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Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson: I Remember The Time

I remember seeing you and hearing you for the first time.
I remember cutting out photo's and posters taping them to my wall.
I remember moving to Los Angeles, and talking about you so much that my parents tired
of hearing me speak of you - so much so that I had to give you another name for a while.
I remember scraping up pennies to buy SOUL Magazine, and later Right On! because you were always in them.
I remember living in a cheap motel during this time, as our family had fallen on hard times, but vividly remember the inspiration I got from reading about you and looking at those pictures.

I remember looking at photo's of your family and wondering what it was like to be a Jackson.
I remember feeling proud as I looked at your family, somehow seeing myself in you and knowing my friends felt the same.
I remember how we talked about you at school, and danced to your songs in the school gym.
I remember taping your photo to my locker and in the hollow of my desk just to keep you near.
I remember every time I would lift that desk top, I'd see your face smiling back at me.
I remember dancing, singing and dreaming to your music.
I remember crying to songs like 'Maybe Tomorrow', and 'I Don't Know Why I Love You' in my room.
I remember the cartoon, the TV specials, singing with Diana Ross and Cher..and so much more.

I remember writing the first piece of fan mail I wrote: 'Dear Michael'.
I remember writing to you often - as if you could hear me.
I remember thinking I was going to grow up and be Mrs. Michael Jackson.

I remember not having enough money for a concert ticket for a Jackson Five concert at The Forum in Inglewood CA.
I remember what it felt like for my family to be going through such a tough time, and how your music and that of other's got me through.

I remember walking the perimeter of the Forum with my Mom in tears, as I could hear the music and screams of the lucky girls inside - as I was panic stricken and pacing from the outside.
I remember begging to get in to no avail to each door attendant,
I remember being desperate enough to lie and say I'd lost my ticket.
I remember my heart that night, I loved Michael Jackson.
I remember how hard my Mom tried to get me close.
I remember sobbing even more and the joy I felt when one of the door attendants finally let my Mom and I go in, as the intro of the last song of the night -'The Love You Save' reverberated nearly drowned out by the volumes of screams from all the kids who felt just like me.

I remember as soon as we got in - the fans rushing the stage and all I had was a brief glimpse, as it seemed the entire arena shifted to the stage.
I remember how soon it was all over. Lights on. Empty stage.

I remember how I continued to love all of the other albums that weren't as popular like 'Skywriter', and 'Moving Violation' as you and your brothers continued to grow up - as I was growing up too.
I remember how I could get completely lost staring at every album cover that had your face on it as a child.

I remember meeting you for the first time, and being in awe of the fate that would make such a thing happen.
I remember you and your younger sister Janet coming to watch Shalamar shows from the side of the stage with Groucho Marx glasses with the fake nose and moustache at Disneyland - peering from the side curtain.
I remember your brothers trying to hook us up, because I put '"Jody Watley Loves Michael Jackson" on the back of Shalamar's 'Three For Love' album, underneath my photo with the caption: "Loves.."
I remember the first time I heard 'Off The Wall', and how much I loved it and still do.
I remember...

I remember being in the audience with my friend Jermaine Stewart at the Motown 25th..
I remember feeling the electricity that night, and your words "I like the old songs..but I like the new ones better" before you went into Billie Jean.
I remember how you changed the game of music.
I remember how you changed music video.
I remember where I was when I first saw the mini movie 'Thriller'.
I remember how everyone anticipated your world premiere videos on MTV.
I remember all of your iconic performances on The Grammy's and American Music Awards, and so much more.
I remember being nominated in categories with you and knowing I didn't stand a chance.

I remember that you are the first person who greeted me after I won my own Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1988 and smile to this day because as joyous and in shock as I was...

I remember that you emerged from the darkness of back stage at Radio City Music Hall ran to me, gave me a big hug, kissed my right cheek and said in your Michael Jackson voice "I'm so happy for you"
I remember thinking how I would have never imagined that moment with someone who had such a huge impact on my life.
I remember thinking you were magical and..

I remember thinking 'I was just kissed by MICHAEL JACKSON and how it nearly eclipsed even winning the award.

I remember how obsessed my daughter and her friends were when they were old enough to discover your music, and how many times we tried to do the choreography to Thriller, and Beat It.
I remember our family trip to Disneyland so we could see your Captain EO attraction.
I remember the joy.

I remember that the never to be seen again international success of Thriller seemed to give you so much - but the aftermath of such fame seemed to take even more.

I remember feeling angst at your trials, and saddened by the bubble your unparalled success seemed to create.

I remember thinking how lonely your life must be, and how you tried to fill the voids in ways we can't understand.

I remember that despite your struggles thinking you are one bad ass dude. The greatest of a generation and for all time.

I remember how you have touched the world.

I remember how much I love your music, watching you dance, and listening to your distinctive voice.

I remember the influence of Jackie Wilson, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and James Brown in your work.

I remember the influence of Michael Jackson in others.

I remember these things and so much more..

I remember the shock I felt at hearing the tragic news, and the tears that followed.

I remember thinking a piece of my own childhood went with you.

I will always remember the time I had with you.

May your deepest sadness be healed. May your soul now rest peace.


Ginnie said...

I 'remember' as well Jody... beautiful piece and memories. Thank you for sharing.


andre said...

Great Jody. Thanks for sharing.
I created this painting of Mike in 2001. RIP MJ

missmusze said...

Jody, I absolutely have some of the same memories....wallpapered my bedroom w/ Right On! magazine LOL I also remember when you won your Grammy for Best New Artist and Michael greeted you. I actually had it on tape up until a few months ago. How I wish I could pop that in, right now. Thank you for the beautiful blog. We ALL should REMEMBER....MJ

Bev said...

Thanks Jody for sharing your memories of the greatest entertainer and artist that ever walked our planer!
I, like so many millions of fans out there also share many of those memories you just wrote about!
May he rest in eternal peace knowing that he has touched so many of our lives. MJ will never be forgotten...His music will live on forever! XXX

Tanya said...

Hey girl,

I was at that concert at the Forum. And as much as I loved the J5, especially Michael, if I had known you were there, I would have given you my ticket.

I never did the cutting-out-of-magazines thing, but I remember Right On, and the cartoons (pass the doggone syrup!) and probably everything else you remember.

Michael Jackson changed our lives for the better. I wish we could have done the same for him.

Thanks for sharing the love.

angellovef said...

I remember dancing to his Thriller album for my friend Lucille. And that very same friend called me from Hawaii to tell me the news hysterically crying.

A.D.A.M said...

I'm having a hard time coming to terms with MJ's passing. The grief is palpable. I never met Jackson and I was just another fan among BILLIONS, but I've always had empathy for the man under the music. His lyrics, voice, and music told his personal story.

I was born in November 1982, so all throughout my life Michael has been a SUPERSTAR; a SUPERNOVA. And to think that he's not here is almost alien. A world without Michael Jackson? It didn't really hit me until today. I just can't get myself together.

Ms. Watley, thank you for sharing your memories. It was beautifully written. I just hope that MJ is finally at peace. His genius as well as his spirit, will live on forever.

QH said...

This was the most touching of all the tributes I've read, because it came from a really genuine place. He will be missed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, memories, and feelings with us.-QH

Chili Sauce said...

Wow, thank you for sharing that about your history, and how Michael Jackson impacted your life through those hard time. Thinking how music seems to be like a circle of completion, he had that impact on you, and you have "paid it forward" beautifully. Thank you for sharing that.

Atlanta Red said...

Jody, the feelings you had a difficult time getting out actually came out beautifully. Michael Jackson had more of an impact on his family, friends, fans, community and the world than many people acknowledged until realizing our loss. He will always be remembered and the life of his soul will always be shared with us through his music. Awesome tribute. - A.R.

TMRMRR said...

Jody: That was so beautiful...I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face, having just finished reading your blog tribute to Michael. I am at a loss for words, but all I can say is: Well said...
So eloquently, truthfully and emotionally stated. It brought me right back to some of those same memories...Thank you! We have all suffered a huge loss, but our loss is heaven's gain...Rest in Peace Michael...You truly are unforgettable.

Giuditta said...

Beautiful, Jody. The best tribute I have read.

I went to that J5 show at the Forum. I cried when I read you could not afford to come in. I wish I'd known there were people outside with no money for tickets. I would gladly have bought you and you Mom tickets. I'm glad you grew up and got to be kissed by Michael when you got your Grammy. You deserved it!

That's how I feel about the Staples Center today. So many people out of work, and only the rich can attend basketball games and concerts, because the prices are ridiculous. Sorry, off topic.

Thanks for your glorious tribute.

portia said...

Jody, you have brought back so many memories, good memories. We have a lot in common. I too grew up facing hardships, being from a family of twelve (from Gary, Indiana like the Jacksons). On so many occasions, Michael Jackson was there to brighten up my family's day & world. One day my mom brought home our first '45 record. It was the Jackson 5's "Girl Let Me Carry Your School Books". I also can recall when three of my siblings and I walked to a birthday party when I was seven or eight years old (this is back in the seventies). I can remember vividly the song playing at the party that got everyone dancing. It was "Dancing Machine". Everyone got up and did the Robot. Those were fun times and Michael gave them to us. Yes, he was a dancing machine---the best one I've ever seen! Thanks Jody for your tribute.

SerenityLife said...


Thank you!

oliver said...
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Anita C. McCants said...

Beautiful Jody!
Thanks for sharing.

Chili Sauce said...

I re-read this Jody, because I was feeling a little bit off, wondering why can't I seem to stop listening to him or watching his videos and concerts.

I know the answer. My 2-year-old daughter won't me forget. She insists on hearing his music every single day! She asks God to bless "My Jacking" during her prayers at night (seriously, mami and papi get no blessings!) She dances and sings to his music. Her favorites are Beat it and Remember the Time and Dangerous. I heard the news of his death on the radio, coming back from her very first dance class.

So, she and hopefully her generation, will not let him be forgotten.

Jazzzyone said...

I'm just now reading this...late. But your words took me back to June 25 and how all of my childhood memories of MJ came flooding back to me...

Thank you for sharing your memories as a fan and colleague of MJ's. So touching.

jstanleymn said...

WOW, I Remember too...Thanks Jody. Simply beautiful. Enough said.

Jody Watley said...

I appreciate all of your comments. Thank you for staying on topic to the post as well. Michael was so special to all of us, it's wonderful to know we will always share the love for him, his music & legacy.

Jude Barlow said...

Thank u for this story. It's amazing...very strong words!

Venus Jones said...
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Venus Jones said...
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Venus Jones said...

Great poem Jody! So glad you reposted this blog on FB and shared such personal and fond memories. I too thought MJ was magical. Inspiring! What a great's a poetic tribute for you! I had to edit it a few times. Enjoy!

"Jamming with Jody: A Night to Remember"

By Venus Jones

I remember watching Jody Watley strut across my TV screen as a child/The first time someone said I looked like her/ My smile grew from ear to ear and I struck a pose/ Pretending to be a cover girl, soul singing sensation/I remember rehearsing every dance move after that/Learned the lines to nearly every song and made a wish that I was her friend/A better friend than the ones that let her down when she needed them/ Most of all, I just wanted Jody to be happy with everything/Because she was some kind of inspiration for a girl like me/The kind of girl who always wanted to experience real love/I wanted some kind of lover not some kind of loser/She taught me how to ask, "Don't you want me for me?"/If the answer was no, I started looking for a new one baby/I remember lip syncing Jody Watley in the spotlight/Had the perfect earrings, bubble skirt, put waves in my hair/Took all that nervous energy and earned an ovation/When I didn't win first prize. They said, You got robbed!/I shrugged wishing Jody would've seen it. I knew she'd bring flowers/I knew Jody and I were kindred/ We both loved affection/

I remember the first time I heard that she was coming to Oakland, I screamed/It was my 13th wedding anniversary andI told him the best gift was concert tickets, when a man truly loves a woman/We met Jody's daughter behind her booth and wondered what it was like to have an icon as a mother/I was rocking a fro and she was rocking a even bigger was fabulous and the show fierce/I put my newly purchased T-shirt on as Jody was making her way through the crowd for the finale/ I thought if I don't get to shake her hand, this experience was still a thrill/Just then, she turned and said/"I love that shirt you're wearing!"/ I began to cat walk for the people and for the finest fashionista with flair/We greeted each other like we were friends/She was still singing, when she gave me a side hug and we were too girls enjoying the night life/Singing together in unison /Yes meeting Jody Watley was big fun and definitely a night to remember or one I'll never forget