I was driving home from the store on Sunday when a song came on the radio that I had a very unusual reaction to (for me anyway). I started bopping and giggling and waving my hands like I was meeting up with a favorite friend after a losing touch for many years. While there are many old songs that are still played in heavy rotation, particularly if you listen to the decade channels on satellite radio like I do, some nuggets remain underground like buried treasure. This was definitely one of those nuggets.
I promptly pulled the car over to the curb and found the voice recorder on my phone and recorded a little bit of the song, I then texted the song over to my most old-school music savvy friend and within seconds she had texted me back the lyrics to the opening two lines of the song.
I sat on the side of the road and let the song play out. Then a familiar voice came on the radio and announced that I had been listening to "Gimme Dat Ding" by The Pipkins. I looked at the display of my satellite radio and saw that the title of the show I was listening to was "Casey Casem Tribute", which let me know that Casey Casem had passed away.
In that moment, I felt a mix of sadness and joy as I recalled the decade of the 70's and how much Casey Casem was a part of it and of my childhood memories. When I was a kid, not a weekend went by that I did not catch an episode of Scooby Do, so that I could see the shenanigans of Shaggy and Scooby. I didn't know at the time that Shaggy was voiced by Casey Casem, but I knew he was my favorite character. Another weekend fixture was the American Top 40 broadcast, which my mom always had on in the living room, playing nice and loud so that she could hear it while she was working in the kitchen.
It's under truly sad circumstances that the world lost Casey Casem this past weekend. The illness that he suffered from is one that I have a personal familiarity with, as a close relative of mine is currently battling the same illness. It is a cruel diagnosis and one that brings unfathomable suffering. But perhaps even more brutal than the illness itself was the ugly family battle that played out in the press between his current wife and his children from a prior marriage. It is impossible to understand how family drama was allowed to take center stage in the life of a man that was suffering so greatly. It was neither a dignified nor fitting closure for someone who brought so much joy and so many memories to so many people.
This week, there are many of us sitting out in the dark, listening to the silky and familiar voice of Casey Casem and recalling milestones of our own lives that he has helped us to mark along the way. I know that he provided the soundtrack to my childhood and lots of laughs through the original slacker, Shaggy. And even today, long after his last broadcast, I can be made giddy by a silly song on the radio and comforted by his familiar voice. Thanks Casey. Thanks for the memories and all the good times.
If you'd like to learn more about Lewy Body Dementia, follow this link.
If you'd like to bop in your seat to the silliest one hit wonder of the seventies, click below.