Last week I purchased a capture device which allows me to convert VHS tapes to DVD’s, readable on my computer. As an added perk, I am also able to convert cassette tapes into CD’s. I have had a lot of fun playing with the capture device on both fronts and began turning my old dusty music collection into digital mp3’s that I can enjoy with my iPod. One of the cassettes I converted last week contained hits from the 1940’s–the music my parents danced and sang to, while growing up. Yesterday as Mary Alice and I drove around town, I hooked my iPod into the car and together we sang along to these old standards.
“Oh I like this one…” Mary Alice remarked when “Dance With a Dolly” began to play. I smiled, not only because she was tapping her toes and singing the verses outright; but also because the song reminds me of my mom. One of my earliest memories has her helping me put my shoes and socks on, while she sang that song to me. “How are you liking the music so far?” I asked, already knowing the answer. “They don’t make music like this anymore” she remarked. The next song began to play and she fell silent. I wasn’t sure if the good feelings or sparks of memory these songs were inducing had passed, or if she simply didn’t know the one playing. “He had a beautiful voice don’t you think?” she asked me. “Yes he did…” I replied as we drove along.
Some of the 40’s music sounds so corny; by today’s standards, but one thing they all have in common–a hook. Mary Alice and I bopped along to the strands of “Rum and Coca-Cola” by the Andrew Sisters; laughed to the lyrics of “Pistol Packin’ Mama” which carry a lot of similarities with today’s popular country music songs. Of course, Bing Crosby along with the Andrew Sisters were featured heavily “Swinging on a Star, Accentuate the positive and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (From Company C)” helped make our drive all the more enjoyable. Then we had a nice laugh at the lyrics to “You Always Hurt the One You Love” “Holy Moly, what a line!” I said before adding “If I broke your heart last night it’s because I love you most of all? Who are they kidding?” She giggled and I laughed as we continued along.
By the time the strands of “Sentimental Journey” began to play, my head was full of memories–my dad playing these songs on the piano; my mom smiling while he did and us kids trying to sing along without breaking anyone’s eardrums. I looked over at Mary Alice who was singing along–sometimes ahead of the musicians, but in tune and clear. “This was one of my mom’s favorite songs…” I remarked. “Really. Is your mother still with us?” she asked me (for the 100th time that day). “No, she’s been gone about seven years now; but this music reminds me of when I was a little kid. I can see her standing at the sink, singing these standards while she did the dishes…or some other chore.” I couldn’t help but laugh at that notion– remembering my mom doing a chore-not sitting idle.
When we finally arrived at her home, I asked her, “Would you like a copy of this music to listen to at home? It won’t take long for me to convert it to a CD”. “Well that would be nice, thank you”. Who knows how long the music stayed with her the rest of the day, but for a short time that afternoon, we both took a nice sentimental journey down memory lane. I’m so happy music helped draw that out from the both of us.