Thinking about the three most important songs in my life was quite an eye opener for me. It gave me time to actually see that there happened to be a theme going on in my life. Unexpected as it was, I found that throughout childhood into adulthood the same things kept tugging at my heart and soul. As I began to write about them, they appeared as if by magic becoming in tune with the secrets within my soul. These are the songs that have been the most important in my life.
I feel right off the bat, one of the three most important songs or music pieces should be my wedding song, a string quartet playing Pachabel’s “Canon in D”. I do love that piece, and it is what I walked down the aisle flanked by my two tall, handsome, blonde haired, blue eyed, sons wearing their stark black tuxes, white crisp shirts and peach cummerbunds and black shiny shoes taking me towards my new husband-to-be. The morning sun sparkled on the small droplets of water that beaded on the twining rose leaves over the arbor that we walked through. The stark white gazebo’s details were almost blown out from the light rays of the sun except where the tall pine trees shaded it. The air was crisp even though it was mid-July and the leaves rustled with the smooth caress of a soft wind which faintly moved the delicately draped light blue lace. Earlier in the program, my 14-year old son, wearing his trademark Top Hat, had just spent his whole summer learning classical guitar, and played “Malaguena”, a sultry Spanish classical finger-picking musical feat on his Classical acoustic. As he played, the congregation and I were transformed to an ocean shoreline in a foreign country, even though we were at a beautiful desert park. The sunshine reflected off the satin and tiny crystal beads on my dress, the smell of the roses and the gardenia intermingled in my hair, the soft wind, the musical rhythm, and the feeling of love was just heavenly. This gift was his very first solo in front of an audience, and this was in front of 200+ plus people. A framed picture of my son with his Top Hat on that day still hangs in my bedroom some twenty years later. I cannot hear “Malaguena” without thinking of that beautiful moment in my life, when everything seemed to gel, the precious gift from my son, and the work it took, but also feeling melancholy. Such a lovely thing for him to do. Little did I know that in just four years his life would be cut short, and I would not be allowed to hold him in my arms ever again.
The second most important song is one that also haunts me filled with love as well as loss. It is Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” it was one of my favorite songs while growing up. My mother played it on the piano. When I grew up and could play a little, I learned to play it. So, for many years I always thought of my mom when I heard this music. I remember waking up late at night one time and I couldn’t sleep, she made some popcorn and we shared it while she just hugged me and stroked my hair until I was sleepy. I loved her very much and do believe she loved me too, but she felt very unloved. My mother was abused when a child, married to get out of the house, was “disowned” by the family (and thus her family fortune taken from her), was hit by a car and had her leg in a cast for five years, then had it amputated– all before she was just 20 years old. Her medical records stated she had schizoid personality disorder and paranoia. In the past there weren’t medications like we have today that can help with chemical imbalances. So many strikes against her, yet she struggled to survive and be a good mother and person. She always taught us that if you had love, you had everything. Money was nothing. She “chose” to die alone after many years of being unable to have relationships and being let down by those she loved. She would not “sell” her beliefs and could not. She taught me many things, and I hope that as she looks down from Heaven, she realizes she was loved deeply. I still listen quietly to that haunting melody we played as we stood in the sunlight next to her graveside.
So, growing up with music everywhere in my family, it is so very difficult to choose just three pieces that are the most important. My mom used to put every situation that arose to a melody. She sang her heart out. She loved music and I grew up loving it as well. Now, looking at my eldest son, who loves it, it’s also apparent he has passed it along to his beautiful daughter. She puts every situation that arises to a melody that she makes up on the fly. Interesting. Is that genetic? As I grew up and wanted to escape my own situations of sadness, there were songs that I clung to and sang with all my might. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” always gave me hope that life would not be so lonely, that there would be a true home I could find (as I was one of the first kids in school who was from a divorced family and one of the first “latch-key” kids before they had a term for it). The Man of La Mancha’s “The Impossible Dream” still touches my heart today, with it’s hope of a new day and the hope of overcoming the mundane. Believing that it is possible to lift oneself out of the mire. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “Moon River” again searching for that “same rainbow’s end….waiting ’round the bend.” But, my third song on this list as one of the most important in my life, is the one song that brings tears to my eyes every single time I hear it, is Louis Armstrong’s, “Wonderful World”. Is it my need for my own world peace? Growing up in our world with such sadness, sorrow, betrayal, treachery, and pain is it any wonder that the song that I relate to the most has rainbows, love, hope and dreams? This song to me is love personified. God’s Love and hope for all of us no matter where we are, or what we have done in our lives. Life is not easy, nor is it fair. We do live in a wonderful world if we choose to see it. My thoughts are if we are to be able to live life without being in the depths of despair, we must “Choose life” even when in the very depths, and very importantly… pass it along.
Louis Armstrong’s song (What a) Wonderful World
I see trees of green, red roses, too,
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.I see skies of blue, and clouds of white,
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands, sayin’, “How do you do?”
They’re really sayin’, “I love you.”I hear babies cryin’. I watch them grow.
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful worldYes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world