Songs in the Key of Scott Bleifer






At my 20th High School Reunion, I lost my drink ticket and Scott Bleifer stepped beside me at the bar and handed me a glass of wine.  We laughed about old times and made plans to get together. That was the last time I saw him. On September 10, 2005, a catering truck struck him and another cyclist on Pacific Coast Highway.

This September is our 30th High School reunion and, chances are, I’ll be driving there in my hybrid Lexus, listening to songs in the key of Scott. Satellite Radio beats a magic lamp. No genie appears to grant me three wishes but anytime I want to channel my reckless seventeen-year-old self, I turn to 1st Wave.

Back in ’82 my wheels weren’t so swank. I drove a used Chevy Citation, which everyone called The Silver Snail.  With its synthetic blue interior, tinny am-fm radio and, courtesy of a faulty catalytic convertor, stench of rotten eggs I was well on my way to social outcast status. Scott’s solution: “You need a decent sound system.” Customized stereo systems were a new trend that Scott had already tapped into.

I scrimped until White Lines (Don’t Do it) by Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five, The Look of Love by ABC and Tainted Love by Soft Cell pumped out of my new stereo system.

It was easier to skirt the nerd issue whenever Scott drove. He took me to the Beverly Hills public library to “study” or Haagen Daz on Canon for a scoop. I counted on hearing new bands every time; Devo, The Plimsouls, and my favorite – Joe Jackson.

The essence of cool, he secured Joe Jackson tickets for us.  Unfortunately, the punk rock crowd slam-danced to Kinda Cute and Jackson called us a bunch of bungholes and left. Scott rescued the night at Larry Parkers’ on Beverly Drive with fries and shakes to cheer me up. We used their free tabletop phones and the gang showed up, cramming into our booth, eating our fries and joking around.

Scott turned things around like that. Later that year we flashed what I believed to be credible-looking fake ID’s at the door to The Roxy on Sunset Boulevard. They chased us off. My plan to use the club as the subject for my photography final went kaput. Desperate, I popped off a few blurry shots. Scott eyed a tricked-out Bentley purring down the Strip and snatched the Pentax. His shot was outstanding. Scott shrugged. “Use it for your final.” Yes he/I earned the A.

After graduation, a bunch of us went to Europe. We looked like dumb tourists while Scott stood out as a seasoned traveler when he disappeared in London one afternoon and returned with albums unavailable back home.

Thirty years later, I still see Scott’s devilish grin in my mind’s eye each time the Swedish Egil or Richard Blade DJs on 1st Wave. I know that I’m not alone when I toast Scott and hope he’s rocking out to Q-Feel’s Dancing in Heaven.



Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 9 comments. Add yours

  1. 14th July 2012 | susan kolko says: Reply
    How beautifully written. I didn't know Scott but I can only hope that someone writes about my brother, who had a fatal accident at age 21, with the same kind of tribute, style and memory that you just did.
  2. 12th July 2012 | karen says: Reply
    Once again, another great story...Made me smile, brought tears to my eyes...and I didn't even know Scott. It is a wonderful way, to keep his memory alive..he sounded like a good soul, much like you!! Have a wonderful time at the reunion, and stolling down memory lane...
  3. 11th July 2012 | TEDDI "COHEN" GILDERMAN says: Reply
    Oh Cindy, You are such a terrific writer and so heartfelt. I always enjoy reading your posts, but this memorial of a wonderful guy is one of my absolute favorites so far! Thanks for the "dance" down memory lane. Also, FYI, the day I got to San Diego State University for my freshman year, joe jackson was playing at the school amphitheater and instead of going to the "dorm" orientation, we went to see him. We got the last 2 seats and sat in the last row of the outdoor amphitheater. It must've been post punk for Jackson because we sang our hearts out to his "new" album, Night and Day and we cried to "play us a slow song".... Fabulous show and I still listen to that album! Keep plugging the reunion too, if you will :) Again, thanks for the Scott tribute! xo Teddi
  4. 11th July 2012 | Alan says: Reply
    Scott was a good soul...
  5. 11th July 2012 | Michelle says: Reply
    Just read your touching toast to your friend Scott. My brother in law, Howard, was married to his sister, Karen, for 'a minute'! I didn't know him well, so to read your memories of time together was so wonderful. I recall the day the tragic accident happened that took his life. He is gone, but you are keeping a beautiful memory of him alive. xoxo, Michelle
  6. 11th July 2012 | Karen Sternfeld says: Reply
    A beautiful tribute to how friends and loved ones can make such important imprints our souls…and how precious and precarious life is. Thank you.
  7. 11th July 2012 | Hayley says: Reply
    That's a beautiful tribute to Scott. What a perfect way to remember him at your 30th High School reunion! Have a fun time at the reunion and walking down memory lane!
  8. 11th July 2012 | Robin says: Reply
    So love to read your stories! They are so enjoyable and fun to read. Thank you ;) xo
  9. 11th July 2012 | Ellie may says: Reply
    Youve done It again BH Mom. A funny and heartwarming tribute to your friend.

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