Video Flashback: “Africa” by Toto

1 03 2009

One of the coming-of-age social events for me was spending the night at a friend’s house.  Other than relatives, I wasn’t really allowed to do that until 6th grade.  But one cold winter night when I was 11, my mom finally buckled and let me stay at Jimmy’s house.

This was pretty exciting for me.  Jimmy, his little brother Tommy, and I started the evening playing Donkey Kong on Intellivision.  Mrs. ***** moved us from the living room to the boys’ bedroom as it got late.  We didn’t go to bed, of course, but stayed up until the wee hours talking, joking, passing gas, calling each other names, and expressing our budding interest in our female classmates.

A song that takes me back to that night is “Africa” by Toto.  We played the local top 40 radio station all night and this song was in hot rotation.  It must have been a top 10 hit at the time because it was played probably once every hour.  Other songs were played, too, but this one burned into my memory. [In this case, it wasn’t the video that we saw, just heard the song on the radio over and over.]

It’s funny how, like smells, music can trigger a very specific, very limited memory.  The smell of mothballs always, without exception, reminds me of my great aunt’s house (when I was six.)  I’ve heard “Africa” hundreds of times, but it always, without fail, takes me back to that night.

I wonder what Jimmy is up to these days.

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