Soul Sister

I’ll set the scene.

The 4-foot long windowsill in the spare bedroom of my childhood house.


Me, in all my 6-year-old crimped hair glory, dressed in either my dance recital outfit or a “Get In Shape Girl” leotard complete with leg warmers, bangle bracelets and my own personal touch—two foam balls shoved into my shirt to emulate cleavage, a practice I may or may not still employ today.

“I know you like what you see.”

An enormously bulky boom box was situated in the corner. After visualizing my upcoming performance, I would adjust my jelly sandals and run to it, hitting “play” before quickly sprinting back to the stage mark on the windowsill before the music started.

“And if you want more, if you want more, more, more, more.”

When it did, I would brandish my “Barbie & the Rockers” microphone and launch into what I can only assume was a Star Search worthy rendition of “Jump (For My Love,)” waiting for that chorus so I could literally jump off the windowsill for dramatic effect.

“Jump, I know my heart can make you happy.”

These concerts went on for quite some time, and I must have been rather impressive for my mom relented and took me to see the Pointer Sisters live. While I had no idea what exactly a “Neutron Dance” was—and come to think of it, still don’t to this day—I did just that on the chairs throughout the whole concert.

“When you are next to me, oh I come alive.”

I’ve since been told that my mom’s greatest fear wasn’t that I would fall through the collapsible chairs I was dancing on, but rather that the smell of pot wafting through the air—thick enough to give a contact buzz to half the crowd at Woodstock—would linger in my hair for weeks.

However, I would like to think that it was my Day-Glo Swatch watch and a chronic love of the music, not second-hand chronic itself, that fueled my Pointer passion.

“Jump, jump for my love.”

Regardless, it was simply a warm-up for my second act years later, one that would include switching from jumping (for my love) to lip syncing Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love” in the front yard for only 25 cents a ticket.

Hey, times were tight in the ’80s and a diva needs her bangles—and foam balls.

Some things never change.

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24 responses to “Soul Sister

    I didn’t charge for my performances, thinking back I should have. 😉
    and my go to song, “Lady, You Bring Me Up” by the Commodores, cause Lionel Richie was awesome.

    at least once a week, John will say to me, “I think you are a beautful black woman trapped in a white girl’s body honey.” and I nod and imagine being Patti LaBelle.

    this made me giggle and brought back so many silly, fun memories of putting on shows with my sister Dana. I’m going to send her this post.


    • Ha! My mom once texted me, “I wish I was a soul-singing black woman.” We all missed our calling! 😉

      • seriously, when I’m alone, All I want to belt out is Whitney, Aretha, Mary J, Alicia and Patti…
        there is something so strong in those VOICES and Lives.

  2. I will have you know, I still have a Pointer Sister cassette tape in my car. And my car still has a tape deck! The cassette has seen better days, though.

  3. That was too cute! I can picture it all!

  4. Thank you so much, Abby- I have been trying to remember the name of the pastel-hued, 80’s workout gear for young girls that I was obsessed with when I was younger. The headbands, the weighted bangles, the ribbons attached to sticks- they all made me feel like I was queen of the world. I’ve been trying to describe it to my husband but couldn’t remember the name. Now I was able to look up a Get In Shape Girl commercial on YouTube so he could see who I really was back then.

    And I liked to perform concerts too. However, I was way more into stuffing my shirt with wiffle balls and acting out Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl,” while lip syncing it. Never mind that it was a man’s voice I was singing with, while dressed as a woman. When that failed, I would always pull out my rendition of “You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings,” of which I only knew the chorus.

    Such a great post, Abby- it put the biggest smile on my face. 🙂

    • Yes! I went through a “Beaches” phase as well. So much drama on that front lawn…

      And the sticks with the ribbons? I had those, too. We could have paired up for a rousing drag queen duet complete with rhythmic gymnastics props!

  5. Are you one of my daughters? No, that picture doesn’t look like one of my daughters, but you could be. Or, I could be the way cool, way older sister. 😉

  6. Adorable

    That picture should be on or in your next book.

  7. You are adorable! I always wanted to belt it out like a sista, too.

  8. I can so relate, soul sister. Thanks for the Barbie and the Rockers reminder – I never got the microphone, as I suspect my parents were trying to head off my almost certain meteoric rise to stardom, but I did have the stage! That was some high quality cardboard.

  9. I have never heard of “Get In Shape Girl”, but I did have my fair share of leotardii. I even got up in front of the whole school with five of my friends, in matching purple leos, and danced to the Pac Man song. GEEZ. so happy there were no video cameras around that day…

    my sister and I shared a love for Rick Springfield (he has a song called Kristina!! it was about MEEEEEEE), and would perform elaborate song and dance numbers for our parents. our stereo system had microphones (must be where my love of karaoke comes from…) and we’d choreograph dance moves to accompany our singing.

    we have the most patient parents in the world…

  10. I'[m a great one for getting “Lost in the Music”

  11. So excited… Love the Pointer Sisters! I think I did that same dance… maybe in that same outfit!

  12. My mom has photos of me singing into the stick of a bathroom plunger. We didn’t have fancy “Barbie and the Rocker” toys when I was a kid. And we walked to school uphill both ways. We ate the plunger end of the plunger for dinner and we were GRATEFUL TO HAVE IT!

  13. I think we need a youtube video.

  14. I always figured The Neutron Dance was a metaphor for life and then with also something to do with Beverly Hills Cop because that’s the soundtrack it was on. “Jump” was the song me and my friend would sing standing on top of giant tires in the playground. We should have headlined a tour together.

  15. Oh my word, Abby! You were just the cutest little girl, ever!

    I used to put on “shows” for my family too. But I used a t-shirt on my head for fake hair, and only used a brush to sing into!

  16. I love it! I too made up dances in the living room to songs of the day. It was only recently that I learned the song is Neutron Dance and not Noon-time Dance. That actually made more sense to me. It’s lunch, you get to take a break from work. Of course, you’d want to do a Noon-time Dance…

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