Before I started this mission, I could name a handful of songs from The Moody Blues. Many of the songs were great and probably came from Days of Future Past. Turns out I’ve heard plenty more of their songs and there are a lot more to like.
Egypt Valley Ghost Hunting
It seems like most high school boys go through a phase where they want to get spooked out and go ghost hunting. I thought it was unique to my friends until later in life, coworkers and new friends all start telling their stories. Seems like everyone my age was in a backyard wrestling federation and also frequently visited graveyards on the weekends.
One hot spot in the Ohio Valley was called Egypt Valley. This location was forty-five minutes away from my home in Martins Ferry and very mysterious. There were stories (real or made-up) of hauntings and suspicious activity. My friends said the first rape victim in Ohio was murdered on these grounds. Not sure if those facts check out, but the place was rather spooky.
One weekend, my friends and I decided it was a good time to head out to Egypt Valley. My friend, Erik, drove his Bronco to the gates of Egypt Valley. It was a summer night. The moon was very bright and their was fog in random spots. I remember dirt and gravel roads. There were some old houses (looked abandoned or poorly maintained). We stopped at the local cemetery and walked around a bit.
As you do when walking around a graveyard at midnight, you hear things. It might be a critter in the weeds or maybe a spirit from the 18th century. We traveled there several times, so I don’t recall the exact trip – but I remember one of these trips had us running back to the Bronco in fear from what we heard.
The one memory I have that was for sure the first trip to Egypt Valley was the soundtrack (mix) we had playing in the car. Erik and I had very similar taste in music. We both started listening to The Moody Blues and discovered “Nights in White Satin”. The mix CD shuffled the songs and the song started playing as we were leaving.
It was almost something spiritual or unearthly. We all felt like we were in a trance. I remember looking out of the window, through the fog – at the sky. The music fit the mood perfectly. What really makes this stand out, as we slowly exited the road, the poem at the end of the song starts to recite. There were two big pillars at the end of the road and signified leaving the grounds. Exactly, to the second, we passed through the pillars, the last note from the song played.
Making Chili and Taking Out Trash
I started working at Wendy’s in Martins Ferry at 16. My goal was always to avoid people and make money. The best way to do this was to open the store on the weekends. Minors could work longer hours on the weekends and opening gave you three hours of work before customers could enter.
I was the ‘grill’ opener. My job was to put the chili’s on the stove. They took about three hours to warm up and have ready for open. I did this for years.
When I graduated from High School, I opened the store five days a week. I had this down to a science and could do the entire job in an hour. It was so routine, that I would get bored. I discovered a little pocket radio and found that helped pacify me.
I would listen to the classic rock station and on Sunday they had a special show. This show talked about a classic rock album in detail. Of course, the first episode was on Days of Future Passed. This touch of a documentary about the music helped me appreciate the group and most importantly the album.
Long Drives to Bethany
In 2004, my girlfriend (my wife now) was enrolled at Bethany College in West Virginia. She had a dorm, but we often hung out after class and it made more sense for her to stay over.
This drive was maybe an hour away. It was mostly back roads and was a beast in the winter. I would wake up early in the morning and drive her back to school in time for class. I did this for months.
Technology had advanced and I had a CD burner. I remember making new albums frequently to help pass the two hours I was on the road. I distinctly remember having plenty of The Moody Blues on these CDs. The song “Forever Autumn” always gives me the feeling of driving to Bethany.
Turns out, “Forever Autumn” was done by a singer of The Moody Blues and not the group. More on this later…
80s Bill Hersey and Disney Parks Special
The Moody Blues had a different sound in the ‘80s than they did in the ‘60s. I remember the songs of the eighties – more so than the classic work – because my dad must have had the CDs. “The Other Side of Life” and “Your Wildest Dream” were tracks that I remember hearing from the other room while I played Nintendo.
I didn’t think about these songs for the longest time. In 2015 I started binge watching old Disney Parks TV specials. A major hobby of mine is Disney history. I queued up a few specials on my Apple TV and went to bed. I was pleasantly surprised to wake up in the middle of the night hearing The Moody Blues. Turns out they were a featured act on one of the shows in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. It only enchanted my nostalgic love for these songs.