I’ve Got The Music In Me...Soundtrack of Our Lives
My first memories of music were oddly therapeutic…the songs spoke to my soul before I really understood their significance…let me explain!
The four songs I recall most vividly were Three Dog Night singing One Is The Loneliest Number, Sitting On The Dock of the Bay-Otis Redding, Tomorrow from Musical Annie and You Are My Sunshine-Mom. This was my short hit list!
When I was three I would drag my doll-baby’s crib out into the center of the living room floor, get inside and begin singing a song to entertain my parents or guests. This presentation included a fashion show nightly… singing You Are My Sunshine and The Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Star Spangled Banner was my big finish. I was considered to be very bright and talented. Adults actually liked me and I really liked them!
Then my mom was gone…our morning sessions of You Are My Sunshine were over. Where did she go?
My dad loved the song Sitting On the Dock of the Bay… he took over serenading duties and sang that soul ballad to my eager ears. He said he sang like Froggy from The Little Rascals. He would get so happy when he played “Jamaican Music” on his 8-Track that he’d brought home from vacation “in the islands”. He also brought home a new mom for us and she brought with her…albums…Carole King’s Tapestry and Carly Simon’s No Secrets, I absolutely loved these albums and would listen to them and sing along. When my original mom resurfaced I noticed her album collection favorite was Melissa Manchester's Better Days and Happy Endings.
My parents realized they had a little performer on their hands but now I was shy… I had become scared to perform in public. Annie was the hit musical at the time and when I heard it, I felt like they were singing my song… as Gladys Knight sang later, “strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words…” That’s how I felt about the soundtrack from Annie.
I was not an orphan but when my mom left I felt like one. I began having trouble in school, then I couldn’t learn to read and had trouble in math so they sent me to a special school on the ‘short bus’ (the AM radio played Supertramps, Logical Song, again, I could relate) away from my friends and I was tutored in the summer by a Montessori trained teacher, Jill Schrague…I still remember her 30+ years later. I got thick glasses and had to wear a patch because of my lazy eye…and I had something known as dyslexia on top of it all! Jill reassured me with all that she’d teach me I’d be caught up with school in no time…but when you’re a kid a month is like a year.
We had moved to a “nicer” town according to my step-mom, and in our new den with the yellow enamel mod fireplace, I listened to records. There was an AM/FM radio and the first time I heard “One Is The Loneliest Number,” I was…understood. That is how I felt in my all boy class, like I was all alone, with my eye patch scared to play on the playground trying hard to fit in but I didn’t know anyone but the play ground attendant.
Then I had a break though…her name was Judy Blume and she was my favorite author. Superfudge, Are You There God It’s Me Margaret…I read them all. I shared my new love of books with my friends that I finally made.
I invited my new red headed friend over who resembled Pippi Longstocking. We were going to be famous authors and singers and we watched lots of cartoons. One of my favorites was “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” Halloween special. I was fascinated by the colors and the music. Vince Guaraldi’s theme songs for the Charlie Brown cartoon’s kept me coming back, Lucy was a jerk and I didn’t like the way they treated Charlie Brown but I could identify with being different and I even had my own score…well…Charlie’s Brown's Theme.
Then puberty hit!
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