This music-as-a-soundtrack-of-our-lives concept fascinates me.
It started at the nursing home concert. The singer asked for requests. To break the silence I suggested “Moon River,” thinking that was a good oldie for the group, and yes, a favorite of mine. I was shocked when the entertainer said “Moon River” came out in 1961. I thought it was ancient, not a song from the Sixties!
So I started drifting back. Back to the BS days. BS, in this case, stands for Before Seatbelts. I sang many a song in the back of the family station wagon with a gaggle of girlfriends on the way to swim meets. My favorite was what we might now call “performance art,” combining words and hand motions, in this instance, on a friend’s back:
“X marks the spot with a dot, dot, dot and a dash, dash, dash and a question mark. Three lines down, once around, the chills go up, the chills go down, the chills go all around. Crack an egg, down it flows, with a breeze and a squeeze.”
Then there was “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” and our school bus ballad, “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”. TV commercials, such as the one for Brylcream, “a little dab’ll do ya,” are imprinted on my brain, and I can’t forget the jingle from a Pittsburgh cousin: “Just plant a watermelon on my grave and let the juice (slurp, slurp) run through.” As the wrinkles wrinkle and the hairs gray I’m seriously considering it as my personal after-life plan.
By college, I was still swimming and my musical memories dredge up songs like “Black Water” and Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were.” (We created our own lyrics with “misty water-colored memories” to honor two wonderful coaches.)
Skip a few decades, and we’re driving to State College on Route 322, starting up the Seven Mountains. The kids are fidgeting in their car seats, anxious to get to their grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. My childhood comes calling and I break into song.
“The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain—to see what he could see. He saw another mountain, he saw another mountain, he saw another mountain—and what do you think he did? He climbed another mountain, he climbed another mountain…”
Yes, I’m developing my soundtrack. Now it is your turn. Share your musical memories, and while you’re at it, have a Thanksgiving that is full of thanks. Laurie Lynch