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Memories and music


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Oh dear....(sigh) the beginning of something is always the most awkward part...so I’m just going to break in by making conversation with my imaginary audience and if I get a reply, whoa!  I’ll have to give my imagination some major credit!

 

I thought I would start by commenting about one of a few amazing abilities music has.  The ability to bring forth memories.  

 

My earliest recollections of my personal taste in music began with those vinyl 45s.  I had some stories such as Snow White and the 7 dwarfs put out by Disney accompanied by a reading book.  I learned to follow along even though I couldn’t yet read by turning the page every time I heard the chime on the record.  I had also seen the Disney movie and learned the songs.  When I was outside I naively thought if I just delicately held up my arms with first finger extended like Snow White did and sang beautifully/sweet enough, the birds would come land on my fingers. (It didn’t work).  

 

Another favorite of mine was a Sesame Street record where Cookie Monster sang “C” is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me” and Ernie sang a different track that went  “D,d,d, d, d is a vey nice letter, every day I like it better, that lovely letter called D,d,d, oh yeah! That lovely letter called D”.

 

I remember taking a nap every day on the couch while my mother folded laundry and as I was dozing off, I’d hear “As the sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives” followed by the theme song tinkling it’s piano tune, dun, dun, dun, dun, DUN, dun dun, dun...”zzzzz”, sorry, don’t recall the rest as I was is Lala land.

 

I recall skipping along a little golden book imaginary brick road that my brother, some kids my mother babysat and I had laid out down our hallway through the living room and into the kitchen.  We would start at the beginning linking arm in arm saying, “Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road, (then sing-songy) Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road”  

 

I also remember my brother and I standing beneath the maple tree we so often swang from (rope swing) and climbed on and looking up as the seeds fell (they looked like bras fluttering down) and we would sing “Shake, shake, shake your boobies (instead of “booties”) while we shook our non-existing chests thinking we were getting away with something we weren’t supposed to say or do.  We would giggle like mad as we did.

 

As I grew a little older, I remember listening to Pat Benetar on vinyl 45.  “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” and a song with a big green apple on the label of the vinyl with the song “My Sweet Lord” and I listened to them over and over and over.

 

I have memories of riding to church with my dad on Sunday mornings headed to a late service at a different church. He would play 8 track cassettes in his truck and together we would sing, “King of the Road”.  I knew it by heart.

 

I recall my older sister and her two friends outside with her friends playing “Hot Stuff” by  Donna Summers, pausing and rewinding the tape cassette as they were making up coordinated dance moves to the song.  I soon discovered my sister did not want me hanging out with her and her friends and she certainly didn’t want me imitating her dance moves.

 

As I got into 5th grade I encountered  stage fright after my friend convinced me to perform a dance with her to the song, Elvira, that she made up.  I knew the dance well enough, but panicked on stage and zipped through the steps as fast as I could  not minding time with the music and zipped off stage after all the steps were completed.  She wasn’t too happy with me.

 

I remember my fifth grade teacher, Mr. B. and all the things he used to do to shock his students (like scrape his nails across a chalkboard or slam a pile of books on the floor when all the students were looking down, quiet and concentrating on their quiz or test) trying to embarrass a classmate named Sherry by singing, “Sherry, Sherry baby”.  She would turn as bright red as a ripened tomato.

 

As I got into Jr. high, roller skating was a favorite pastime and I loved the free feeling of gliding along on the wheels as my hair trailed behind out of my face and colored light swishing around the light gray floor while the BeeGees tunes were playing.  The faster the song, the faster the skate, the freer I felt.

 

more to come... got to take a bit of a break.

 

(Back)....

 

My Freshman year of high school was darkened near the end of the school year with sorrowful news.  A classmate of mine who was in my homeroom, whom I had been close friends with through Junior High and was in her mid-term of pregnancy, had gotten into a car crash that killed both her and her baby.  Her brother had been the driver and was deeply affected by the whole incident.  The whole school was saddened by these events.  A friend of ours had selected the song, Free Bird, to play over the intercom in memory of her.  Now whenever I hear that song, it brings me back to that memory.

 

I remember when i was a freshman, there was a guy rumored to have interest in me (all I ever heard was rumors--no confirmation).  Sometimes we would speak on the phone and he would mess around with his electric guitar while we were talking.  I heard him playing "Stairway to Heaven" and would ask him to keep playing it.  I was amazed with his talent.   Whenever I hear that song, I think of that moment.

 

Round about my Junior year, I had a homeroom classmate who did take an interest and let it be known.  He was sort of a dark and brooding fellow.  Jeans, t-shirt, black leather jacket (also played electric guitar). Apparently, he always wanted to know what I was thinking when I was sitting in the window looking outside.  He called me sometimes and also wrote these amazing letters with such interesting character to his handwriting--long letters at that and many.  He asked me out, but I was just not interested in anything but a friendship.

 

 He was more of a romantic than me.  I wasn't ready for that kind of seriousness.  I wasn't ready for kissing or any of that stuff.  However, we remained friends.  He was a huge fan of Pink Floyd.  He was the one who introduced me to Pink Floyd.  I thought their music was a little bit creepy back then, but it grew on me.  I recall one letter he wrote me, he said he was in a tent at night with his good friend (who was interested in my best friend) and they were listening to who else?  Pink Floyd!  Particularly, "Wish You Were Here".  He said it made him think of me.  Now whenever I hear that song, I relate it to him.  He used to walk with his friend very long distances to leave notes, roses and candy bars for me on an old 57 Chevy that my brother-in-law was trying to sell on our lawn (see what a stupid girl I was back then!)  But then my dad took his truck and chased him and his friend down the road (cause he heard a noise outside) with a rifle in his truck and asked them if they had been on his property.  They denied it.  Wouldn't you?  He wanted me to watch some of the Pink Floyd videos, which I did and Whoa! that scene with the meat grinder just about turned my stomach.  Ewwww....

 

There were high school dances and all the gals lined up on one side of the dance line and all the guys lined up facing them about six feet away (except for the ones dancing away off making out).  You'd think we were going to do the dosey doe, but no.  There were regular favorite rock songs played each dance.  I recall this one girl, long bushy curly dirty blonde hair and she danced in a world all her own, rolling her head to the music, taking up her personal space and twisting her body (she was a dancer) to the music of a song I don't know the name of or the group, but I remember very key sounds of the song. I wish I knew what it was called.  I don't hear it much on the radio.   The guys jaws dropped.  She definitely had their audience.

 

I met my now husband my Senior year.  He had graduated from a different school a year before.  He called me every morning and every night.  We went on a number of dates and ironically lived just a short ways from each other, though we had never known each other until....well, too much to write here...got to keep some things personal.  He had this really nice truck he and his dad had refurbished with a very unique, attractive 5 colored zigzag on the side of a conservative navy colored paint job.  I could hear the truck rumbling up my driveway before I ever saw it.  However, he was a very conscientious driver and I was allowed to ride with him.  He had an amazing stereo system and some incredible tweeters in his truck and he loved to adjust his radio balance, treble, etc for perfection and it sounded REALLY GOOD.  I used to wear a sailor dress sometimes and I had long blonde hair/blue eyes and one day he wanted to play a song for me on his stereo, so he popped in tape of the Bellamy Brothers, "Do You Love as Good as You Look".  I must have turned the color of a tomato I was so embarrassed.  One of the bands I just loved to listen to that he played on that stereo was The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, particularly Mr. Bojangles and Fishing In the Dark---ahhh...they sounded soooo good on that stereo.  I can still remember how my chest rumbled when the drums did their thing in Fishing in the Dark.  Cool Change by the Little River Band was another favorite.

 

At that time country hadn't been so pummeled into my music world as it had later been and I enjoyed some of it.  He and I attended a Clint Black concert, a Kathy Matthea concert, and a Vince Gill concert.  Clint Black's Killin' Time and Put Yourself In My Shoes and Nobody's Home are three other songs that will forever emblazon him and that truck and those times in my mind.  I drew the line with Dwight Yoakam's twangy country sound, dug my heals in, but eventually secretively grew to like him (Shhhh....my husband can't know).

 

He pinned me down (haha, little personal joke there) and proposed to me around the Christmas after I graduated and we were married a year and five months later.  Our dance song was Alabama's, "Forever's as Far as I'll Go".  I dare say he meant it.  He's still with me, lol!

 

I could go on, but I think this is a good place to stop.  What songs do you hear that call up detailed memories for you?  Where you were, who you were with, how it made you feel, and does it make you feel things all over again?  What powerful memories does music bring for you?

 

 

 

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I watched that youtube clip, @ImKeN  I HAVE seen it before as part of a larger documentary.  It was touching--made me teary--happy/sad teary.  I wish I could remember what its called.  I think I re-posted it on my fb a looooong time ago. I may be able to find it.  I think it was during the experimental phase of them using the ipods to introduce favored music to the nursing home clients. Not only was I fascinated with it, but quite tickled with how it brought out each person's personality and emotion.  

 

I watched a few more that were featured after your posted youtube, too.  One showed the activity going on in the brain of a woman being hooked up to imaging and listening to some of her chosen music.  The brain lit up all over.  Quite amazing to see, but I particularly like the ones of those people struggling with dementia or mental illness who don''t respond to anything, and then you play familiar music to them and.....  Those are the ones where it captures something special.  They should do that ipod thing in EVERY nursing home, every  care facility.  It brings them to life!

 

Years before I had seen that clip, there was a woman I used to visit.  I didn't previously know her, but long story short, I'd visit her periodically to read Bible passages to her and sing her hymns.  She had a brain injury that left her unable to move from the neck down and rendered her highly emotional.  She was in long-term care.  Sometimes I'd bring my kids in.  She loved that.  She LOVED hymn-type music.  She'd sob every time, but it was because it touched her somewhere deep inside.  One nurse didn't like that she got emotional and even scolded her for it.  I had left a CD of music (one of my fav's) with her because she liked it, but she told me her son took it away.   

 

She was so reliant on everyone else to tend her every need.  I think the best thing that could have been done for her is to allow her to enjoy her music and let her escape to a brighter reality.  Music does that as well as evokes memories.  Music has so many amazing powers.

Edited by Pahchisme Plaid
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Its a difficult situation, really. Hopefully there's a middle ground where both, caregiver and patient, can be better off. I have to watch the full documentary! :)

 

 

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