Angels In My Rearview

I am a 30 year old MOM of 2, WIFE of 1. My chilluns are almost 3 and 1. I live in Texas as of the beginning of 2006. I have a wonderful and nearly-perfect husband who such praise is lost on because he is much less swayed by any acclaim, or already knows it. I am mostly fulfilled by my job, sometimes overwhelmed, and frequently searching for deeper meaning under piles of laundry. I believe in documenting the things that leave impressions and that make you laugh. Thus, I blog.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Waxing all Nostalgic

Ben is really into singing lately. Suddenly all the songs I sang to him since birth, are coming out of him. My latest favorite thing that he does is try to sing along with the theme songs from various PBS shows. He knows a couple, has a hard time keeping up with the speed of them, but others, he doesn't know at all and has no problem trying to sing along. So it turns into this loud, sing-songy, burble. Which is something that I have enjoyed entirely, since my youth.

In high school, I had a friend who desperately wanted to have more in common with me than another friend. I'm not just saying, that, there was actually a 4 day fight, complete with folded notes to support this claim, of who was a better friend with more in common. I was a goddess among my peers. I still vividly remember sitting at the cafeteria table and a song came on the jukebox (yes, in Independence Missouri, we had a "jukebox" in our cafeteria. It came complete with weekly letters to the school paper from the "cowboys" that not enough country was played to represent, and objections from the "freaks" that Metallica wasn't blasted often enough). I exclaimed how I loved this song and started singing along. She immediately chimed in that she loved it too and started "singing" along. It was much like Ben's attempts to sing along with the sloth from Big Big World. She always nailed the last word, and did so with gusto. To this day, I enjoy such performances immensely.

The stages of our lives are marked by songs of the time. Many of them we can still feel how we felt the first time we heard them. What is it about music that can prompt such intense feelings of nostalgia? One strain of Eric Carmen suggesting I turn my radio up and it Makes Me Lose Control. I'm back at 17, the weather is always perfect and my spirits are high. George Strait Crossing his Heart and promising too, takes me back to my greasy job at Pizza Hut where the pay was low and the pick-up lines were lower, but I didn't have a car payment, or a weight problem, or $3 gas, or guilt about whether I'm doing enough because I was FABULOUS. I'd give anything on some days for Jon Bon Jovi to lay me down in a Bed of Roses. That has nothing to do with music nostalgia, I'd really just like that.

So, I've thought of a few songs that mark different stages in my life.
My first year of college I decided to research Neil Diamond, my sister had always loved him and I wanted to see what all the fuss was. I discovered quickly. That sexy low-voice of Sweet Caroline fame won me over almost immediately. It was a double bonus that he sang my favorite UB40 song, long before they did. Who knew? I went to the library the last few weeks of my freshman year and brought home like 7 Neil Diamond CDs and listened to them all in one day. To this day, any Neil Diamond song takes me back to that ranch house basement apartment that helped create so many fond memories. I also listened to Air Supply Makin' Love outta nothin' at all like 72 thousand times in a period of a month. I still love that song. I often sound like Ben when I try to sing along cuz some of those words just don't make sense. Freshman year of college is where I met one of my dearest friends and so those songs take me back to a happy place where a cherished friendship began. She wasn't necessarily involved in all this marathon music listening, but the two are inextricably connected in my mind.

I first heard Celine Dion's Because You Loved Me on my mission. For some reason, that song moved me. We weren't supposed to listen to the radio, but one naughty day driving around in a minivan someone turned it on and that song was on. I begged to leave it playing. I was unaware of the new technology of putting radio controls in the back of vans and the girls in the back had a blast at my expense. My Aussie friend started messing with the tuner and the volume, and after switching it back 2 or 3 times I wondered aloud what was wrong with the radio. Analiese suggested it was a sign from God and I couldn't explain it, so I fell for it and turned it off. She kept a straight face for quite some time; but lost it when I became visibly distressed by this sign that God didn't want me listening to Celine on my mission. That song can still take me back to those days of strict discipline and pining for a "forbidden" song, and how much fun we could have with just the simplest thing.

James Taylor---reminds me of my brother Jonathan
DMX Up In Here---reminds me of my roommate Fanua, she said I brought whole new meaning to that song when I sang it. I only know the refrain.
Belinda Carlisle brings back all my teen angst.
Nobody by Sylvia reminds me of my sister Sara because 20 years later, we can still belt it word for word on command. Nobody ever actually commands it though. Your loss folks.
Any 2000-2003 good country song reminds me of my friend Dawn. I don't know why Dawn, they just do. We used to decipher strange lyrics for each other. I was once completely stumped by Kenny Chesney's "In our rock and roll t-shirts and our tipping at the bat at the youth" Dawn kindly informed it was "In our rock and roll t-shirts and our typically bad attitudes". That's what friends are for.
And the song that still melts my heart and just makes me feel everything is as it should be, no matter where I am in life, Shawn Colvin's "Never Saw Blue Like That".
The first time Jay reached over and took my hand, the words of that song flooded my mind. If there were ever a movie about me and Julianne Moore is me and Noah Wyle is Jay and they play this scene at a church fireside and both our moms are just a few seats away and he subtly, gently, and naturally takes my hand in his, we'll hear....And it feels like now, And it feels always, And it feels like coming home...
It still does.


  • At 9:53 AM, Blogger Epsi said…

    Summer Rain reminds me of driving across the country, somewhere between No where and Podunk, singing at the top of our lungs, and Julie slept through it all...
    Or Garth's "Much Too Young", or Shenandoah's "Next to You, Next to Me"--the first country song I was able to indentify by artist and title before you and Julie. I was so proud of myself... =)
    And, FYI, (from those of us who actually went to High School in the 80's) it was Air Supply who sang Making Love Out of Nothing at All(unless, in my old age I missed a re-make of it by REO Speedwagon...)
    Love ya!

  • At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Emily said…

    Okay, nothing to do with music, but that photograph of the four of you is so perfect. I absolutely love Ben's "what a magical world it is" expression! Awwww.

  • At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Alicia said…

    I never thought of the radios in the minivans! That is how you always seemed to know the new country songs.

    I think Noah Wyle is a perfect choice to play Jay. Who would you cast as Ben and Avery?

  • At 8:00 PM, Blogger Code Yellow Mom said…

    Was I not involved in the Meatloaf extravagnza on the 1983 model tape recorder we took on roadtrips between RExburg and MoCo because my Tercel had nothing but a radio? oh my gosh, I haven't thought of that for a while and I'm seriously about to cry it's so nostalgic...and rememebr the way Amber used to sing at C&H? good thanks for the memories.

  • At 8:44 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    Hey now Alicia, I carefully worded this post so to imply I scarcely heard songs on the radio, particularly not by choice. And then you go blow that I knew words to every country song!? My MOTHER reads this blog, she thinks I'm perfect! Dakota Fanning, as she is now would be Avery, cuz that girl is something else, and so's my Avery. :) Ben would be played by...uh, I have no idea.
    Traci---How could I FORGET Meatloaf?! Those were defining moments in my life. I've never seen a tape recorder as big or archaic since, and I've never belted anything as loudly as we did on the trip. Or as fast. We were good.

  • At 8:53 PM, Anonymous s said…

    I hafta tell you my favorite song related stories. Everytime I would ride with this guy that I was out of this world crazy about in his black van he would play a song from "james taylor" ( one of my favorite singer of all times) and the song would be "I feel fine that she's around me now, and she is around me now all the time." (much sweeter sung by James than a response to a blog) that song was of course directed at me and would propell me to cloud nine. WELL come to find out later...much to my disappointment it was only played EVERYTIME we got in the car because it was the first track:( Another musical time was WHITNEY HOUSTON- I sang that woman til the tomato's were juice. "The children are the future- teach them well and let them lead the way...." Thanks for the memories Erma Bombeck (sp?) One more thing, I think Ben should play Ben.

  • At 9:07 AM, Blogger Epsi said…

    Or Gillian Anderson could play you.

  • At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Analiese said…

    Before I even GOT to my name i knew exactly the moment you were talking about in that minivan. still cracks me up to this day. Those forbidden songs! And those naughty days. I am sure we had 1 to many of tnem though. And i remember when Colman was my comp in 57A we would lie there at night and she would ask me all these questions about "life" and what i remembered about the outside. One question she asked was what songs can you remember. Now I was about 4 months from going home and can you believe all i could remember who ever sang a song since the history of time was Michael Jackson. Dont even ask me why!


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