A Squared: A Shout Out to the Late Great Ms. Houston

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Shout Out to the Late Great Ms. Houston

I know that Whitney Houston passed away almost a week ago, but her death reminded me of a childhood memory that is both one of my favorites and one of my most embarrassing.  As a little shout out to Whitney, I'd like to share it with the world now.

To give you a little background, I was not the kid that turned on the TV to watch Sesame Street or Punky Brewster.  I watched VH1.  It was not normal, but dancing around in front of the TV and singing along (usually in dress up clothes and my mom's heels) was one of my favorite pastimes.  Those hours spent watching VH1 were where my love for the music of Debbie Gibson and Whitney Houston began.  Debbie Gibson was my favorite at the time (remember her? She'll be on the next season of Celebrity Apprentice starting soon!) and she was the first act that I ever saw in concert at age 5. But, it was my love for Whitney's music that really stood the test of time.

One summer on a trip to Cedar Point, we walked by one of those recording studios where you can go in and "professionally" record your own mixed tape.  Yes, a cassette tape-- it was the 90's.   I was intrigued, but was very shy about singing outside the comfort of my living room. My parents insisted that I do it and I finally agreed on the condition that my dad would come in and sing along with me.  I selected one of my  favorite songs "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and then Dad and I went into the booth, put our big headphones on, and sang our hearts out.  When the song ended, they played the final recording back so that we could listen.  At first I was shocked when all I heard was my own little nasal 6-year old voice singing along, but then I was really mad because I realized that my dad was lip synching the entire time!  I was fuming and even more embarrassed when my parents decided to play the cassette tape over and over during the long car ride back from Cedar Point for my brother and babysitter to hear as well.  I'm pretty sure I gave my dad the silent treatment for the rest of that day and he even recently said "I had no idea a 6-year old could stay that mad!"  I've always had a flair for the dramatic.

My little brother Tim and me in the stocks at Cedar Point during this infamous family trip
Nobody actually knows where the tape is now and my parents are convinced that I destroyed it at some point during my hormonal teenage years.  They scoured the house for it before my wedding so that they could play it for everyone at the reception.  As if the first round of humiliation over 20 years ago wasn't enough.  Thanks, Mom and Dad.  I'm pretty sure that I came across the tape when I was 11 and we were moving out of our first house in Michigan.  I hid it in a box somewhere and it's lost in the abyss of my parents' basement now.  It's still one of my dad's favorite stories to tell and he sometimes calls and leaves me voicemails singing "with somebody who loooooooves me!"  And I still manage to feel just as embarrassed about it as I did at age 6.  However, it is definitely one of my standout childhood memories and that song will always hold a very special place in my heart.  It remains my "go to" for any jukebox pick, DJ request, gym playlist, or for just singing at the top of my lungs in the shower or car.

Thank you, Whitney for creating my favorite song and for contributing to one of the most memorable moments of my childhood.  Rest easy.

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