Nice Jewish Boy Gets Funky

Dear Michael and Caroline,

I performed in a high school talent show when I was either 17 or 18, in 1970. I’d always loved just about anything Motown, and so my friends Larry and Eric and I got together to do the Temptations number, “Cloud Nine,” lip-synching of course.

I forgot who came up with the idea, though I’d like to believe it was me. We practiced, the three of us, at our house, in my bedroom. We played the song again and again, doing our dance moves in unison, choreographing how each of us would step forward for a solo.

We made for an interesting trio. Larry studied hard, got good grades and was outgoing, a good friend who once stopped a jealous boyfriend from trying to beat me up. Eric was almost his opposite, a loveable, happy-go-lucky goofball, indifferent to scholastics. You could say I was somewhere in between those two.

Oh, and we all played basketball.

Still, what brought us together here was our love of soul music. We loved it all, from the Temps to the Four Tops to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Martha and the Vandellas, the Supremes, Gladys Knight, the Jackson Five. We loved it because it made us all want to move, to dance. Somehow that sound from the gritty city of Detroit, that black sound, spoke to three white teenagers in the comfy suburbs of New Jersey.

All I remember from our practice sessions was Eric accidentally broke the cover to my record player. But I think we must have had fun and felt excited about doing our little tribute to the Temptations. The Temps were riding high then, probably the best known and best-selling Motown entertainers.

I wish I could remember what we wore, whether we all matched, just as the Temps did. I also wish someone had taken a picture so I could show it to you now, just in case you doubt your father once pulled this stunt.

As for our appearance on stage, it was a blast.

P.S. – See part 2 tomorrow.

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