Monday, August 9, 2010

The Songs That Soothe Our Souls

For as long as I can remember, music has been an intricate part of my existence.  As a toddler I remember that oh so special little grand piano toy, the one that I thought was so annoying my mom hid it around the house to keep me off of it.  No, I was informed upon telling my mom about this latest blog entry that "I never hid any of your toys, you remember trying to find it before Christmas, that's what you were terrible about trying to find your presents."  Ooops!  

Now that you mention it, I do remember finding a magic kit set under the sofa one time.  I think that was before my birthday.  Me, impatient?  Sure, I can totally see that!  Nonetheless, this is the piano, the same one I would dig the dining room chair out for, drag it across the kitchen and down the hall to the sliding 70s closet door above the closet itself (remember those?).  I’d get on top of the chair to realize I was too darn short to reach it (still). I think she was on to me, pushing it the back of the closet up there.  When we spoke about it after I first published this blog, she insisted that it was her last resort hiding place because I was too quick to find the rest of them.  

Toddlerhood hi-jinks later lead to belting out Sister Sledge's We Are Family (1979 - age 4) and Creedence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary in the basement of my childhood home to the 8 Track player.  I didn’t love all music though.  I’d cringe and cover my ears at some of my father’s selections. 

Aww, there's Miss Kitty... that cat lived into my 20s. Wow, look at my natural wavy hair.  Poor mom, the (not so natural victim) of a bad time of hair in the 70s.  There's that piano.  Do you have any idea how stoked I'd be to come across one sometime again? ;)

Those I hold dear and near, they too have roots in the music of their childhoods.  It's such an intricate part of the fiber of my being. It's hard to imagine life without it.  When I watch National Geographic TV or most recently, the Travel Channel's Meet the Natives (okay, it wasn't that recent was, don't catch too much TV) I love to see how the community celebrations all center around music and dance.  Many of us can trace our roots to such celebrations.  Others of us have memories of our own family members or family friends who enjoyed the arts.  Feel free to share those memories here via comments.  I would love to read them.

My mom's best friend from art school, Mary Nelson, she had music in her home all the time.  Mary and my mom went to see The Beatles at their first concert in DC.  Grandpa Mo had to come get them after the concert I believe because of bad weather.  She said they couldn't hear a thing due to all the screaming.  My mom at the 1st Beatles show for her generation...totally cool!  Who can she thank for that experience?  My grandparents!  They always supported my own involvement in music.

By pre-school I was singing in the church choir, at my grandparent's place of worship in Springfield, VA.  I liked singing but I loathed going there to practice.  Not sure why, but that is the memory I have. The good times came just being with my grandparents going to and from practice or services. Fast forward a few decades ahead to my life and well, if you know me, you know I LOVE me some live music!  These days I listen to various genres, basically anything of personal interest.

Elementary school came and I continued to sing, this time by choice. I actually enjoyed being in chorus and was picked to participate in some special regional concert in 1986. I liked music. I listened to the radio all the time and made cassette recordings of my own mixes.  Ha ha, yeah, you remember those days.  By the time middle school came, I decided I was going to play the bass guitar.  Problem was, I would play but lose patience at practicing. I didn't have the discipline for it but man oh man I loved the sound of it though.

From there I transgressed to full on appreciative person of music.  Well, beyond appreciative...obsessed teenager.  My entire bedroom and bathroom were covered ceiling to floor in posters of bands.  Have you seen my prom prep and posing photos on Facebook?  Ha ha ha!  Check out those walls!  My mom was definitely cool like that.  Little did I realize I was manifesting all of those musicians into my future, via concerts, friends of friends, business associates, etc.  Yeah, life has been good to me in that way.  What teenager do you know today who isn't into whatever their music of choice is? Exactly!  Thus, to go from obsessed teenager to supportive and admiring adult was pretty natural.

Isn't it great how the music of our youth can trigger various moments, people and places in time?  Sort of like a recorded soundtrack of our journey's here.  I don't know about you, but I used to loathe the day our music would become my parent's oldie stations but when it came to pass, I found that I welcomed it with open arms.  Alas, the internet has made quick work of our enjoyment of any music that you can possibly think of, from anywhere in the world where it can be recorded and shared.  It's phenomenal.  The songs that soothe our souls are just a click away.

Adulthood broadened my horizons.  Special and unforgettable relationships formed with people who shared this love of music and those friendships blossomed over the years.  Routes were taken in my existence as a result of my love of music (the legal profession for instance) that laid the groundwork for the rest of my life (thanks Deb).  Music even played a role in self described 'intoxicating' love.  To this day, I love discovering new music that makes my heart sing, that speaks to and soothes my soul.  I bet you do too, just like we all feel comfort listening to the soundtracks of our journeys.  So, if you have any recommendations, feel free to share.  It's nice to be able to add selections to our soundtrack.

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