The power of song When I listen to the first fe…

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The power of song

When I listen to the first few bars of an old tune, my heart slows down. I mouth the familiar lyrics, but am gone, transported to another time, another place.

My life is a montage of scenes set to a compilation of music.

Knock Three Times by Tony Orlando

A little girl dressed in denim Osh Kosh B’Gosh overalls spins round and round, her arms outstretched and her thick hair swinging around a tiny waist. A woman turns from a window and warns her to stop before she gets dizzy and falls. The child stops, beams a smile at the woman and stomps her scuffed Mary Janes three times on the hard wood floor in time to the chorus of the song in the background.

Yesterday by The Beatles

A pretty lady stands at a kitchen sink, rinsing dishes through the faucet before placing them on a drying rack. Wiping her hands on a red skirt, she bends down to hug two children playing at her feet. She gives them each a cookie before grabbing a dustcloth and leaves the room.

Are You Lonesome Tonight? by Elvis Presley

My mom is crumpled on the living room rug, hugging a creased album cover to her chest. Black tears stream down her cheeks and she sobs. The King is dead.

Lady by Kenny Rogers

Colored lights blink on and off around an artificial tree. My dad reaches down and grabs a large box. I tear at the snowman wrapping paper, ripping it off a new stereo. Together, we anxiously connect the components. And now, to test it out, he hands me a record.

Karma Chameleon by the Culture Club

The navy blue sleeping bag is so plain compared with the brightly colored ones depicting Strawberry Shortcake and Barbie. I had been so excited to receive an invitation, my first official slumber party, but now I just wanted to go home. Dee’s little brother has been annoying me all night, so I call him a “buster” and tell him to leave me alone. Her mom heard and chastised me in front of everyone in the kitchen. “Young lady, we don’t use that kind of language here.” In spite of the heat rising to my cheeks, I grit my teeth and apologize.

Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

The last song of the last school dance. A freshman girl stares after her crush, the senior God. He’s standing alone by the bleachers. She plays with her Swatch and thinks, it’s now or never. Blood pounds in her ears as she walks toward him and asks for a dance. With a shrug, he grabs her hand and leads her onto the gym floor. She’s in bliss for 8 minutes while a huddle of girls whisper and point in their direction.

Red, Red Wine by UB40

Holly’s parents are vacationing in Hawaii for the week. I follow her to the garage where she finds the spare keys to her mom’s Lincoln. Music blares out the moonroof as we cruise the back roads of our small town. We are 14 and oh, so cool!

It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock

The steps are very narrow and steep in the dark passage. We climb in single file. I run my hand over the damp stone, wondering what it must have been like to live in Warwick Castle in 1000 AD. Cold, I imagine. I climb and climb with no end in sight. Finally, I reach the top and am outdoors. It was my first time in England. My first time away in a foreign country. And I was thrilled.

Stripped by Depeche Mode

I’m driving faster than I should be. The wind whips my hair, so I yank it back with a scrunchy. I take a deep breath of the salt air. In minutes, I park the car, pull off my shoes, and walk on the beach – my toes sinking into the wet sand. Solitude is priceless.

Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf

The digital clock reads 4:00 a.m. It sounds like a herd of elephants are stampeding thru the halls. The bedroom door bursts open and a guy grabs my arms and starts yanking me out of bed. A raid! Later, I’m reclining on a dirty brown velour couch, my eyes half-shut, yet watching as two guys swallow a tank-full of live gold fish for breakfast.

Take a Chance on Me by ABBA

Why doesn’t he love me anymore? We were so happy. He was my confidante. The mixed signals are killing me. We aren’t together, but he still stays over occasionally. Why am I doing this to myself? Because I think I love him.

Frozen by Madonna

A girl rides on the handlebars as a guy peddles furiously past us. We’re walking along one of the canals. Amsterdam is a city of bicycles. A few days later, the Champs Elysees is crowded with people. I’m a little buzzed after a liquid lunch at Cafe Voltaire by Musee D’Orsey. Someone beside me laughs and repeats “Ou est? ” “Ou est?” – mocking my feeble attempts at speaking French in the city of lights.

There are so many songs – so many moments. I’ll stop now before I bore you to tears. This is a mere sample of the jukebox that stores the memories I cherish.

What special songs move you?


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