I believe in the power of music. The power it has to make us remember, even relive things, move emotions, bring those you love back to you. My life has a soundtrack. Songs that punctuate key events and bring them back to me. My earliest memory is of me sitting next to my mother at the piano; me banging away while she was trying to play something beautiful; and me being angry with her for doing something I couldn’t. It seems like that frustration with my mother stayed with me for most of my life. One of my best childhood memories is of playing duets at the piano with my mom. In these duets, she always played the bass. I got the melody. We enjoyed one another for that time. There was harmony rather than strife in the relationship. We had only to follow the music. Our relationship remained tense until I turned 25 and she got sick; very, very sick. She had a debilitating muscle disease that would take her from me, my family, and my baby girl. Fortunately, there is no soundtrack to this part of my life. No song that brings it back vividly. I do my best to let those painful memories fade and remember the good times in our lives, in my mom’s life. I play the soundtrack to help me. She loved playing and singing silly Disney songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpiolodocious” and “Everybody has a Laughing Place.” To this day, I can sing all the words to the song from Cinderella, “Bibidibobidiboo.” She married a sweetheart of man when I was 16. He was her soulmate. He lifted the burden of caring for two children by herself on a teacher’s salary. I had never seen my mother dance before she met him. They loved Elvis. ‘You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hounddog’ brought about dancing in our kitchen and smiles from both of them. If I close my eyes and hum the song, I can remember like it was yesterday. They were happy. The best memory I have is my mother playing a song she called ‘The Boogie.” I don’t even know the real name of the song. I’m not sure that she knew either. She had it memorized. All I know was that my mom went from being our mother, a 5th grade teacher, and strict disciplinarian to something else entirely when the song began. It started slowly, with just the left hand. Then the right hand got going. The song got faster and faster and louder as she went. She smiled while she played, the house full of music. I remember the look of complete satisfaction on her face when she was done. That’s the good stuff; the stuff I hold on to. The plaque that still hangs above her piano says it well “Music. I love it for what it makes me remember. And what it makes me forget.” Amen.
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