I was a racing fanatic when I was young. I followed NASCAR, Formula 1, Indy, Can-Am, Trans-Am, SCCA amateur racing, and sports cars racing, such as LeMans.
Nineteen seventy-three was a disaster for the Indy 500. Rain delayed the race. Several fatalities happened in practice and in the race. Among them, Swede Savage was killed. ABC Sports was showing the race. They put a montage of images together about the race and used James Taylor’s song, ‘Fire and Rain’, as the soundtrack. Gordon Johncock, in a Patrick Racing Eagle-Offy, was eventually declared the winner.
At the same time, I’d moved out from Mom’s house, and in with Dad. He’d been in the USAF. We lived in Ohio, at Wright-Pat, but he retired, and he and I moved south, to West Virginia. We lived with someone else for a bit until we got a place. It burned down within a month of moving in. All our possessions were gone. Among the items burned was the check to the insurance company. Nothing was insured. It wasn’t a good start.
I’d had a crush on a girl, Susie, and she liked me, but moving away ended all of that. The song ‘Fire and Rain’ had a line, “Susanne, the plans they made put an end to you.” I took that personally when I heard that song during that tragic race. I knew Susie and I had changed. Never very socially engaged, in a new school with a curriculum that was a few years behind what I knew, I became more withdrawn.
I knew the song from its nineteen seventy release. That’s when Susie and I started hanging out together sometimes. Its connection to the tragic and disastrous nineteen seventy-three Indy 500 and my life changes shifted the way I think about that era, and that song. Yet, the song is a comfort. Although I emerged more withdrawn, I think I emerged more thoughtful, mature and independent. But, now, from the vantage that times’ passing can give, I see, too, that I became more emotionally detached, and I remain like that.
This is not what I thought I’d share today. I guess it just comes from where I’m at in the moment.