Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Polka Dots

Each Christmas I seem to fall upon a theme for my holiday wrapping. One year it was ye ol' fashioned Christmas from the days of yore with brown paper packages tied up with string then bells that 'jingle jangle jingled' the next to shiny (yeah, shiny!), glittery, mesmerizing overdone masterworks another.

But as I was handed an elegant, tastefully wrapped gift this Christmas I saw the theme for Christmas 2010.

Polka Dots!

I have always loved polka dots. Blame Minnie Mouse or that itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow polka dot bikini but over the years polka dots have converged to showcase two of my most undying passions...

Linda Ronstadt and children's books.

The album Get Closer came out in September 1982 with Linda in that flowing red polka dot dress.

I couldn't wait to get that 33 on my turntable. Linda starts off in guttural rock shouts with the title track and ends the album singing sweet harmonies with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.

I was in heaven.

In preparation for her upcoming concert at Radio City Music Hall, to which I had proudly scored tickets, I knew that my own wardrobe must incorporate a polka dot theme.

After all, one never knows if Linda might suddenly stop mid-wail to notice the wide eyed teen crying his eyes out in the third row orchestra (right side) to admire the thought that went behind his fashionable attire.

So, it was off to the mall. I found my perfect shirt at Sears. This long sleeved, maroon slice of paradise with tasteful little white polka dots ended my day long search. Ahhh, it fit amazingly well too on my 5'10", 132lb frame.

The night of the concert, as we took our seats, I could tell my twin brother was so jealous because here I was in a shirt that said I cared while he was in a mere concert tee - from a concert by some other performer.

Linda took the stage in her cheerleader outfit (no polka dots?!) and failed to notice me screaming at her until I finally lost my voice and could yell no more. That night passed and Linda moved on to other fashions (stripes, prom dresses, cub scout uniforms) but for a brief moment polka dots helped us get closer.

Many years later another singer, Madonna, also incorporated polka dots into the mix.

This time it was in the artwork and marketing of her children's book The English Roses.

It is, of course, easy to dismiss this book and its sequel The English Roses: Too Good To Be True as trite nonsense created by a pop star but that would be a mistake.

These engaging tales focus on the friendship between five girls, the English Roses, named Nicole, Amy, Charlotte, Grace and Binah.

In their polka dotted landscape the girls dance, work, dream and learn important life lessons.

Now to figure out how I can wrap all that wisdom in polka dotted Christmas paper.


LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

And where is the photo of you in your polka dots? I've always loved "Speak to Me of Mendocino" on that album.

Barbara said...

Very interesting that you would be so taken with dots. Have you ever tried to figure out why? Do they perhaps remind you of balloons? Have you incorporated polka dots into your classroom?

Gary said...

Gregg - I actually do have a picture somewhere of me in that shirt - and sporting a mullet - celebrating my 18th birthday but I have no idea where I put it (well, I have an idea but it would involved quite a bit of searching). If I do come across it I will let you know.

'Talk to me of Mendocino' is certainly good but the stand out for me is 'Easy For You To Say'. It is timeless.

Barbara - This was a Theme Thursday post (that I posted on Wednesday, hehe) but I do love the polka dots. It comes in cycles and I am currently riding it again. There are no polka dots in the classroom but not that you mention it...

Michael said...

This is a very very good post actually. I love your tie in to the promises coming with the polka dotted paper. Funny you mention that as I bought xmas paper after the day at 50% off and guess what? It was all polka dots but I thought it would work great for bdays and valentines etc. BTW, that is too sadly funny about Lind and you having this bond with dots and then wearing a diff outfit after all that. Ha. What a lovely tie in of dots and sentiments.

Michael said...

Wow, I so love the English Roses site. Never been there before. Just darling and super creative. Love the felt marker backgrounds.

Joy Keaton said...

Oh lord - I have a picture of myself in full polka-dot regalia from the same time period. I was so about the matching that I even stuck little round, white labels on my black pumps so they would also be polka-dotted... like my blouse, skirt and earrings were.

I do love me some polka dots! :)

Brian Miller said...

interesting...never knew about madonna's, the concert story...brave though, i dont know that i have any polka dots...nice take on the theme. happy tt!

The Clever Pup said...

Do you still have your shirt? I've been trying to find a men's polka dot shirt for years.

Tess Kincaid said...

Super dotty post, Gary. I enjoyed it!

Alan Burnett said...

So many of us seem to think of music when we see the phrase polka dots. Thanks for such an interesting and evocative post.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

fabulous post...and I agree with junk I want to see a pic of you in that shirt.

hope you find the photo - and gary with a mullet that I HAVE to see....

and thanks for playing theme thursday!!

Ed & Jeanne said...

Ah, Linda back when she was thin! Good times...

Stephanie said...

Enjoyed your post. Linda looks fab in that dress!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of theme wrapping:)
P.S. Find that picture!


JeffScape said...

Ah, Linda Ronstadt... the channeller of Warren Zevon.

Gary said...

I am loving Theme Thursday and happy to see all of the new faces hiding here in the comments. Thanks for visiting!

Mmm - 50% off. This reminds me to get myself to Pier 1 where holiday gift wrapping sales abound. I just saw some polka dot wrapping at CVS the other day too and need to get back there and pick it up. Also, love the polka dots on your mushroom.

Joy Darling - Does that outfit include black tights? I think it is a safe bet to assume that your birthday presents next week will come wrapped in lots o' dots. How are you enjoying the pre-birthday week?

Brian - Happy tt to you too sir! Yes, those English Roses books really took off. They became a series of chapter books - number 11 is out now. These are written by Madonna and someone else. I wonder how much input her madgesty actually contributed.

Clever Pup - Alas, the shirt is no longer around. That was a very long time ago and I am not so thin these days. I am sure it would no longer fit but we had a nice run.

Thank you Willow. I like that "super dotty". I feel like a superhero. Imagine THAT costume. A tad busy to be sure.

Alan - Yes, music and fashion seem to be running through many of our tt blogs. You know what they say about great minds and all.

Kimy - I'll give a look but I do have a pic of me with my very fashionable mullet (complete with blonde streak - lord help us) on my facebook page. Thanks for the tt opportunity!

VE - Linda has since ballooned hasn't she? Although this is true it has not diminished my adoration for her or her music. There is a quote by her that I read where she talks about getting older and looking in the mirror. She said something like you have to be able to be okay with the changes and accept it rather than stressing out about it. As I see myself getting older and older I think of that. It's got to be okay.

Stephanie - I agree. And she wore it to the Grammys that year when she sang Get Closer but then lost the award. Ouch! Cruel Grammys to make her perform and then snub her. But she does have 10 Grammy Awards (and 17 nominations) to sooth the pain.

Mistress - First of all, love the name. You seem exotic and mysterious. Theme wrapping is fantastic once you decide on a theme. Happily I have decided.

Jeff - Oh yes. And a sad day when he passed.

william manson said...

hello Gary

I was at Brians blog and decided to come over and check your out, firstly may I say you do a terrific job teaching the deaf an honourable career secondly I liked this blog..there was good images and a great story.. thanks and take care.

Joy Keaton said...

I felt compelled to Post

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I forgot about this album! Not privy to the Madonna one tho' but great take on the theme, and thanks for stopping over; happy TT!

lacochran said...

Linda always has such an amazing voice. Beautiful but real, too. No wonder you thought she was accessible. She may not have acknowledged it but I'll bet she loved the fact that there were fans screaming for her. :)

Betsy Brock said...

Nice polka dotty theme post here, Gary! Love the pic of Linda in the red dress, too. I've joined your followers list so I can come back for more visits...nice blog!

C.M. Jackson said...

gary--polka dots and linda r what could be bad? nothing! Happy TT-c

Gary said...

William - I have found my bliss, I am very lucky. Thanks so much for reading.

Joy - Yippee Skippee! Those photos are too too precious.

Subby - I often forget about this album (as a whole) too. Linda has had so many that some will take a back seat. Mad Love is another one I overlook but really love. Lately I have been all about early Linda when she was with the Stone Poneys.

Locachran - No argument here. She does indeed have an amazing voice. She has kept me interested for 32 years - practically my whole life. But when I met her and told her how much I adored her I just came across crazy. Best to leave some things alone I suppose. haha

Betsy - Great news. Thanks for visting and I am thrilled that you shall return every so often.

C.M. - Two great things that go good together!

lettuce said...

long sleeves, maroon, polka dots - ah, i'd like to see that.

Thoroughly approving of your new passion btw

Steve Reed said...

Ah yes, I remember that album cover really well! I think you need to show us that photo...:)

Let's definitely do dinner sometime!

Gary said...

Letty - I neglected to mention that it was along the lines of a dress shirt (buttons, collar) and I need to get me another. As for that other passion, I am toatlly hooked.

Steve - Your comment reminds me of a song title on that album "I Knew You When" (or Sondheim "I Remember It Well).

Sebastien Millon said...

I am a big time polka dot fan. They seemed to be big in women's fashion in the 60s. I helped my gf find a vintage polka dot dress from that era a little while ago. Hoping we can find more, there are some fun retro shops in Phx.

Gary said...

Retro clothing for women is fantastic. My friend Joy bought some a while back. I love that era of white gloves and hats. And yes, polka dots were all over the place. I think of "I Love Lucy" and some of her outfits. Mens fashion seemed to steer clear of the dots but was just as amazing.

WAT said...

My good bud was playing the audio of Madonna reading her books, and I could not stop laughing at her faux British accent.

LINDA RONSTADT! YEAH! I can never forget what a huge true fan you are. I almost went to see her last year with her mariachi, but missed out. DARN.

Next time.


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