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(Carly Simon/Jacob Brackman)

The Carter family lived next door for almost 14 years
With Gwen and I inseparable from rag dolls through brassieres
Then Gwen began to bore me with her giggles and her fears
The day the Carters moved away, I had to fake my tears
I told new friends Gwen Carter had become a silly pest
And then I found I missed her more than I'd ever have guessed

Grandma used to nag at me to straighten up my spine
To act respectful and read good books
To take care of what was mine
I hated being criticized and asking her permission
So what if her advise was wise, It always hurt to listen
I didn't cry when Granny died, she made me so depressed
And then I found I missed her more than I'd ever have guessed

You used to make me moan in bed, but that can't be enough
My friends complained your jokes were crude,
Your manners were too rough
Don't know just what I wanted, but I know I wanted more
Someone smooth, presentable, to blend with my decor
And now at night I think of how you grinned when you undressed
And I find I miss you more than I'd ever have guessed.



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/c/carly_simon/the_carter_family.html

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    basil_sOct 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm
    I cannot imagine why anyone can "hate" this song. More likely it touches a raw nerve. It says more than 'you don't know what you've got till its gone' although that is part of it. Certainly it is the fact that it is now gone that triggers the regret.
    The regret is that it was there but you could not see its value. And worse, you threw it away for shallow reasons. Gwen because she was not 'cool' enough; Grandma because her advice was taked as criticism and the boyfriend because of what other people thought. They were cast aside for reasons no deeper than fashion or image.
    It is not a complex song but makes its point directly and confronts the listener. Grannies are always irreplaceable but Gwen may not seem so at first. However, no-one else Carly meets can ever live those 14 years with her or bring the same shared intimacy to that relationship. She has lost part of her life and a worthy friend. I have been married for 26 years and I would miss her terribly for many reasons. One is that no-one else on Earth can ever share those 26 years with me but her.
    I find it a lovely song - poignant and bitter-sweet; a song of regretful advice worth taking. [if the song is based on fact I hope Carly made the phone call].
    Basil.

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