The Bard - Musical Memories
I woke up early this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. A car had driven past my window and I caught a snippet of a song that flooded my mind with sad memories. I allowed myself to float in those memories for a while, until I realized that the emotions tied to them were bringing me down. I needed to get up and do something. So I walked over to my computer and opened Word.
I grew up in a world where music constantly surrounded me. It was as familiar as the feeling of air rushing in and out of my body. My dad had the classic rock station playing all day and night in the garage – so any of my exploits outside were done to the tunes of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin. My grandparents had country music piping through every room of their house and workshop – so most memories of them are accompanied by Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and Gene Autry.
Many of my recollections are triggered by specific songs, because they were playing when the event took place. “I Need You Tonight” by INXS was playing in the car as my mom, sister, and I drove home from visiting dad in rehab. I remember it was dark and I was staring out the back, right window at the sea of oil drillers (I called them oil horses), their ominous shapes just visible in the soft glow of the city. I remember singing along and bobbing my head as I let my brain separate me from what had just occurred. I was 3 or 4. The memory of the ride home is stronger than the memory of visiting the ‘odd green room with a pool table’ otherwise known as the rehab facility.
My first major crush was on my mom’s best friend’s son. He really liked 311, and one day had their self-titled album on while we were playing a hockey video game together. I went out and bought the CD shortly thereafter. I listened to it all the time until he broke my heart as first crushes tend to do. He will forever be associated with “Down” and “All Mixed Up.”
“Paradise City” by Guns N Roses was playing in our green Dodge Challenger as my mom, sister, and I drove to visit our uncle Bill. He had just returned to Fullerton from living in Texas. Every time I hear that song, I can almost feel the perforated green leather seats against my skin.
Sisterly bonding occurred throughout my youth, often because of music. When I was 5, I remember my sister wandering around the house singing “I’m a Believer” and I tried to drown out the sound of her by singing a gibberish tune that I still remember to this day – I have an audio recording of this encounter on cassette tape somewhere. Even younger than that, I distinctly remember her sharing her headphones with me so we could both listen to her new Oingo Boingo cassette. I must have been around 3 or 4 at the time. I was so jealous when our uncle took her to their concert. One afternoon, we played tetherball in the backyard while singing Salt N Pepa’s “Push It” – a bit scandalous but funny.
I’ve repressed most memories between the ages of 10 and 13, when my dad’s mental issues really started to affect me. However through the fog, emerge sweet interludes with my sister – singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the top of our lungs in her bedroom (and while walking barefoot in the creek on a hot day), walking down Nana’s street in Bullhead City singing “Heart Shaped Box,” and learning her Jr. High dance routine to C & C Music Factory’s “Everybody Dance Now.” There haven’t been as many moments like this since then. Once our parent’s divorced and we moved closer to school, we slowly grew apart. Maybe it was because we didn’t need to comfort one another from the sound of our dad raging anymore. Maybe we both wanted to turn our backs on that turbulent time. Maybe it’s because we got caught up in the drama of high school and boyfriends. Next thing I knew, we had both paired off and I woke up one day to realize that I’d missed several important milestones. How is it that she’s getting married and has a baby in her womb, and I haven’t been a part of either experience? Further, how can she have given birth to 4 children, and I’ve never felt a fetus kick? Music is powerful in my life, but it can’t bridge coastlines. But I digress.
To be continued…maybe.