About Me

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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memories Make Us Cry

It's an odd and uncomfortable feeling, to learn of the passing of someone you used to know a long time ago, but whom you haven't seen or spoken with or emailed or sent smoke signals to in nearly as long. The person is no longer a part of your life. And you can't understand why her passing makes you feel so goddamned sad.

I went to high school with a girl named Linda Damiano. Linda passed away on Thursday. It would be a stretch to say that Linda and I were friends--"friendly acquaintances" is more accurate--but we were on amiable and cordial terms in high school, forty years ago. I last saw her thirty years ago, at our tenth reunion. She was still vivacious, still Linda, and we exchanged pleasantries and well wishes. There was no real yearning to stay in touch, but I was happy to remember and acknowledge that she'd been a small but positive part of my life.

Because high school wasn't a happy time for me. I hated high school, where I didn't fit in, where I'd never feel comfortable, where the ache of my loneliness at least meant I could feel something. Looking back, I realize I wasn't appreciative of the warm lights around me. The lights were there; I just chose not to notice their glow. I had a few friends, but even among those outside my small circle there were potentially friendly faces, probably more welcoming smiles than there were disdainful scowls. I wonder if maybe I could have fit in better, if I hadn't been so determined not to.

Linda was among those whose casual benevolence I did notice, even then. I met her through my friend Dan Bacich, when we were working on the school magazine The NorthCaster. Linda was strikingly pretty, but easygoing, and immediately likable. Just being around her was an opportunity to witness a pure glow, right up close. Our friendship, or friendly acquaintanceship, was brief, but warm and inclusive, welcoming. Linda was among a handful of people I knew in high school whose presence made me feel like I could belong, that I could be part of a community. I will always be grateful to her for that.

When we graduated high school, she was among the first people I saw when the commencement ceremony concluded. Still garbed in our caps and gowns, she rushed toward me, hugged me, and shouted out, WE MADE IT, CARL! The memory stings my eyes tonight. If there's a somewhere else beyond these things we think we know, I do know that Linda belongs. I hope she's found peace. I hope she's happy. And I hope she can hear me as I turn my gaze skyward, and whisper, You made it, Linda.

Thanks to Roberta Mitton Cometti for bearing the burden of telling us the sad news of Linda's passing. 

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