Friday, June 4, 2010

Melodies and Memories

There is a song that was popular around the time I graduated from high school/embarked upon college - popular with the country-western crowd that is. Yes, I was country when country wasn't cool - down to my redneck pickup truck and cowboy boots - but that is the topic of another post....

The song was by Clint Black - and the chorus went something like this

'ain't it funny how a melody
can bring back a memory
take you to another place in time
completely change your frame of mind'

Remember it now? (Yes, you may have to admit you were country too if you actually recall it.)

Anyway, the words of that chorus keep coming to mind these days, over and over, as simple songs or melodies bring back a flood of memories.

Case in point - the little clip-on music/noise machine that we use on Jack's crib. It came with the pack-n-play we purchased when Anna was a baby - and even though I've used it for three kids umpteen-thousand times - I never stopped long enough to really listen to the music it played.

One of the settings plays a medley of classical overtures - one of which is Debussy's 'Clair de Lune' - a tune I've always found somewhat haunting. The other night when I was readying Jack for bed (and he was NOT interested in sleep-time) I pushed the button to hopefully provide some calming peace as we transitioned towards his bedtime.

I sat in the rocking chair and pulled him close - and started absent-mindedly humming along to the tune.

It was then that I realized it was indeed 'Clair de Lune' - it was then that I realized it was a song my father used to play for me on the piano.

My heart was suddenly filled with a mixture of emotions - knee-crippling grief over knowing my father is gone - and I'll never ever hear him play the piano again, to pride in knowing that the time together on the piano bench when he taught me to play was something he and I shared alone, to sadness in knowing I'll never be able to see any of my children sit at that piano bench with him, to joy in knowing that both of my sons seem to have a natural gravitational pull towards music - something I know my father would have loved, to a weird emptiness that I can only attribute to the fact that my dad is indeed gone.

I was surprised to feel the top of Jack's downy head was wet - until I realized I'd started crying.


Another walk down amnesia lane happened a few days ago. I'd misplaced my new ipod (shhh - don't tell Deonne) until this week when it miraculously appeared at the bottom of my handbag.

Don't ask. It's a messy place. Lots of things get lost in there...

Anyway, I happily charged it up and plugged it into the van the morning Anna and I took her visit to her new school. I have to say, I honestly didn't remember half the songs I'd uploaded to it - one day I sat at the computer and pulled random songs off of itunes - I'm still not sure I've actually listened to them all.

So Anna requested one of her Lunch Money songs to play - I found it on the ipod - hit play - and we were on our way. Between jabbering about her new school and new friends, she found time to sing along "I want a cookie as big as my head..."

The song ended. The ipod was set on shuffle - the next song came on - and I was immediately transported back to 4th grade.

Yes, folks, my daughter and I got to belt out the words to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fu-un". It totally made me laugh - for so many reasons. It was so funny to hear Anna singing along to '80s music (how did she learn the lyrics so quickly - oh, probably because it's the same stanza over and over and over) while remembering my days as a Madonna/Cindi Lauper-lovin' 4th grader.

My mother must have cringed the day I came down the green-shag-carpeted stairs to school with my off-set pony tail on top of my head, complete with a big lace bow, lacy finger-less gloves, and two armfuls of black jelly bracelets. (Come on, you remember those....) But to her credit, she let me wear them all to school, without one word of how ridiculous I must have looked.


Melodies and memories.

It's true. There are indeed songs that take me to another place in time. And can completely change my frame of mind.

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