cape Canaveral. I remember he did at least one TDY in Canaveral, maybe two, before we decided to move there. I remember him being gone, it being just Mom at home. So, to Florida we went.

On the radio coming home the other day I heard the song You Spin Me Round by Dead or Alive, and, as music is so wonderful at doing, I was hit with memories of the time just before we left California. I checked the year of release for that track and, sure enough, it was in 1987. That got me thinking… could I do a little “memory project” where I grabbed music from certain years, and just see what comes back to mind while listening?

This would be more than just your standard “put on some 80s music & roll the dice” kind of reminiscing. Maybe a more structured approach. In the early days, I listened to what my folks listened to, which was mostly what was on the radio. So, maybe a year-by-year playlist of the top-N tracks to get it going. Maybe pair that up, in a spreadsheet, of course, with the big events that I can remember or find via research.

Actually, both columns of data on this imaginary spreadsheet are interesting to me. On the one side, music! On the other side, life history! The idea of putting together the timeline is intriguing… of charting some of those events… of putting dates to memories that I have but have never really appreciated in a chronology. Examppes:

  • Public records show our folks bought the Florida house on July 1st, 1988 (for $75,000, no less)
  • The current Lompoc school district calendar says the last day for students is June 10th. I’m sure this has changed in 40 years, but it’s close enough for estimation. I remember we had to leave California early, before the last day of school. I bet I could pin this down…
  • When we got to Florida, Dad’s job put us up in a beachside condo while we looked for the aforementioned house. I remember being there for more than a month, because we had to move units when one month was up, and I should be able to check that with John

Then I thought (and this is all still in the car driving home listening to You Spin Me Round), although it started with the CA-to-FL timeframe, I could expand the effort to chart important songs vs. important life-events period. And then-then I thought, as I began to develop my own tastes and moved away from just listening to what my folks listened to, I dove deep into music history. I could even chart the release years of the songs I remember listening to at certain times… maybe there would be some cool correlation there, like I discovered the 60s in the 90s, or the my 1998 was largely music from 1973, etc.

Doing it.


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