apparently not inspired by her.
whenever i think of billy joel’s song all for leyna, i think of two things.Â the first and foremost memory is of the summer of JAP Camp. one summer, my mom and dad thought i would enjoy a sleepaway camp experience. my mom’s friend would work at camp as the art teacher while her son went to camp; as misery loves company, my mom’s friend suggested that my mom work at camp so that i might have fun in the jewish alps, too.
so in the summer of 1980, off we triapsed to camp lokanda. i was situated in a large bunkhouse (with carpet!) with a gaggle of some of the Jappiest girls LawnGuyland could offer. we had electronics (well, what passed for them in 1980; now i suspect the place is riddled with DSs, iphones, ipods, and so on.). we had neon pink fingernail polish. we had bloomies on tushes. we had girls who did not want to do anything remotely athletic for fear of breaking a nail.
in short, we had some of the nastiest bitches i have encountered before or since.
these girls were horrible. they were catty; they were demeaning; they were demanding. and i, of course, was the child of hired help, so i was the lowest of the low (strike one). i was also from new jersey. (strike two.) in an effort to stay the hell away from them, i decided to take advantage of what the camp had to offer. because i wasn’t afraid of boys seeing me without full makeup (which i didn’t wear at the time) or perfect hair (which i never would achieve in my lifetime), i was willing to wake up at the veryvery early hour of 6 am in order to learn to waterski. i hung with the boys when i could to play softball or soccer or anything remotely athletic. some of the boys were ridiculous princes as well, but there were a few who were worthwhile.
and hell, all the foreign counselors liked me. they invited me to hang out with them after lights out.
anyway, the fact that i had made friends with the boys (strike three) (HELLO? i have two older brothers and a lot of my friends, especially at that point in my life, were boys) combined with the fact that my mommy and daddy were not wealthy scions of the Five Towns pretty much sealed my fate.
however, peace would come whenever this one girl in my room would break out her tape recorder and play the billy joel glass houses album. they would all shut up or sing. they wouldn’t pick on me. it was nirvana.
i will love billy joel forever, if only for that.
deus ex machina came when my mother and i had to leave camp early because she had this pesky lump. the next month, we would realize it was cancerous, and a whole different part of my life would start. but at the time, before i know what really was happening, i was just happy beyond belief to get the hell out of there.
the second memory is a bit shorter and slightly bittersweet. an old boyfriend (who shall remain nameless) told me once about this girl named stephanie. she was apparently just the very coolest girl on the planet. or maybe she put out. i don’t remember. anyway, i had to endure him and his desperate talk about this girl: she gave him a night, that’s all it was. what would it take for him to stop kidding himself, wasting his — and my– time?
obviously, that one didn’t work out.
but to this day, whenever i hear this song, i always sing it as all for stephanie.
p.s. he didn’t end up with her, either.