I know my posts tend to be, “woe is me-ish”. but I’d like to hopefully depart from that… sort of.
I wish I could insert pictures, but for some reason that hasn’t been working for me of late. Pics seem to want to accumulate at the bottom of the post. I’d like to change my site photo, but I’ve yet to figure how to access that feature as well.
So, until I figure out the changes WordPress made two years ago, I keep posting, as is. I know I might start out sounding like I’m in despair, but that is not my intention. So, this post I hope will end up being a departure from that.
I survived my abusive childhood listening to music, you could find me singing out in the wilderness to my hearts content and at the top of my lungs. That’s how I got through life and interestingly it was enough to brighten my day and lift me up. I salute the artists who wrote the songs and the many artists who produced the many films I sought refuge in. In life, if you met me, you would not see a down spirited person. I’m always upbeat and cheerful. I used the tools and gifts God gave me and that is why.
Religion and church offered me sanctuary, a safe haven. Attending meant I wasn’t home and God was pretty neat to talk to. I prayed so much as a child. I was baptized Catholic only to have mother adopt the Jehovah’s Witness religion when I was five, I didn’t grow up learning Christian Hymns, but I love singing hymns. I didn’t learn those until I was in my 50’s when I joined the choir in Alabama. Southerners love to sing. In high school, I snuck out and attended the Catholic Church with my Catholic friends. Being a Jehovah’s Witness was not easy, but it provided me a place to feel like I belonged. The downside of attending the Catholic church then was that everything was in Latin, so not easy to sing to. I attended a Pentecostal Church once as a child when I was being babysat by a neighbor and that was totally different. I would go on to study the LDS faith. Church was my safe place and God my protector. Even as a child, I’d sit in a corner and daily, close my eyes, open the bible and point and that’s where my lesson or bible readings would start and I did this on my own. God and I were buddies.
When I was in Alabama, a friend I’d made there introduced me to jamming in country barns where all the farmers gathered with whatever instrument they played. Those who didn’t play, sang. Then she took me to a FaSoLa gathering. I guess knowing I grew up in California, she oughta teach me my heritage and get a taste of the south. Once a year in summer, there would be this remote, really remote church in the middle of nowhere, where followers would meet, some coming from all over the states and globally. FaSoLa, also referred by some as Sacred Harp or Shape Note singing, uses basically just those shape notes and it is acapella. The one in Alabama would take a whole weekend where everyone brings a dish for potluck. It’s very old timey and the origin of Shape note singing is heartwarming. Dang! I sure wish I could transfer my clips. No matter, check it out.
MUSICALS AND OTHER SONGS –
If you want to know my favorite songs and the early ones I remember singing often, were those that talked about escape. The Wayward Wind, was a favorite. I’d climb a tree and belt it out. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Someday My Prince Will Come, Singing in the Rain, to name a few. I love the To Kill a Mockingbird soundtrack, as well as many animated Disney soundtracks. Soundtracks of the old musicals in general were so cool. Even if I didn’t know the words, I’d love to sing loudly with the one or two words or phrases and lines I knew well. Usually the refrains. Ever done that? I even sang to foreign singers such as Yma Sumac and Miyoshi Umeki.
I got a picture in. lol. A sunrise from my backyard Yay!
When Daddy had his electronic set up, I could sing using the microphone and blast the neighbors, when no one was home of course. I especially liked the vocal range of Yma Sumac and would challenge myself to mimic her songs and hit all those notes. I almost had them, but my voice was still young and I managed fairly well, but not well enough. Still, it was an outlet and it served me well in school, because I always got to do the solos, no one else could handle.
Rock songs were for fun. Musicals like Westside Story, with the typical youth misunderstood lyrics, were sad but catchy and passionate. South Pacific, Oklahoma and sadly, My Fair Lady were just a few I loved. I hate to say and wish it wasn’t true, but I’m horrible at memorizing words, so as much as I would have loved to sing professionally, I’d fail… but I follow along well. I can’t carry a tune on my own but I can read music, so if you give me a sheet of music, I can do it. Some people can belt a song out without anyone giving them that first note, but I can’t. Just so you know, I know my limitations.
If it was a musical, be it with Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Gypsy, Music Man, the King and I, Guys and Dolls, Meet me in St. Louis and Porgy and Bess. Summertime was a favorite and for fun, oldies like Oh Susanna! I can’t dance well, but I can pretend I do.
I remember once embarrassing the hell out of my step-dad when, after watching Westside Story, I was hanging out the window on a warm summer day, singing Officer Cruptke and shouting, “I got a social disease!” and summarily being yanked back into the car, not knowing what it meant, of course. I still get a chuckle out of that memory. When I learned what a social disease was, I too, was deeply humiliated. How could they put that in a song? I will admit, that even though mother was prone to much verbal abuse, my step father was much loved. To see him, he looked kinda grumpy, but when he smiled, it was like sunshine and even though we had a rocky start, he turned out to be a good guy. I can say I loved and respected him and even though I was, by then in my late teens, I at least had enough time to appreciate him and his endurance and care for mother, who was so difficult.
Later in life, of course there were many tunes that I took shelter in. Music and song are my sanctuary.
Phantom of the Opera got me through many a long trip, but didn’t show up in my life until I was older. My son, Ian and I would split the vocals. I’d do Christine and other female parts and he’d do the Phantom and any male parts. He has a beautiful voice. I miss singing with him. We used to have the best time in Alabama because people were always fighting over him to carry the tenors. I’ll never forget his first time, he sat with someone that was so flat, that he had a hard time tuning the poor guy out and we went home laughing so hard. He eventually got strong enough. Singing in parts is hard at first, but we both loved singing enough to give it all we had. It was fun.
I’ll never forget the time, I tried to keep from falling asleep while driving cross country by rehearsing songs from our upcoming Easter pageant. I’m singing at the top of my lungs thinking I’d stay awake. Trust me, it doesn’t work, you can sing while asleep. Unfortunately, it was raining and I spun out and ended up in a ditch. I remember facing oncoming traffic and thinking, “oh shit, I’m dead!’ as this huge semi, looking like it was coming at me, went past me. Nothing wakes you up quicker. Another thing, my life didn’t pass before me. No, it was just, “oh shit, I’m dead”. Not funny, but funny.
Today, I get lost in songs by Keith Urban, Ed Sheeran and yes even Justin Bieber. I love Maroon 5, the Weekend and have added them to the many old artists, I used to listen to. Peter and Gordon, Beatles, Elvis, Animals, Dave Clark Five, Petula Clark, Louis Armstrong and more.
For awhile I was collecting vinyls and one time I got the mother lode of vinyl at a yard sale, but before I could go through them, when I awoke the next morning, my grandson had already tagged the ones he wanted. Music has given me life, dreams and sustained me through three marriages, raising children, grandchildren and now three great grands. What’s interesting is how much music transcends our generations. It’s something we can all share and love.
Yeah, I want to say, sometimes I sound like I live on the dark side of the moon, but truly I have a lot of good in my life. My life isn’t Donna Reed or Leave it to Beaverish, but I have great kids, siblings and family. Despite some of our rough patches, love does abound, we love to sing and dance in our own fashion and I’m grateful. There’s nothing like it when we get together and Tina tells Alexa to play 60’s 70’s favorites that we don’t all break out in song.
Is there someone in my life? Too soon to tell how that will work out, but who knows? I’m taking a page form my friend Caralyn of Beauty Beyond Bones who always says, “trust God” and how it got her through tough times and how, in so doing, she’s now got her happy.
I’m doing my best to “Be Optimistic”… and not be a grumpy – Another great song (Shirley Temple) did I ever tell you about my nice visit with Shirley Temple Black? And so it goes. There’s always going to be a memory attached, right?
I get much uplifting support from my fellow bloggers, some old, tried and trues and new ones now. I thank you all!
Try singing and I’ll keep singing because it’s how I get through the tough times. Try it!
If you want to be inspired, try some of the songs from The Greatest Showman, I love A Million Dreams, Never Enough and well, all of them!!
The workman on my street, love it when I walk by belting these songs and Keith Urban’s Blue Aint’ your Color or Wild Hearts. They tell me I have a good voice. I guess anything they can hear over their jackhammers has got to entertain, lol. These are easy songs to download and walk and sing. I’ve been known to get a few Kpop tunes out as well. Free yourself up!