Tijuana Taxi

This post is written in response to a recent Daily Prompt on Word Press: What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes? Admittedly, I have not answered the question, but this is what the prompt inspired:



When I was a child, I lived many lives. I was a teacher, my younger siblings were the students. I was a shop keeper, they were my customers. I owned a horse, and rode across the paddocks at night. I lived, with my horse, in some mysterious, only half-formed place, out of sight, in amongst the trees that were always somewhere in my line of vision as my father drove the family car along country roads. I was a dancer. I was a Spanish woman. I lived in the cubby house my father built out in the backyard, where I fed and sheltered the poor. I had an imaginary friend named Monty. In the dark one night, I saw a menacing knight in shining armour standing guard outside my parents’ bedroom door, forbidding me to come any closer.

Imagination opened up worlds unseen by anyone but me.


For a very long time now though, I’ve been an adult. Along with all the other shortcomings that brings, one of the greatest is the failure of my imagination to so thoroughly take me to another place.

Now that I’m an adult, and even my daydreams are grounded in reality, to experience such complete absorption in imagination, I have to draw on my memory.

But there is a problem with that, because memory fades, and also, at times, deceives.


My memories of childhood are fragmented and sparse, but here is something I do recall:

I recall a special skirt. It was a soft cotton, cream-colored, full, covered in a a pattern of small blue flowers, with a frill around the bottom. It was a “dress-up.” Perhaps it arrived in a bag of “hand-me-downs” from my older cousins. I don’t know where it came from, but I loved this skirt, and reserved it for a special ritual. I may have been pre-school aged at this time, or 5 or 6 at most.

I would ask my mother –  inevitably, in this memory, busy in the kitchen – to play one of her favourite records, Going Places!  by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Mum would put the vinyl album on the old record player in the kitchen, and I would put on my skirt. And in the carpeted hallway, just outside the kitchen, in my frilly skirt, I would dance.

Oh boy, did I dance. Memory, (or is it imagination?) conjures up a picture of a little girl with an earnest face, that is red and sweaty with the exertion of twirling, hopping, and doing the can-can, to Going Places! in her special skirt.

Herb Alpert - Going Places!

Don’t worry, she’s strapped in!

Pic: Wikipedia

My adult memory is too swamped from storing all the minutiae of 40-odd years worth of life, for me to have recalled the name of the album of its own accord, but that is what the internet, and Wikipedia, are for. A search quickly located the specific album, which was easily recognised by the memorable album cover, and by certain track titles. (Interestingly, I remembered the aeroplane on the cover but I’d forgotten the reclining waitress!)

In case you feel tempted to pull out your own special skirt and give it a whirl – and who would blame you? –  highly recommended titles for dancing to – according to my memory – were Tijuana Taxi, Spanish Flea, A Walk In The Black Forest, and, last but by no means least,  Zorba the Greek.

Judging by my approximate age when I was so enamoured with this album, it must have been the mid 70s, and the music was about 10 years old by then. The tunes were jazzy and infectious with a Latin/Mariachi band sound and (as in the track below) the brass section added humorous touches, such as honks, just to liven up the already upbeat mood. No wonder I couldn’t keep my excitable childish feet still listening to them!

And in my head, as I danced frantically in that hallway, it seems to my now-hazy memory that I was some other person.  I’m pretty sure that “other” person was not specific. I was too young to consciously aspire to any particular model of adulthood. If I did have a picture of a female dancer in mind, my limited frame of reference at the time means that she was probably a character from a Looney Tunes cartoon. In a very abstract sense, I was not anyone in particular, but I was not my usual self, and as I twirled in my skirt, I felt an intoxicating sensation of freedom.


When I was young, all it took was a few props, to be transported to some other world that existed only in my imagination. Nowadays, it doesn’t tend to have that same effect, but some music can certainly transport me back, to days that no longer exist, except as images stored in my hazy memory.

Oh, and dancing? I still love that feeling of being someone else that it gives me, but that’s a story for another time.

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass – Tijuana Taxi – courtesy of Youtube

Leave a comment


  1. Gede Prama

     /  March 23, 2014

    Well written. May peace be with you 🙂


  2. That’s a lovely memory. For me certain music can trigger memories quite easily, things I’d completely forgotten.


    • It can, can’t it! By our 40’s I imagine that human brains must be jam-packed full of memories, some of which are shoved away in dusty suitcases & can only be unlocked by certain pieces of music, or a certain smell (another very memory-evoking thing).


  3. Paul Kyle

     /  February 9, 2021

    Two minutes and eight seconds, the time it took at the end of recess to get from the furthest corner of the playground to the line-up to get back into class to the tune of “Tijuana Taxi” coming over the “broadcast”. Every school day for 6 years, mid to late 70’s, suburban Melbourne. Every. Day. Except when they played “A Walk in the Black Forest”, my favourite of the two, and for a brief period in 1978, “Up There, Cazaly!” – stopped when it became clear youthful and exuberant boys were deliberately hanging back to be last to the line-up so they could take a speccy over the pack. Aaah, happy memories especially on a hot February afternoon or a shivering cold July morning, making it to the line up just before the final honk in Tijuana Taxi. That school has gone now, my memories torn down mid-90’s to make way for housing… I enjoy your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi again, Paul! Thanks again for your comment on another old post. It’s very heartwarming that a fellow Melburnian finds something to enjoy in these posts. You’re obviously a music fan, too! You’ve got some pretty entertaining memories as well. I had a bit of a giggle reading your description of boys wanting to “take a speccy over the pack” & could picture them jostling their way to the back of the line after recess in order to do that. I went to a small primary school in a country town & footy was everything to the boys (not the girls, back then) and there were more boys than girls in my grade – I remember that restless, half-fun but half-serious, competitive boy-energy well. I think the Egg-flip Big M in lunch orders must have been around the same time as Up There Cazaly, as that’s what came to my mind when I read that!


  1. NaPoWriMo – Poem / Poetry – “Facing The Music” | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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