DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry Two Hundred Thirty-Seven.
Sunday, 2020.12.06, 12:57 PM central time.

Meatball subs, baklava, and so many memories...
Current Mood:  Nostalgic again...
Current Scent:  Unknown.  (This was originally posted on Facebook and then reposted here and dated retroactively.)

This was an unorthodox breakfast, and one that was impossible to eat in a not-at-all-messy-as-hell manner.  About an hour before last night's special birthday "KTOW tribute" edition of Radio SRO, I was at Whole Foods getting the ingredients for homemade veggie meatball subs.  I'd picked up some baklava from the Baklava Bakery (around 71st & Sheridan, just down Bravo's Mexican restaurant), and it was all done for a specific purpose.

To remember.

I tend to tie in the replication of past experiences/elements with the enhancement of certain memories.  It's the closest I can get to a time machine.

But what do a meatball sub and a piece of baklava mean to me insofar as memories go?

A lot, actually.

I touched on part of this during the broadcast last night, but there are two very specific memories I have from this:

1.   When I was first getting into the DJ industry as part of Dave French's company, I started voraciously going out and buying 12" singles of club music.  My parents started a near-regular weekend ritual of taking me to Tulsa from Claremore, with the main destination being 51st and Sheridan.  We would stop at My Heroes, a sub shop in the farm owned by a friend named Bassil Abdi.  (Technically, that's pronounced Buh-SEAL, but at the time, we called him "Basil.")

Dad had known Bassil from a previous place of employment... and Bassil was a hell of a nice guy.  He used to say that if you did something nice for someone, you would get repaid ten times over.  I would always get a meatball sub, and he made AWESOME meatball subs.  Sometimes I'd get some baklava, too.  It wasn't my first time having meatball subs or baklava, but it was a really special weekly meal.

Then, I would leave the place early.  Sometimes, I would drop by the Baskin-Robbins location next door and see if my old school friend Michelle Hopkins was working.  Normally, I would just head straight across the street - walking across Sheridan Avenue - to the large Buttons music shop across the street.

At Buttons, I would go through their racks of $3.99 12" singles (and, sometimes, peruse their cassette singles) to see what new music I could buy.  Once I had done whatever business needed to be done there, I would walk across 51st Place to Mohawk Music to visit the staff there and buy even more music.

Once they were done chatting with Bassil, my parents would drive over to Mohawk and park in front to wait for me to finish up and come back out.

During the whole trip, I was usually allowed to listen to KTOW in the car, soaking in the new, offbeat, and wonderfully alternative music.  It was a really nice routine, and one that I miss deeply.

Now, after changing businesses repeatedly, the old Buttons building is Earle's Party Supply.  The Mohawk Music building has been gone for years, and at the time of this writing QuikTrip is finally moving ahead with their expansion to use that real estate for their 51st & Sheridan location.  KTOW, of course, changed formats almost thirty years ago.  The Baskin-Robbins location is long-gone.  I haven't chatted with Michelle for decades.  Both my parents have now been dead for over ten years.  And Bassil Abdi, who closed My Heroes in the the very early 1990s, ended up becoming a convicted child sex offender.

The times certainly change.  And I certainly miss those trips to Tulsa.

2.  This one is more specific.  December 1988, in particular.   I had turned just turned 17, maybe that day, maybe a day or two earlier.  Earlier that year, I had discovered import 12" singles, and for my birthday, my parents bought me a decent stack of vinyl including some Depeche Mode 12"s that I hadn't yet acquired, such as the UK 12" of "New Life" with the Rio Mix of "Shout." Then mom took me to Tulsa for another dinner-and-music run.

I think I had somehow managed to get into Tulsa's Beat Club with friends the night before, because I remember knowing about even more new music, and during this trip (or one very soon after it), I picked up 12" singles of Ministry's lengthy "Halloween Remix" and Information Society's "Walking Away."

I don't know why we didn't go to My Heroes that night.  It didn't have anything to do with Bassil's offenses, because he never tried anything with me and his crimes had not yet come to light.  But, for some reason, Mom and I ended up at the Bill & Ruths tucked back behind Buttons... a restaurant that is still in its 51st Place location all these years later.  I very likely chose it because I hadn't been to a Bill & Ruth's for ages, and I'd missed it.

In any case, Mom and I got sandwiches and I got some excellent baklava.   We probably talked about music, about Depeche Mode, about school, and about comic books.  It was a special birthday dinner with someone who always supported my creative efforts. I sure miss my mom.

So, whenever I eat a meatball sub (these days, always with veggie meatballs), and every time I eat baklava, I think of that particular night.  The memories of hunting down DM singles, acquiring new club tunes, and listening to KTOW come flooding back.

That's why I had a homemade veggie meatball sub for dinner last night during the KTOW broadcast, and why I ate a wildly unhealthy amount of baklava last night after going off the air.

I may never get the ability to traverse the dimensions and actually go back in time... but sometimes it's nice to do what I can to remember - as fully as possible - those days gone by.


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