Moments to remember …

… like flash cards to practice your multiple times table … moments that flash when we walk into a room, re-read our favorite book or poem, see an old film, or hear that favorite song.

For me it has always been the sound of music … a haunting melody, a song or series of songs that take me to another time and place.

One such memory starts with the harmony of The Four Lads, with the big guy playing the guitar, and me dancing on my father’s feet … the cold flat on 39th Street. The time we had nothing but each other and didn’t know we were poor … the last age of innocence … the fifties.

“January to December, we’ll have moments to remember.”

Until Boomers became teenagers, adolescence meant “growing” into carbon copies of our parents, mimicking their tastes in clothing, food, entertainment and most of all … music.

So much attention to the time of our life that is the shortest yet in our memory, last the longest. Far into adulthood, past middle age and well on our way to senior discounts at the movies, we carry her saunter with us down supermarket aisles. We remember leaning on the hood of a car, laughing in groups of two’s and three’s, as the female hunts in numbers.

I remember bobby socks, penny loafers, full, swishy skirts and tight sweaters … neckerchiefs and long ponytails, deliberately letting our skirts swing to the sensual rhythm of our gate, like wild cats on the prowl, the mating call of the teenage girl.

With the click of a button I’m back in the school auditorium, riding the bus to the Friday night basketball games or the weekly dances at the local high schools, back to the excitement of our music. Not our aunt or uncle or mom or dad’s music … but exclusively ours …

When  Long Tall Sally was … everything that Uncle John needs …

Not only in New York or the Motor City, not just Newark or Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland or Oneonta … but all over the country … crazed teenagers like us found a new voice … Rock ‘n Roll …

I want you to know that if you ever leave me, I don’t want anybody else …
you know you wanna make me SHOUT

Somewhere between high school, marriage and children, the sixties exploded with Vietnam, Civil Rights, government upheaval, corruption … the death of Camelot.

I fell in love again … this time with the new “rock” … The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dead and the poor boy down on the corner … Woodstock … peace signs and love-ins and Jimmy Hendrix playing the National Anthem.

We married and birthed babes, we split, became the confounded, decomposed families of a new modern age and I became a single parent.

Yesterday … all my troubles seemed so far away …

Somewhere in the seventies I became enchanted with Judy Blue Eyes. And no matter when or how many hundreds of times I hear her version of this Beatles’ song, I know it defines all those that came before and … the nameless one I will always love more.

  In My Life, Judy Collins

There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed, some forever not for better. Some are gone and some remain. For these places have their meaning, with lovers and things I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living, in my life I’ve loved them all.

But all these friends and lovers there’s no one can compare with you. All these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new. Though I know I’ll never lose affection, for people and things that went before. I know I’ll often stop and think about them. In my life I love you more.

A memory that my children took with them was the sound of one album … my most overplayed and worn album … the one I have replaced six times and resent that certain tracks are missing from the CD version … the songs both children grew to hate and I still love Rumors, Fleetwood Mac …

… and the song I have instructed them to play at my funeral because I was and will always happily be … Second Hand News …  so please I implore … won’t you lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff …

After the seventies, Generation X’ers took over the airwaves with a depressing girl from Ireland who saved her head, The Cure, Depeshe Mode, and The Police. I discovered MTV and more crazed teenagers took over my life.

But hey, that’s another story.

What triggers your memories. What if anything

Defines you … your writing.

Who do you think you were then?

fOIS In The City


Filed under Ramblings

16 responses to “Moments to remember …

  1. Florence – Another wonderful post. You took me right down memory lane with your music and prose, splendid as always. I have Moment’s To Remember and In My Life on various play list but not the exact recordings you’ve provided. I’m adding yours to other play lists. I’ve always loved music and have often enjoyed sound tracks more than actual movies. I’ll agree, music triggers memories and I almost always write with classical piano playing. Each one of my characters also have their own play list. Great post!


    • Thanks, Sheri. Moments to Remember was done by a half-dozen groups and singles during the fifties and sixties. The only other version of In My Life that I know is by the Beatles who wrote it (John or Paul) and their tempo was faster. Speaking of tracks to movies, some of John Barry’s stuff (Out of Africa, Body Heat and Somewhere in Time) as so haunting that the melodies remain with me for weeks.

      There are two fun movie tracks … Grease and American Graffiti 🙂


      • Tom knows every word to the Grease movie as well as the sound track. His daughters nearly drove us crazy playing it over and over and over. Another sound track that has stayed with me through the years is Dirty Dancing and another is Mama Mia. The best part of living in DC was seeing the first full broadway shows after they left New York. We were still privy to the original casts. How I miss grabbing the metro and heading for the theaters — one of the best parts of living in DC was the terrific assortment of broadway shows to choose from each weekend.


      • My daughter and her friends watched Grease so many times, I feel like I could play Newton John’s role … but I’d rather be the bad girl … Stockard Channing 🙂


  2. Music is a huge memory trigger for me, as well, Florence. Beginning with my teen years and beyond.

    Those memories bring a smile to my heart, and (BONUS!) classics from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s remain popular. We don’t have to appear ancient and addled when we know the words.

    A MAJOR for me will always be the MoTown sound. Bring it on Smoky! Temptations? Oh, yeah. I fell in love to that music. I feel the tow-curling glee of that to this day.

    Double Bonus! I get part of my daily exercise from dancing alone in public when those tunes hit my ears.

    Love this series, Florence.


    • Yowza, yowza ole’ buddy. Tell me about it Gloria … MoTown was the bomb with so many greats the list is longer than my arm. It was Muddy Waters, MoTown and the Inner City rock that rolled over the country and took us in its wake!! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  3. Florence, such a great post. I am so happy music exists at all. It’s a miracle that an individual can create a tune and add words (or not) and make a song that lasts forever in my head, bringing back memories that trigger feelings. I can’t recall what I learned in college but I remember every word of a Beatle’s song. Why is that?


    • Yeah Patti, it’s called selective memory. Who wants to remember statistical formulas when they can remember the lyrics to dozens of great songs?

      Often, I can remember exactly where I was the first time I heard a particular song. Now those are memories we can cherish 🙂


  4. christicorbett

    I am one of the Gen X’s who was raised on MTV, but I’ve always appreciated music of the generations before me, especially the great ones you’ve featured here. It’s amazing how music can take us right back into the moment…love this post!

    Christi Corbett


    • Christi, often when I mention my Gen-X kids, I think of you. I love that you all have our music circling in your heads. Believe me, MTV was a major event when it began. Thanks … music does indeed take us back to the moment 🙂


  5. Thanks much for revisiting these iconic moments in the soundtrack of my life! I still work out to Little Richard. I have an old tape that’s just right for a 30 minute workout.


    • Ah yes, my boomer buddy … I truly loved Little Richard and all of them. Saw most of them perform at the Brooklyn Paramount and never get tired of shaking to the sound. Great that you exercise to such happy stuff … makes the work more fun 🙂


  6. OMG, Florence, you’re post and trip down memory land echoes the songs/albums of my life. I still must listen to Judy whose voice will forever sing in my heart. But you forgot her Michael from Mountains and Who Knows Where the Time Goes…Ahh, such memories.

    And Fleetwood Mac and the beauty of Stevie Nicks notes against their unique sound.

    Thanks for the memories…


    • Yes, yes, Casey … Judy Blue Eyes had and still has a crystal voice and so many of her songs hold special meanings for us. Fleetwood Mac was the bomb and Stevie Nicks the short fuse. Thanks for being there with me again … our vintage is showing and I like it 🙂


  7. I wasn’t born until 79, but I still love all of those songs! Wonderful to hear more about your life . . . music takes me back too, as well as movies. I just reread journal entries from my first semester of college–sooo much fun to look back 🙂


    • Jamie, I think you already know that age is not relevant with music. You can be a child of whatever time and still connect to music from other generations. Often when I reread my old journals I have the same sensation of being sent back for a short visit. It is indeed fun to look back 🙂


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