Rose is Rose is a comic strip that appears in The Boston Globe. Rose is a wife, a mother, and a cat owner, with the attendant husband, child and cat. She also has an alter ego, a kick-ass, rock ‘n roll-biker chick named Vicki. Rose spends a lot of time revisiting her youth, sometimes going all the way back to when she was a little girl, too young to ride a bike much less a motorcycle. In this representative strip, we see her as both little girl and biker chick. I love Rose, especially when she’s channeling Vicki.
Vicki embodies all the feelings Rose keeps tucked away inside because she never was a kick-ass, rock ‘n roll-biker chick. I, on other hand, saw myself as Vicki-like when I was young. To be fair, I never actually kicked anyone’s ass and the biggest motorcycle I ever drove was a 125cc Honda, but still, Vicki and the younger version of me have more in common than Vicki and Rose ever did.
Even as I phased out the physical trappings of edgy I remained stubbornly nostalgic for it all. When I got married, to a manifestly non-kick ass, non-rock ‘n roll, non-biker guy, my friend, Mary, gave me a card with a picture of a bride wearing a leather jacket and cowboy boots. I will never forget how grateful I felt to have her honor that part of me at that particular crossroad in my life.
I continue to regard my younger self fondly, with all her rough edges. If I had my life to live over again, I might not change anything. After all, if a butterfly can cause a tsunami, one small deviation might change the entire course of my life! I couldn’t risk that, not when I managed to end up with the world’s best husband and most marvelous daughter. And while my life is nothing like I pictured it would be when I was younger, it is a pretty darn good life. Still, when I see Vicki in Rose is Rose…
Recently, I had the opportunity to step back in time for an evening, to a charity event for Right Turn, “a creative place for recovery.” The event was at Royale in Boston and featured a bunch of local bands from back in the day. I went with my friend, Susan, who I’ve known since we were both in college and working at the Strawberries record store in Harvard Square with Carter Alan, then an aspiring DJ. Carter, currently heard on WZLX, introduced Jon Butcher promptly at 6:45pm.
What followed represented a cross-section of Boston rock and roll from the 80s, from new wave darlings, Robin Lane and the Chartbusters, to everyone’s favorite bar band, The Stompers. The Fools and Lizzie Borden and the Axes played, as did Charlie Farren. Even New England came back together for a set. I said hello to Johnny A., but missed the blues he served up later in the evening because by 10:30pm, I was ready to go. My 7:45am appointment with the endodontist the next morning was a handy excuse, but the truth is, I was wiped. I know I will never be too old for rock and roll—as long as I can be in bed by 11.