Thursday, January 31, 2013

Music and My Memoir

MY SON DANIEL IS A VERY smart young man. In his free time he's been buying broken Kindles and piecing them together to create like-brand new ones. Then he "roots" them and installs the Android operating system. The result, a fully functional touch-screen computer! This was my Christmas present. I know. My son rocks.

I am not a full-fledged techie. There is a lot I don't understand and when I hear words like the aforementioned "root" or "driver" or "sync" I glaze over. But I like my electronics. I like having my Kindle e-reader and my Amazon Cloud (music) Player. Thanks to my son, these apps are not only accessible from my laptop. The world exists on a 5x7 tablet. Who'd a thunk? 

When I wrote my memoir, I took advantage of all the memory-triggers I could think of. I spent hours at the library looking for books on various topics of my past. I Google-searched and Wikipedia-ed and Google Map-ed.  Many of my findings can be seen on my Pinterest pages. 

Music was one of the most emotional memory-triggers in my repertoire. I graduated high school in 1979 so the mid to late 1970s was my generation. I was addicted to KGON radio station and every time I got a paycheck I'd traipse over, sometimes with my gal pal Reva to For What It's Worth Records and buy an album. 

When I became a mom, I sold all my albums and changed roles. Throughout the 80s, 90s and part of the first decade of the new millennium I stayed in mother-mode. But when my kids grew up, I got introspective and started peeling back the layers. The bygone decades became important again. I bought CDs and would listen to them, tearfully pummeled back in time. I'd take notes on my surroundings and my emotions, seated in my bedroom, writing in my journal, Peter Frampton or Styx, or Boston lullabing me through the turbulence of my teen years. 

I'm so grateful to be alive in a time when, at least to some extent, the past is accessible. Do you have a favorite way to reconnect with the past? Favorite book, song, movie or TV show that connects you with those bygone days?  


  1. That is one lovely story and so lucky to have such a talented, intelligent, and caring son.
    I was into buying CDs for sure. During school days I was so poor that even buying a CD was a big treat..and then of course memories became all connected to a song or some tome. I still feel that I am in graduate school, late night, standing outside the building watching rain and wondering when I hear Pachebel's is semi painful almost. And there are books favorite in lonely grad school days were from Willa Cather among I seem to be too busy for most things but I still like to have music define some of my time.

    Good to see you again Grace ! x

  2. What a talented son, that is an amazing skill! Neither my husband nor I are electronically gifted. We won a DVD player at a Christmas party and even hooking that up took forever, and it didn't work so we waited for our son to come back from college and then he got it going in 5 minutes.
    I think I connect more to the past with music (I loved the Bee Gee's, Bread, Queen, Peter Frampton) but I ran across a set of Nancy Drew books in a thrift shop once and just looking at them made me tear up because I just adored those books as a kid.

  3. Music definitely takes me back. Listening to John Denver songs takes me back to my lonely teen years when I listened to his music for hours alone in my bedroom. Other music takes me back to different periods of my life. It's very evocative.

    What a great son you have!

  4. I concur that is one talented son. I love classic rock but my real passion is classic movies of the 30s and 40s. I relive a life I could only image as I was born in the wrong era I sometimes think...I do relive my childhood and those happy days through classic TV from the late 50s and early 60s. Pure bliss for me.

  5. Music, above all, is the great connector. High school? Beatles, Rolling Stones, most classic 60s rock. For some reason the songs with the strongest ability to throw me back are Hey Jude, Honky Tonk Woman and Dylan's Lay Lady Lay.
    Sometime I use music (and old movies) to connect me to a oast I never even lived: Big Band for the 40s, Tin Pan Alley and classic jazz or the 20s. Etcetera.
    Books? Nancy Drew, for sure. And a series of biographies for children that used only black silhouettes for illustrations.
    Classic TV? Endless.
    You're right, Grace, we are lucky to be living in a time when there are so many triggers available day and night.
    What about smells and scents? This is trickier but i can think of a few.

  6. First, if you son wants to sell a Kindle, let me know :)

    Music for me is the most powerful memory trigger. I danced from the time I was small and I correlate music and movement to almost every aspect of my life.

    Books are the other trigger for me. The first book series I read was the Flowers in the Attic series. I look back and still can't believe my parents let me read about incest and child abuse at such a young age. But I appreciate that they didn't censor me.

    Through middle school I loved Sweet Valley High. I've never had pretentious taste in literature, but I love books all the same.

    I'm looking forward to reading the things you've reconnected with!


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