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It was not a yellow brick road that was taking us to our “Oz” for day but only a two-lane service road along the highway. It didn’t matter, we were psyched. Sue was rocking’ fabulous in stretchy shorts topped with a bare-midriff halter covered by a whispy sleeveless jacket then finished off by her Pride tennis shoes (i.e., runners for you Canadians). I dressed for the other side of rock n’ roll — jeans, my “It’s All Good” t-shirt and a perky scarf holding back the hair. We topped our coolness off by matching hot pink masks complements of Chez Sarah. Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame (R&RHOF) get ready because here we come.

I didn’t tell Sue beforehand, but I really knew very little about Rock n’ Roll. I was too young to join my older sibs listening to Dr. Bop. All I remember is him saying, “This is Dr. Bop on the scene with a stack of shellac and my record machine” — but I probably got that from my sibs. No my memories are of the likes of Purple People Eater and Lipstick on Your Collar. My first teenage swoon was for Paul Anka when he came on the TV singing “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” while I was babysitting and praying that the hamster would not escape the cage. To this day my stomach still gives a little flip when I hear it. But my early teens were spent going to the Catholic Youth Organization dances in the school basement. They did not play “dirty” songs. It was really an awful experience. My friends and I, the not-so-popular girls, would stand around waiting for boys to ask us to dance. Since that seldom happened, we’d mark off our own corner of the dance floor and do the Stroll whenever a slow dance was played. We were good, smooth. There was a time when I stepped on the wild side by going to a dance at Linden Park Community Centre with Anita. Here there were boys from the public school. We were stepping out on the wild side. The night ended when they played “Tequila” and we all shouted like crazy. It was a “blast.” Then my dad came to pick us up and that was that.

That history, I knew, would not get me very far in the R&RHOF And that is why, I recommend that if you, like me, are stuck in the 60s and well some of the 70s or even the 50s, you should take your own “Sue” with you.

Arriving at The Shrine

WooHoo what a lobby.

I had absolutely no idea what the place looked like. I figured it wasn’t brick and mortar, R&R needs something more dramatic than that. Then here it was in front of us — we were at the end of our yellow brick road. How can you beat a day of sunshine with great glass pyramids sitting on the shore of Lake Erie. Very cool indeed. I had been fretting on the way over that I couldn’t find the confirmation of our tickets in my phone. Sue was super cool — the outfit helped — saying not to worry they’ll have it. Inside were the friendliest, down home, Midwestern welcoming folks. I was home. (And they wore masks which raised them in my estimation.) And sure enough there I was on their computer.

This was going to be fun for sure. Sue was already gleefully clicking her phone taking pics. The cars were props from the” historic U2 Zoo-TV” tour Sue knew that I didn’t but now I do.

One of the most wonderful things about this place, was that wherever you were there was always rock ‘n roll music playing. We — and just about everyone else — were singing and dancing our way through. I felt like we had skipped school for this adventure. The crowd was dominantly people who looked more like me than Sue but it was a Tuesday and who’s free in the middle of the day to go reminiscing their teenage years?

We started at Level O where the roots of rock ‘n roll were planted. The rhythm and blues inching our way to the 60s where I was almost heartbroken when I didn’t see anything of the Everly Brothers. This can’t be? How could they not be in here. It took Sue’s eagle eyes to find their minuscule display a guitar and maybe a suit I can’t remember I would have given them a whole case but I’m a big fan ever since the teenage girl next door, played all their 45s for me. I had a big crush on them — not her.

There was a big tribute to The Beatles which we skipped because how much more time do we want to give to the Beatles — didn’t I silently scream enough in ’64 when they were on Ed Sullivan?? Except, this time, Sue filled me in on the background of the film we were watching and that it was the last time they played together. Took on a different light. She just knows this stuff.

As we moved up floors, we were in Sue Land. I wish I had taken notes and more pictures (sorry, Sue, this one does not do you nor Bill Joel credit). Sue took one of her closest friends to New York to see Billy Joel in Madison Square Garden. Sue is too cool for words. Another friend told me that Sue was into music of the 90s. I thought that meant Disco, but, evidently there was a lot of other music at that time. Although I could see her dancing under the disco ball.

Our favourite place among so many was on Level 3 where Sue introduced me to a new rock n’ roll. We loaded head phones on. First, I had to go to Anka and the Everly Brothers to honour my teenage years. Now I think I should have taken a picture of Sue while she was taking this pic of me since we were both singing and dancing and just having fun.

But enough of that teenage fluff, Sue was here to give me the thrill of listening to other types of rock n’ roll. It was important to get a broad sampling of the music, eh? This included Green Day (never heard of them) singing American Idiot which I liked a lot. She moved on to another jukebox and pulled up — are you ready — Metallica. I told someone I listened to Everly Brothers and Metallica in the same afternoon. They applauded my eclectic taste. Next, another unknown to me — Depeche Mode singing “Just Can’t Get Enough. It was an excellent continuing lesson to add to the monthly CDs that Sue would lend me to broaden my perspective and taste on music.

The bonus pleasure of this wonderful day was that we got to vote for the next inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So cool. Of course, from the list of candidates I didn’t know that many so chose someone whose name I at least recognized. After I voted we told each other out choices. Whoops I had though I had voted for one person whose music I like a lot — but, alas, it was someone all together different who Sue informed me had done some dastardly stuff.

So that’s the best I can do for our truly wonderful first trip to the shrine. I hope I’ll get back again. I know Sue will with her partner who was a tad jealous of her going without him. But Cleveland isn’t that far away so I’m sure they’ll toodle down that back road one day. I would have liked to play the guitars and check out the garage bands but you have to leave something for next time.

There was only thing to do and that was buy something to take back to cat sitter and partner. And, most important, eat. It’s another thing I love about Sue she needs to eat when she needs to eat and that’s it. Luckily, I’m the same so we made good road trip partners

So that’s all folks — for the moment. I have to get outside while there’s still sun.

Day Two (Part Two) Coming Soon — I promise

Psst a little note thanking Ann[e] for teaching this blockhead not to be afraid of blocks. I will get better.