Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Watching the Breakfast Club with Dad in 1985

 "And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds; are immune to your consultations, they're quite aware of what they're going through." -David Bowie - Changes

It was the spring of 1985, my freshman year in high school in Dallas. Dad I were off to see the Breakfast Club, the new John Hughes movie.

We want to the shopping mall to see the movie.

As soon as we sat down, Dad just about walked out after the David Bowie quote.  I loved his song "Changes" and its message that the kids are alright.  Dad, on the other hand, had seemingly missed the pop culture of the 1960's, instead jumping on the Marakesh Express, and traveling around the world.  His sixties experience was about getting back on the road and then trying to come home again. The road seemed to real to him, the friends he found along the way, authentic. But once home after his trips, he found a world full of youthful revolutionaries he could not understand and he certainly did not trust  The shadows of the Cultural Revolution were just about everywhere.

"It'll be ok Dad, lets stay," I explained. 

So we stayed and he loved the movie of kids leaving their parents' worlds behind.  He had done that as a part of the Beat movement of the 1950's.  I hoped to do that leaving his 1980's Reagan conservatism behind.

His genius was connecting the Beat wanderlust of his youth with that of the punk rock, pop culture inspired ambitions of mine.  We did that over and over again. He came to San Francisco and recalled his years as a dropout there 35 years prior, when I moved there in 1992.  Same thing with New York city and his adopted home here at the Chelsea hotel, where we stayed and drank and hung out for hours and hours for years and years, listening the hustle of the street, the graffiti, art, and installations on the wall.  That was our home away from home for a decade of his visits here. Walking down the hall at the Chelsea hotel full of art, Dad's hall was usually full of smoke.  Once there,he'd greet me with a smile and we'd talk all night, for hours and hours. He'd drink bourbon and we recall what was, talk about family and dreams.  We'd drink Mohitos and eat at El Quixote next door.   I always loved dropping by to see him there, with him staying for days on end. His youth had passed him by but he still had his finger on the pulse of the city here, as I hoped I did. And we continued a conversation  that was part of collective daydream extending back from that day at the movies three decades prior. 

We'd always been friends, buddies from the day we sat on a stump on Library Place and rested there because he could not walk after a brutal career changing operation a decade prior, in 1974.  I reminded him it was ok just to sit every once in a while. Dad called me a philosopher. As the years went on, my ambitions loomed large, while he lived the current moment, grabbing as much of it as he could. Eventually, he stopped coming when travel became to much.  And we spread his ashes in the Sam Houston National Forest a year ago.  Dad lingering with the trees, once again, our story coming full circle. 

We watched the Breakfast Club with the kids last night, on March 24, 31 years after that infamous Saturday meeting in the Spring of 1984 initiated the Breakfast Club.  My kids connect it with Pitch Perfect. And it sends them in an entirely different trajectory.  We never really find out what happened the next Monday.  Would any of them really have shunned each other?  No way to say. 

For now, these are memories and questions that'll linger through time. 

Hopefully, the kids will get to watch their Dad grow older, as I did.  

Oh Dad, I do miss you. Your long strange trip through my memories has been a joyous, complicated one.
  May the road go on forever. 

This writer toasting Jack Shepard at El Quixote, Jack Shepard RIP.

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