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Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the
Hudson Valley

Music and Memories

  • 02/18/2015 1:06 PM
    Message # 3228857

    I was waiting in line last night to purchase some corn and beans to throw into soup. We've had a lot of soup weather these past few weeks...

    I had been running through the store to grab what I needed before picking up E from school, and so the music playing over the speakers hadn't registered at all. I was too focused on my task. But as I waited for the few people in line ahead of me to check out, I finally tuned into the song. It was "Take my Breath Away" by Berlin, made most famous, I think, by the Top Gun soundtrack. You remember Top Gun. Starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. I loved that movie. Had the poster on my wall. I loved Tom Cruise. I'm a child of the early 80's after all.

    When I realized what the music was, the first thing I thought (and actually probably said out loud) was: Gosh, it's been a long time since I heard this. And I was suddenly swamped with memories. Not even specific ones, really, but with remembered feelings. What it was like to sit in my room and play solitaire listening to my cassette tape (and later cd) of the Top Gun soundtrack. Of sleepovers with a bunch of middle school girls. Remembered feelings of childhood celebrity crushing-- I know I'm not the only one who knows how that felt!. Remembered feelings of being young, having few responsibilities, and thinking that life was still complicated and messy, and exciting and wide open.

    And I thought to myself, not for the first time, how amazing it is that music can unlock so much. That after years, I still remember every word of that song. That although it may not have raised up this or that specific moment, it definitely brought me back decades. To a time when life felt urgent. To a time when pain rode shotgun with longing; when days and weeks and years, that in retrospect flew by, seemed to drag on forever; when everything was uncertain and yet certainty seemed a real thing; when I thought I was so very grown up.

    What song would take you back decades to those strange and wonderful and horrible years of adolescence? Would those memories be fond?

    Although moments of unexpected memory can be hard, they can also be joyous. A reminder that each of us comes to the place we are now with a long history of good and bad. A long history that resonates with some and seems foreign to others. But it's our own, and it's inside us always.

  • 02/23/2015 6:47 PM
    Reply # 3233529 on 3228857
    Betsy Tomic (Administrator)

    I agree with Sarah's Wonderings about how music can evoke memories and feelings.  And I think, "Wow, Sarah recognizes that from her 30 years on this earth" because I have 57 years and so many decades of music that bring forth the same series of feelings. Her "child of the 80's" music is my "operating life as a cool 20's adult" music (read: "OMG what life do I want" music). AT that time in NYC, girls would arrange to "go to clubs" and I had no interest but would occasionally go because... I thought I should!   I can remember in 6th grade sitting on a back porch of Patty McManus,  listening to The Archies "Sugar Sugar"  33  record and feeling FREE and ALIVE. And on and on through today.  The past ten years have been learning the hip-hop, rap, and urban music of all my foster teenagers.  I have felt enlarged by that;  I think of my corporate colleagues who will never know about this music. Most is awful, but some is very very meaningful.  Or a great dance beat ! 

  • 06/29/2015 11:02 PM
    Reply # 3409352 on 3228857
    Jeanette Gould

    Dear Betsy,

    Here is a tune that I have been humming lately, with apologies to Jean Villard Gilles and Marc Herrand for some changes I made. 

         Now the chapel bells are ringing in a little valley town, 

         'Tis welcome they are singing for two boy babies born.

         And the little congregation prayed for guidance from above.

         Hear our prayer of dedication. Bless this hour of celebration.

         May their lives be filled with love.  

    It dates from before the fifties and so you are too young to recall that several musical groups recorded it and it was a big hit.  Now it is a good fit!!

    Jeanette Gould


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