The Song Remembers When

For those of you that know me, you know that I love music.  All kinds of music.  I have well over 10,000 songs on my IPOD alone.   I literally could turn my IPOD on and push play and it would run 75 consecutive days without repeating a song.

Over kill…I know.

The truth is…most of the significant events in my life have been marked by music. There are  so many songs that remind me of  people, places and special times in my life. For whatever reason, I have always associated different times in my life with the music I listened to.   For example,  my “first” favorite song that I really remember as a child was the 1967 release called, “The Rain,  the Park & Other Things” by the Cowsils.   Being  only 6 or 7 at the time, I only knew it as the “Flower Girl” song.  To this very day, when I hear this song I am transported back to another place and another time.  I can smell the dinner that my mom is fixing in the kitchen and I clearly remember sitting on my bed with my transistor radio in my hand desperately trying find a station that would play my song.  For those of you that do not remember the song…please watch this video:

Cheesy…I know.

Most people may remember this song when it appeared in the movie “Dumb and Dumber” during Loyd’s dream about Mary.  At the time of that release, I had not heard the song for many years and while the rest of the room was laughing at the antics of Jim Carrey…tears were welling up in my eyes as I was reminded of a time in my life when I was protected by the innocence and security of the love of my mother.  Special times.

In the early 90’s,  Trisha Yearwood released a song called “The Song Remembers When”.  It tells a tale of the memories flooding back of a love that was lost by hearing an old familiar song.  This has always been the case for me.  I hear certain songs and I remember past girlfriends and past relationships.  I won’t bore you with those details but I must say that every now then I am reminded and smile about a time when you thought you were in love.  It was young and innocent.

…the song remembers when.

There are specific songs that remind me of family members.  When I hear “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson Five  (Michael Jackson) my mind floods of memories of my brother Bobby.  He was killed on November 5, 1970 and although that was 40 years ago, I am right there with him when ever I hear it.  The song “Lola” by the Kinks reminds of my cousin Larry, who was killed in the same car-train accident that took my brother.  I used to ride with Larry all the time when he would drive around town.  Larry loved music and liked it really loud.  I remember this song playing on his radio and the both of us singing it as loud as we could just a few months before he was killed.  A memory forever etched in my mind…precious thoughts of lives taken too soon from this life.

…the song remembers when.

I have mentioned in this blog before that in 2009, two of my closest friends died.  Bryan Blakley was my closest childhood friend.  He was always way ahead of the curve.  I remember that in early 1973, long before they became the rock icons they are today,  Bryan came to school sporting a tee- shirt with the name “Aerosmith” blazing  across the front.  Today, all I have to hear is a song by them and in my mind, Bryan and I are hanging out in his basement.  Just like the basement from “That 70’s Show”. I won’t tell you what character best represents me and NO!! it isn’t Donna or Jackie.  Let’s just say that I can relate with the whole show and the dynamics of friendship and having a community basement to hang out in.

The other friend that I lost that year was Bob Emrich.  Bob was a tremendous influence on me and every time I hear the song “Rose Colored Glasses” by John Conlee, I smile because it reminds me of the times we had together.  Great friends, both Bryan and Bob.  I miss them terribly and cannot wait until the day we can hang out together again.  Maybe just like in the basement at Bryan’s house in Oak Harbor, Ohio.

…the song remembers when.

One song , in particular, is the most memorable song of my life.  When I was fifteen, I was minding my own business the day I met her.   They say that there is no such thing as “love at first sight”.  Now I don’t know anything about that, other than the fact that from that first time I laid eyes on her I was smitten.  Since that time, it has always been about her in one way or another.  Through the joy of “young love”  and dating all through high school, to the heartache of breaking up and spending years apart, these songs over the years have reminded me of each of those events of our relationship.  Living our lives without each other…and eventually to the special day when we were married almost twenty years after we broke up.  This song has always been about her.   All I have to do is hear the first few notes and I am immediately over taken by the thoughts and memories of  “my girl”… my wife Pamela.

…the song remembers when.

There have also been songs that remind me of not so happy memories.  As a matter of fact, even though I love all kinds of music there are a few songs that I have to honestly say I hate.   For me, one of the songs I hate is “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin.   I still have to turn to another station whenever I hear it played.

I have enough regrets and “I wish I could do it over” events in my life already.   Seriously, do I really need more?  The truth is that I do wish I could go back and do things differently.  I think, like most people, I had a lot of my priorities messed up, or as a friend of mine says, “I was really jacked up.”   I don’t know exactly what that means, but I assume it’s the same idea.   As a young man, I threw myself into the work.   Countless hours, trying to do a good job as a principal and trying to be a good man.  In that endeavor, somewhere along the line, I got off track.   I still remember, with a pain in my heart as I tell you, when I told my boy’s that their mother and I were getting a divorce.

The reason I hate this song,  is that I am ashamed at the fact that my actions have affected my son’s lives.  What could I have done differently to ensure that they would not be scarred by the choices I made in my life?  Could I have focused more on them when they were growing up?  Will they blame me for some of the choices they made in their life?  Did they grow up to “be just like me”?   I wish I could have a do over, a Mulligan as we call it in golf, but life isn’t that way.   Now when I think about my kids, grown adults now, I wish I could go back 20 years and change my priorities.   But I know that will not happen.  The hope for me is that for today, I will get another opportunity to get it right.  Another opportunity to make good, happier and better memories with them.

Memories, both good and bad, fill our minds and at times they seem to take over our life.  We could dwell on the past and the memories of a life once lived, but life isn’t designed to be lived that way.  We need to press forward and challenge ourselves to make new memories.  Memories that will be marked by a new song.

That in itself is why I love music…because just about the time I think I have forgotten…

…the song remembers when.


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