Have you ever gotten out of bed in the morning with a song in your head? I don’t mean you wake up singing, but has it ever happened that there is a song you just can’t shake from the moment you wake up?
I don’t know what causes this, but it happens to me quite often. I doubt that it has anything to do with my living so close to music, songs and all that. But of late, I can’t get my mind off not just one song but a whole bunch of oldies and goodies.
Maybe I am just on a nostalgia trip.
Or it may be a defense mechanism in my brain protecting me from songs enjoying public acclaim today that I can’t understand. And it makes me remember the old stuff just to soothe my mind.
My mother was a classical singer. Even when she sang opera in Italian, her diction was perfect. The Italian tenors who sang lead roles with her thought she spoke their language like a native.
Mama was in the music faculty of several universities. Some of the aspiring young singers she taught at home. I remember hearing her tell them to enunciate, no matter how high or difficult the note was, or the song would be totally lost on the listener. Today I find myself telling her grandchildren the same thing.
For the past several days I have been humming “Love Letters (straight from your heart)” a beautiful song written in 1945 by Victor Young and Edward Hayman.
“I’m not alone in the night. When I can have all the love you write.”
Does anyone send cartas de amor anymore?
Do you know anyone today, young or old, who takes paper and pen to a quiet corner to write a letter that starts with “My darling?” I don’t.
Yes there is texting and all that new instant stuff. But a letter is so different. The breathless waiting for its arrival, that sensuous thrill of opening the envelope and at last holding a love letter in your hands, these have no known substitute.
Truly our gadgets provide us an amazing way to keep in touch. I can’t imagine anything faster or more efficient to reach out. Thanks to these handheld devices, there are no long absences, no more lonely silences. There is no reason to miss anyone at all.
And I ask, is that all good?
Anticipation. Expectation. Gone with a click?
Do I sound like a masochist when I say that missing someone is at once an excruciating and delicious feeling? Imagining your next meeting may be the most exciting daydream you will ever have.
A wise man once said: “Missing someone is a part of loving them. If you are never apart, you’ll never know how strong your love is.”
I recently listened to my kind of music with a friend and we agreed that they don’t write songs like they used to back in the day. Do I think this because I was barely in my 20s then, foolish and in love, and the lyrics spoke to my heart? Maybe.
The young people I know swear that today’s songs have meaning just like the ones of old. They blame my problem on the new style or tempo. They might be right.
All I know is that I can’t understand what they sing. I try to make sense of their lyrics. But when I pick up a word or two, my heart remains untouched.
I suppose that my parents felt the same way about our boogie and be-bop. But I remember Mama thought “Raggmopp” was cute and liked the songs of Sinatra and Vic Damone. I guess there wasn’t that big a jump from her time to mine.
My generation gap seems like a chasm.
There’s good news! Not every young person is completely taken by today’s hits and hit-makers. My granddaughter, 17, shuns Bieber and loves the Beatles. When I hear her sing their music, I happily think, there’s hope.
’Tis the season
Heads up. Our next big traffic-maker is right around the corner. I don’t look forward to Halloween. For some reason that spooky celebration has never been my favorite holiday. Seeing skulls, skeletons and ugly witches everywhere does not delight me in the least. But I do buy candy for the kids in their fancy costumes.
The countdown has started. Every evening the news ends with the number of days left until Christmas. Is this to create panic or heighten the spirit of the season? Thinking of traffic puts me in a “Bah Humbug” mood.
Bazaars are once again in business. Soon the eager hordes will be rushing in to get the best buys. By the way, many have the mistaken notion that these are bargain places. Not so. But you do find items that you don’t see in regular stores, so they are worth a visit or two.
My holiday marker is Thanksgiving. It is a night of feasting and giving thanks as family. We put up our tree and for us at home it really begins to look a lot like Christmas.
I can’t wait to hang my farol. I hope to get an old-fashioned traditional one this year for my side of the house. I want one with no bells or whistles. I don’t care for LED lights that go on and off.
I miss the one that hung outside our window in Sampaloc when I was a child: a simple white star with tassels that swayed in the breeze. I loved the soft glow it brought to my room. It was quiet, peaceful, comforting.