As a kindergartener, when I got home from school, I would ask my mother to put on a record, usually Linda Ronstadt’s Simple Dreams. The record player and stereo were housed in the kitchen closet, where my mother sometimes holed up with the yellow telephone with the world’s longest cord for a few minutes of private conversation.
The stereo speakers were in the living room. I can still hear the scratch of the needle hitting the record. I’d lean against the ottoman poring over the album art while singing along to “Blue Bayou.” I was particularly obsessed with this picture, Linda in her slinky black dress and high heels, flower in her hair, melancholic and sexy. Her back-up band of dudes waiting around smoking cigarettes. If you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would’ve told you without hesitation: a singer.