Hearing that Ellie Greenwich has died today, I'm reminded of one of my favorite songs of all time, one she co-wrote.
I was just a toddler really, maybe three. Next door lived some older girls, sisters, nine or ten, dazzlingly sophisticated to me. Their mother still had ratted hair, though it had been out of style for at least five years by then. Their father was skinny and wore pomade.
They had barbies and easy bake ovens. I wanted to be like them.
One day, a hot summer day, I remember the girls were having a terrible fight. One of them was standing on the hood of their parents' car, hurling old 45s at the older sister's head. The sunlight gleamed off the flying vinyl. Their mother's prized 45s crashed to the ground in a hail of black plastic. I shudder to think what awaited those girls after that. Somehow I think those barbies might have been baked in that Easy Bake oven.
Who knows. Who cares, really?
What I remember most about that day is that after they'd been summoned in by their bellowing mother, I picked up the one 45 that had not been broken. It was old and scratched, but when I took it home, it still played. It was the second record I ever owned (and it was stolen from the trash).
It was New Orleans' own Dixie Cups singing "Chapel of Love".
It's all so prophetic.