From Elmo to Guns ‘n Roses, Richard Swerdlow’s nephew has grown up awfully fast.
The rock concert was in full swing. Ear-splitting music had the place rocking out. The crowd roared as the guitar player played intricate licks, bopping up down, shaking flowing rock-star hair, singing harmony as he expertly strummed chords for the Guns 'n Roses tune.
But singing wasn't really new for him. I should know, he's my nephew Max and he and I spent many a babysitting evening singing together.
As a toddler, though, his musical choices were slightly different - more Sesame Street than Steppenwolf. At age 5, his signature tune was "Sing a Song" performed by a fuzzy red puppet named Elmo. A tiny Max and I would sing along. “Sing, sing a song," we belted together, more Ethel than Elmo, “Sing out loud, sing out strong."
And sing out strong he did. In the soap opera world of teenagehood, where every small crisis looms large, Elmo's simple song seemed to contain a useful philosophy for getting through high school.