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Was track eight of side one on his seventh studio album, "The Innocent Age", and the album reached #6 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart... And when you run into them, they all come flooding back into your memory. For me and my first love, it's the summer breeze, the restaurant we used to work at together, the smell of his laundry detergent, a CD he used to play on repeat in his car, and his smile.
Three other tracks from the album also made the Top 100; "Hard to Say" (#7), "Leader of the Band" (#9), and "Run for the Roses" (#18)... I see him from time to time and I look back and fondly remember the time where we thought we were going to be together forever.
Yet, a caution: if you are thinking of contacting a youthful lover (note Fogelberg's choice of "lover," not "girlfriend," as Camille points out), seriously reconsider.
After about 30 years, I returned home and looked up the guy who broke my heart when I was 18 (and he was about 23). Yeah, kinda dumb -- but I had never forgotten the hurt. I went over to his place, to pick him up and go out for a drink, catch up on old times, and who knows, right? Here was a man who used to be athletic, handsome, on his game, smart and funny, with this honest-for-real twinkle in his eye, who was now somewhere lost in the midst of this old man I stood before.
It is the way we relate to all poetry and "Same Old Lang Syne" is certainly poetry. Two times in my life I managed to "reach beyond the emptiness" and reconnect with former loves.
The first time was with my "first love" and there was a good deal of real pain involved with the breakup. But I did reach out decades later and, even though things didn't ultimately work out, the time we did manage to steal for ourselves and spend together was magical and remains among the happiest memories of my life. In the second, following a number of years apart, she reached out to me in a letter and we are still together, 13 happy years later. This song was released when I was in college, while I was in the throes of an intense romance.
Why not just exchange numbers and talk on the phone if this wasn't more?
That indeed seems to be the case with these two former lovers, meeting by chance at a convenience store. Then, as the last verse describes him suddenly being "back at school", feeling "that old familiar pain", and the snow turning "into rain" suggests, there is unfinished business there.That twinkle in his eye flashed now and then, and it only made it all the more sad. I must admit that it almost brings me to tears every time I hear it because it strikes so close to home.As in the song, we ran out of things to say; and yet, still, I felt "that old familiar pain." I never did ask him why he left; and I realized it wasn't important to know. This beautifully sad story is one most everyone can relate to and find tucked away in the most protected part of our hearts.He isn't married at the time (not until 1982) and her marriage seems on a downward spiral.
Now we can't possible know what was in the heads and hearts of Dan and Jill all those many years ago. But in a sense, it almost doesn't matter because the song belongs to all of us now.
Being out was new to me, and it was obviously (from my now mature perspective) a very deep infatuation. It was the first time in my life I was actually stunned beyond words.