Saturday, November 27, 2010

25 Miles to Go ~ Under The El

Late December 1969, Sunnyside, Queens, I got off the #7 at the Bliss Street Station at 46th Street at 2:45pm on the afternoon going into the high school Christmas break. I was 15, alone, had zero to do and wished I was in Yorkville. I have no intention of going home to Sunnyside Gardens with the parents until much later and needed a plan.
I decided two destinations. I hit White Castle, bought 12 belly bombers and a chocolate shake, put them in my plastic LaSalle school bag and snuck them past the ticket taker at the Center Movie House at 43rd Street & Queens Boulevard for the 3:30pm "Wild Bunch" showing.

The slow motion Peckinpah violence scenes reminded me of my own clumsy accidents where the whole thing played out slowly, one frame at a time, so I got to think about the consequences coming. Morbidly, I watched the film twice and got out of the movie house at eight o'clock. My stomach didn't feel so good.

But... there was five to seven inches of snow on the ground and barely any traffic on Queens Boulevard. I was on another planet and it felt magical. I had school shoes on and figured if I went across the street and walked down the center under the El I could avoid a couple of blocks of winter wonderland deep snow on my way home. I had my transistor radio on me and put it on, the first song I heard was Edwin Starr "25 Miles to Go," when I started singing along I noticed a terrific echo under the concave concrete El. Not only was there a dynamic echo, but when I sung along I didn't sound that bad, sort of like I sounded singing Chicago Transit Authority's "Beginnings," in the shower.

The "25 Miles" echo was so good, I walked down to Rawson Street at 33rd Street
and started walking back to 46th Street, echoing my ass off under the El, swinging my school bag to the music. Without the car traffic on Queens Boulevard it sounded otherworldly.

I wish It snowed more, and I was in Sunnyside under the El with my radio on and 25 miles to go.

EDWIN STARR "25 Miles"

Hey hey uh huh huh huh huh oh Uh huh huh huh huh huh yeah It's twenty five miles from home Girl, my feet are hurting mighty bad Now I've been walking a three day, two lonely nights You know that I'm mighty mad But I got a woman waiting for me That's gonna make this trip worthwhile You see she's got the kind of lovin' and a kissing A make a man go stone wild So I got to keep on walkin' I got to walk on, oh ho ho I, I, I, I'm so tired But I just can't lose my stride

I got fifteen miles to go now And I can hear my baby calling my name It's as if as though I'm standing at her front door I can hear that doggone plain Now I'll be so glad to see my baby And hold her in my arms Now when I kiss her lips I turn a back over flip and I'll forget these feet of mine I got to keep on walkin' I got to walk on oh ho ho I, I, I, I, I'm so tired but I just can't lose my stride Walk on let me tell you ya'll I, I, I, I, I, I'm so tired But I just can't lose my stride Come on feet don't fail me now I got ten more miles to go I got nine, eight, seven, six, eight, six I got a five more miles to go Now over the hill just around the bend Huh although my feet are tired I can't lose my stride

No comments: