Then there were the garage parties. We would get together after school on Friday and decorate someone's garage with posters and tattered old rugs and christmas lights. A garage or shed became our own little dance club, away from parents and teachers and the disconnectedness of small-town life. What was happening in a garage in Memphis, TX, population 3417, was also happening in LA or Manhattan or Paris or Berlin: people dancing to Michael Jackson.
I couldn't do the moonwalk in track spikes, but I could do it in my sock feet on my grandmother's kitchen floor...and occasionally in those garages. And I could pop. The best song was "Wanna Be Startin' Something." The beat would just get into you, the strings lulling you into a trance. And there we'd be, carried away into our own little universe. Jeff Richardson wasn't around for these dances. Even in 1983, our black friends lived literally across the tracks and we didn't see them again until school. "Mama say mama sa ma ma coo sa..."
In the end, we don't remember our icons as they were at their time of death or even as they were in their heyday. We remember them as they were in our cars and our bedrooms, in theaters and our living rooms, in small-town garages and at track meets.
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