This one goes out to Boo Trundle (actually, now Elizabeth, but I think I might be one of about four people who can still use her nickname under a grandfather clause), who came to the Jartacular a few weekends ago with family in tow.
I first saw Elizabeth in August 1981, when we were both stuck in Mr. Sims’ homeroom class in middle school at Norfolk Academy – along with Hamp Tucker, Amanda Vaeth, Steve Zahn, and all the rest of us who haunted the end of the alphabet. I immediately pegged her as the “loud, funny, and popular” girl, and she did not disappoint until our graduation in 1985.
detail from the hallway composite of the class of ’85 – yes, I was a virgin, why do you ask
Since I was hermetically sealed as a human being until I got to Carolina, I don’t think I exchanged one word with her in high school, which was saying something, given we had a graduating class of 95 people and her locker was next to mine. I had long mastered the art of being invisible, thanks to my days in public school in Iowa, where bullies and beatings had convinced me to behave like one of those stingrays that cover themselves with sand.
Elizabeth stunned most of her peer group (and the women’s luncheon at the Norfolk Yacht Club, I’d bet) by moving to the East Village after college and becoming a recording artist and fascinating fixture in the then-burgeoning Anti-Folk scene along with the likes of our own Block.
Somewhere along the way, she befriended Monica, who then entered our lives soon after we transitioned to Los Angeles, and in that bizarre happenstance way, I found myself talking to Boo on the phone 25 years after never talking to her when I saw her every day in high school.
She began a wonderful blog, and when she showed up at the farm, she looked exactly the same (minus the eyeliner – what was it with you chicks and eyeliner in the ’80s?) and suddenly her kids are off and running with Lucy.
Together with Monica, she played one of her original songs for the talent show, which was awesome for all kinds of reasons. First, I’d never gotten to see her play back in the East Village, so that was total gravy. But the song itself was so reminiscent – in all the right ways – of how bizarre and fucked-up all of our lives were in the early ’90s. A micro moment for a micro generation, which makes the commiseration all the greater.
Elizabeth (on right) talks to the stunning Erin McKeown in the barn
Nobody needs to be reduced to a metaphor, and lord knows I hope she comes back to imprint new experiences (which is why the Jartacular was invented), but seeing Elizabeth was a wonderful reminder of two eras – high school and those miserable breakdown years of Saturn returning – that I feel proud to have survived. And what a relief that they seem so long ago.