Oscar Songs on my Mind: I’ve had the time of my life
A few decades back, I was in high school learning to survive on my own. Doing my own laundry was a novelty. Not having all my clothes come out with pink streaks was a major accomplishment. Pulling all-nighters was a new, exciting and tiring exercise in mind over body. Being away at Boarding School is only something I had dreamt of and had read about in books such as Catcher in the Rye. Oddly, boarding school also gave me a lesson in how to be an authentic phony. Boarding school does not allow for all-out teenage clique hostility as you have to room, dine and play with your peers. Most of the girls in my dorm had a peppy step to them as they walked around in their nice cleats. At that point in time in my life, I was having the time of my life. It was hard but it was monumental.
During my first year in boarding school the Oscar nominated and Oscar Winning Original song of the year was I’ve had the time of my life which was song by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes for the movie Dirty Dancing. Whenever I hear that song, I of course, think of the last scene in the movie of Dirty Dancing as well as my boarding school experience. This year’s Oscar song favorite is “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel for the animated film Frozen a surprising girl empowerment film by Disney in which the girl is not saved by a Prince as is often the case in children’s movies. I won’t say too much more about the ending for fear of spoiling for those of you that have not seen it. The lyrics of the song include
“It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
Even though Dirty Dancing was seen as a fluff romantic drama movie about dancing, it did have a girl empowerment vein. At the end Baby grows up taking chances and Johnny, while older than her, finally grows up and has a future. Maybe I am taking that film at too deep a level. However, it had a major impact on the girls in my dorm at the time of its release. There was one girl in particular, who had gone through another private boarding school beforehand, that was deeply impacted by the film. She went to see the film ten times at the movie theatre. I never had known of anyone that had gone to the movies that often for a film. Growing up as poor as I did, going to the movies was a treat. There was no way I was going to spend our few dollars on seeing the same movie twice, let alone ten times. I was fascinated by this action. This girl was tall and thin and long brown hair. She played lacrosse and would laugh a loud assured laugh. She was everything that many in the girls in my old neighborhood were not.
I asked her what was so great about the film. She just shrugged and noted it was wildly romantic and grand in that romanticism and she hope done day to live that. Sure, who doesn’t want a grand romance? This girl, though, was in need of something more. I had not seen the film at that point and she noted that I must see it. Thus, she treated me to a showing. We got permission to go off campus and we went to the movie theatre in Boston. What a grand treat that was for me. Several of us went on this Dirty Dancing outing. I watched the movie next to this girl while she sang to the songs and wiped a tear or two. I watched it quietly while I still wondered why she would go to see it that many times. We made our way back to campus before the curfew hour and chatted up a storm in the common room.
Back to classes it was for us all the next day. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her much more the next few weeks as she was deep in sports and I was deep in books. Then one day I heard the widely spread rumor that she had just been kicked out of school. People were wondering which boarding school she would go to now. I ran back to the dorm and sure enough she was on her way out. I quickly said goodbye. I asked others why she was leaving. Apparently, she was accused of and she admitted to again stealing from others. She noted she had a disorder that caused her to steal from others when she definitely had no financial need to do so. She was obviously looking for some validation and attention. I have no idea where she ended up thereafter.
I occasionally think back to that time and remember that song. I did have a wondrous, difficult yet adventure-filled time at that point in my life. I also remember that many young girls at that time were looking for a hero. Nowadays, many girls are taught they can be their own hero and that has been a long time in coming. So, when “Let it go” supposedly wins tonight we will have come full circle to the time that “time of my life” won for original best song.
This post is inspired by my love for the Oscars and by the Daily Prompt of Always Something there to Remind Me
Other thoughts on Songs