I’ve been thinking a lot about songs lately and how hearing one can instantly send you back in time. The very first song I can remember is “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles. I remember being in our kitchen in Montana listening to it on the radio, and we moved to Twin Falls when I was 3. “You Are My Sunshine” is my brother Steve playing the guitar and encouraging his toddler brother to sing along. I wasn’t good then either.
“Walking After Midnight” by Patsy Cline puts me on Falls Avenue East in Twin Falls listening to my mom sing along as she cleans house. I must have been about 4 years old at the time because I was not in school, yet I remember it vividly. Tammy Wynette had two hits which remind me of Mom, and they seem at odds with each other: “Stand By Your Man” and “D.I.V.O.R.C.E.” She sang a lot when I was a kid, and I remember being on icy Falls Avenue in Twin Falls in her red Buick station wagon hearing her sing those country songs. 40+ years later, I understand that she sang both those songs as she grappled with the tough decision to divorce my father – a decision that saved all of us including him.
“Eight Days a Week” or “Honey Don’t” by the Beatles brings a memory of my brother Steve teaching my mom to dance to rock and roll in our dining room. She was wearing black Capri pants and a white dress blouse. He was wearing a paisley shirt. She must have been about 34 or 35 years old which seems really young now! “Who Wants to Buy This Diamond Ring” is my brothers Steve and Dirk’s junior high school band playing at Bass Lake at the Blue Lakes Country Club. "Killing Me Softly With His Song" is my beloved late friend Carolyn who babysat me when I was little and explained the importance of taking it easy, laying in the sun, reading a good book, and putting your beach blanket near a larger person so you looked better in comparison.
“Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd is the summer after high school graduation which seems distant yet recent at the same time. “I’m Not In Love” by 10CC puts me back on a highway between Twin Falls and Kalispell, Montana in my brother Dan’s green Datson 240Z when he was letting his teenage brother (me) drive before I had a license as we headed home after visiting our grandparents. “The Long and Winding Road” from the Beatles “Abbey Road” reminds me of my brother Dirk who bought that album when we lived in a little rental on Monroe Street in Twin Falls after our parents divorced. He threatened me with my 3rd grade life if I scratched it, and I was so careful with his album. The song “She Came In Through the Bathroom” window from that same album reminds me of Dirk and Steve because they snuck into the Monroe house one night through the bathroom window, and Dirk fell into the tub when the towel bar gave way. At least I think that happened. Memories like songs can evolve through the years!
“Green Eyed Lady” is my stepsister Nancy. “Saturday In The Park” by the Doobie Brothers sends me back to perfect Twin Falls’ afternoons headed to swim somewhere. “Love Story” from the movie puts me in the passenger seat of a Cutlass 442 late on a Friday night as my brother’s friend headed to Boise for Marine Reserve Training and, on a monthly basis, took his buddy’s little kid brother back and forth so I could visit my dad. “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer is Senior year in high school.
Any song by ABBA reminds me of Heather and makes me smile.
“Dust in the Wind” reminds me of a middle of the night trip to San Francisco with my friend Chap as we followed our buddy Joe who was moving there after college but had packed every cassette other than “Kansas’ Greatest Hits.” Frank Sinatra singing “Fly Me To the Moon” reminds me of Charles Manson because the summer I discovered Sinatra through my incredible stepfather/mentor, I was also reading the terrifying “Helter Skelter.”
“Separate Ways” by Journey used to remind me of college days….seeing Journey at the BSU Pavilion (pre-Taco Bell days) in the 4th row on the floor using tickets my roommate and BSU bookstore employee Jeff had obtained. We thought that night was just perfect. Now? That song reminds me of Ethan because he loves it! He also loves hard rock, and our recent monster truck experience has made AC/DC a particular favorite of his. He hears it on the radio – or George Thorogood – and he says with excitement “Dad! That’s our monster truck song!”
Every song on the radio has the potential of a memory. As Ethan drives along with Mom and Dad during our travels, I wonder what memories he will take away that will drift into his consciousness in 44 years when he is my age? I want them to be good memories. And good music….