As a child, I swore that one day I would grow up to be a Supreme. It didn’t matter that I was short, tone deaf and six-years-old, I would knock Diana Ross off her heels and take over. I had the hand movements, I could harmonize (in my own way) and could rock the feather boa as well as any of the rest of the girls. My mother had other ideas.
“Stacey, you can be anything you want. Why not be a nice housewife and have children?”
“No. I need to be a Supreme. Watch this!” And I would jut my hips out in time with the music, tossing my arms around with dramatic fervor. My sister’s lipstick creating a band of red around my mouth, I pursed my lips and threw in a Jagger Swagger for effect.
“Stacey. Really. This is going too far. Besides, the Supremes didn’t sing Brown Sugar, that was the Rolling Rocks.”
“Right. Stones — Rocks. Big difference.” Throwing a wink my way, I knew she was teasing but this wouldn’t crush my ambition to rule the Motown scene.
Until Barry Manilow came into my life.
Barry and I had a strained relationship. My mother loved him so the record player had him on loop. I tried to strut to Copacabana but with little enthusiasm. How could Lola compete with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough? ‘Nuff said. To make my mother happy, I stuck yellow feathers in my hair for Halloween to show I was cool. Of course, having a ten-year-old dressed as a hooker wasn’t what my mother had in mind around the neighborhood begging for candy but she made the best of it by playing the song on the car tape player as she followed behind me to tip off the houses that I wasn’t nuts — I had a theme, people, a theme.
The ’70s finally died a horrible death and I threw out my sequined beret for rubber bracelets and tulle skirts. I drew the line at a cone bra. That would have looked silly. Duran Duran covered my wall and I became Rio and I danced on the sand. Okay, on the sidewalk in suburban San Francisco. Whatever. In my mind I was on the beach being chased by Simon LeBon. Stop looking at me like that.
I flirted with punk bands, turned my nose up at Country and fell in love with Mozart during my teen years, but my heart stayed with the 60s and I memorized the top of the charts for the decade. The Beatles and Donovan, Doors and Joplin — they’re still inside with Diana Ross just waiting for my big moment. Now I just need my mom to turn off that damn Manilow tape and become the backup singer I know lurks inside.