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Songs Tied to Memories

In the car today the song New York, New York came on. It’s on my iTunes account as part of a Frank Sinatra greatest hits album. I love Frank, he can really get me singing along with songs. New York, New York though brings up a childhood memory that I can’t let go of. So I hit skip.

I was relatively new to a school district, I think in Florida. I had garnered all the attention for a few days. It was pleasant to have the attention, fear and distrust of others focused on me. (I seek attention in all its forms) But just a few days into my new school another new kid came to the school. I don’t even remember his name. When the teacher introduced him to the class she made a big deal about him having been to Broadway and singing on stage. For me, all she did was say “this is James, he’s new here”.

For him, he got to sing the song, acappella to ravenous applause. Suddenly I wasn’t the center of attention anymore, I was the day old loaf of bread left on the shelf for someone else to grab if the new loaf lost its luster. I can still hear that kid today in my head, he was pretty good – hated him instantly of course. I could have sung a nice song, everyone would have told me what a great job I did too, but I wasn’t given the opportunity.. it’s that stupid songs fault, I didn’t even know that song.

So I don’t regularly listen to that song anymore. Once in a while if I’m distracted by something else it may play and I’ll sing along, but generally I just hit the skip.

There is another song I hit skip on. Carrie Underwood’s “Look At Me” it was the song Bill and I chose as our song for the wedding. It spoke to us and seemed to represent how things had progressed so quickly. But then they fell apart and I don’t like to think about it. So I hit skip on that one too. Otherwise I generally like Carrie.

Most old Rush songs trigger memories from comic books and reading them with Ted when we were kids. An image of Jean Grey rising as the Phoenix from the crashed shuttle, the Black Knight riding his flying horse in the pages of the Avengers.

“Elvira”, by the Oak Ridge Boys triggers memories of when us kids would perform for our parents, like the Brady Bunch or Partridge Family.

I would sing “I Still Believe In Waltzes” by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn with my mother on stage at local bars.  Or Barbara Mandrel’s “You Can Eat Crackers In My Bed” with my sister Dawn at an anti-nuclear power protest in Durand WI -we got into a fight on stage as she wasn’t singing it right and I was an early diva.

A hundred songs remind me of being in Suzanne’s white T top, racing through the streets of Eau Claire (she never looked at the road) singing at the top of our lungs – Spiderwebs comes to mind right now.

Hundreds more songs triggers thousands of memories, usually they are good things, sometimes they’re sad… but I appreciate all of them eventually, I think.

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