I found a box of tapes I made in the 80s and 90s. This one is labeled “Mike’s tape” and it marks the point my life where I’d broken up with Ron and started dating a guy named Mike. In 1993, I was still living in Los Angeles and working my way through college.
Looking back, I think Ron only dated me to piss off his mother. He didn’t seem to like me, thought psychology was a stupid major, told me I dressed trashy, and even refused to kiss me. He didn’t like me giving food to homeless people and he talked me out of joining the college newspaper. I’d already written for a few magazines by 1993 and after college I ended up working as a newspaper reporter, photographer and editor from 1995-2000, anyway.
Once, when we were out in public together, an older woman overheard him talking to me and told me I should dump him because he was abusive. I didn’t think he was as bad as my dad, but I didn’t really know what a healthy relationship was supposed to be like.
I met Mike in a strange, kismet kind of way. I saw him at the mall while doing some holiday shopping and thought he was really handsome. Then, the next day, he showed up at the photo lab where I worked and dropped off some film to be developed. We struck up a conversation, he returned to pick up his photos and we started going out.
Mike was 30 and I was 21. He was a wonderful photographer troubled by an unhappy engineering career he felt pressured into by his parents, intelligent, well-traveled, and unlike Ron he wanted to kiss me. I was smitten.
Disney’s Aladdin came out in 1992 and offered a new song perfect for this mixtape. “I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid…”
- Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd (1975)
- I Know You’re Out There Somewhere – Moody Blues (1988)
- Desperado – Pink Floyd (1973)
- Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini – Rachmaninoff (Somewhere in Time movie soundtrack, 1980)
- Somewhere – Barbara Streisand (1985)
- A Whole New World – Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle version, Aladdin (1992)
- Unforgettable – The 1952 Nat King Cole version is on the tape, but this song probably came to my attention because of Natalie Cole’s 1991 hit duet with her dad
- Forever in Love – Kenny G (1993) – This song was insanely popular in the ’90s and I fell for its wistful, melancholy tune, too
- Language of the Heart – David Wilcox (1989)
I’ve got to stop and talk a minute about David Wilcox. Most folks haven’t heard of him. He’s a folk musician who writes beautiful, meaningful songs about the human condition, and I highly recommend checking out more of his music on YouTube. He’s still out there doing his thing.
“Language of the Heart” was my first exposure to his music, performed at the Jolly Roger bar by that band Flyer I mentioned back on Mixtape #6.
The lyrics perfectly described my relationship with Mike. I was “smitten,” as I said, but he was not. He was not Aladdin and his magic carpet adventure didn’t include me.
We made our warm bed out of blankets in the meadow way up high
You took off your dress in the moonlight, to sleep beneath the sky
Your touch was a warm summer ocean
Your kiss made the whole mountain fly
And you looked deep with in me and smiled
At the tears in my eyes
(Chorus) You can say that you always were honest
And your words were clear from the start
But its more than just words that got spoken
There was language of the heart
I won’t keep on calling your number if you never have the time
I don’t want to claim you or blame you, but you’re always on my mind
You had no idea I would love you, it comes as a total surprise
And you shake your head slowly and smile at the tears in my eyes
Your eyes like an ocean of clear sunlit green
My eyes with the salt water
Wash me clean….again
And just imagine you whispered a secret that could take away my blues
And you let me believe it to please me, though it just wasn’t true
You just meant to share with me pleasure
And you’re gifted at what you do
But you’re speaking an unspoken language
I thought that you knew
It’s one that we all learn by heart
And our hearts think its true
- I See Your Smile – Gloria Estefan
- Love Song – A poem by Rainer Maria Rilke (1907), read by Ron Perlman as the Beast in the TV show Beauty and the Beast
- Chakra 4 (the heart) – Fresh Aire 7 (1990)
- She Used to Be Mine – Brooks and Dunn (1993)
Country music entered my life right about here. With the popularity of crossover country artists like Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire and others, my friends and I started hanging out in country-western and biker bars, line dancing, two-stepping and ten-stepping on Friday and Saturday nights.
~ J.L. Hilton
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