Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I just remember music always being there like, well, like air

Music is what feelings sound like
 ~ Author Unknown

I don't know exactly where or how or when it began. I guess there was always music around whether it was my mom's Neil Diamond, my dad's polkas or my sister's Prince albums (the Purple Rain cassette is still in my room if you want it back - I have it on cd now), even my grandmother's Hank William's albums. I just remember music always being there like, well, like air. No one stopped me from putting on an ABBA 8 track, or dancing around to Alabama.

Whether they knew it or not, my family really did influence my love of music. Let's recap a typical week (from my 5 year old memory): Mom listening to Gordon Lightfoot while Dad was at work; Sister watching Miami Vice which was filled with some amazing music; Grandmother listening to Elvis gospels; Dad watching Hee Haw on Saturday and listening to polkas on Sunday. See - maybe they didn't even realize it.

I highly doubt that at five I walked up to my mother and requested she buy me the Private Dancer album by Tina Turner - but somehow I got it, along with Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club (to which I am finally over the fact of the 45 of That's The Way breaking because it was left too close to the window on a winter's night and someone thought bending it would warm it up...snap)and Billy Joel. There I was at five, six and seven, listening to music I didn't understand but could feel the ups, the downs, the harmonies ... then I got to see it on TV!

Videos were the best most awesome amazing terrific wonderful stupendous thing that could have ever been introduced to me(besides Miguel from 321 Contact). Now I could not only listen to these songs, I could see the artists and dress up like them! Oh, that explains the yellow pumps, gary suits,leopard shirt, blue eye shadow and Levis! Bless my parents. Bless them for letting me be that creative. Maybe The Facts of Life helped tone down the Bananrama / Madonna look I had going on (thanks to Joe, I insisted on an army jacket at one point). My sister will point out however, that the neon and denim skirt phase went on for a while.

Music became a part of me that early - an appendage I guess. Once I got a little older (you know, nine) I began to explore on my own because I could. I would listen to the local radio stations, praying for a clear night because then, just maybe, 102.5 WDVE would come in from Pittsburgh. Led Zeppelin, who was that? Journey - ok, my sister listened to them. Van Halen? Whoah, I was mesmerized. I would sit there with a cassette on the ready to hit record in case a song came on that interested me. Then I would play it over and over until I remembered every single word. I became obsessed with Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart, One More Night by Phil Collins, Let's Dance by David Bowie,and 1999 by Prince.

Then there was my other source of music: my sister's cassettes! Oh, it was like a field trip. She went to school and I went "shopping". Prince, Journey, Genesis, 80's top 20 - I was amused for hours. And back then, there was nothing on PBS during the day that I recall, except there was something with a harpsichord and I have loved harpsichords since then.

Who knew where this would all lead. To think if I had MP3's and the Internet when I was five! It amazes me how music clutches on to certain people while others listen to it for leisure, maybe owning 100 cds in their lifetime. I couldn't imagine not ever singing Whitney Houston in the back of my dad's car driving home from football games, him giving me quarters to play the jukebox at the Foxburg Inn, or learning an important lesson about leaving records out in the sun. Friends would cry if their dolls or trucks broke. I would throw a fit if my favorite 45 was broken (and I did, reference above).

I am thankful to my family for allowing me to have music. Thankful they didn't hesitate giving me albums filled with things I didn't understand. I am thankful to the friends who had patience with me when all they wanted to do was play in the woods while I had to find batteries or an extension cord for the radio.

Music has been my crutch, my security blanket, my therapist, my friend and my voice. This is how it all began.

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