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This week’s Write or Die Wednesday prompt asks, “Which song brings back memories for you and why?”
Music is an extraordinary force in my life.
There are two things that bring back memories for me: music and clothes. I can remember exact songs and exact outfits associated with exact moments in the past. I know what outfit I was wearing when I had my first kiss and when my grandfather died. I know the songs I had on repeat during my first crush and the song that reminds me of living in Ft. Benning as a little kid.
I make music videos in my head daily, I walk down the street with my iPod on and imagine an entire film going on around me.
The long story short is that this prompt could inspire a novel length post about every memory I have…but I won’t bore you.
So, I’ll pick five songs that are associated with specific childhood memories for me.
1. The River of Dreams-Billy Joel| This song is associated with some of my earliest memories. We moved to Fort Benning, Georgia in August of 1992 and my dad was a Drill Sergeant there until 1997, when we moved to Hawaii. My mom and I attended Grace Baptist Church in Columbus for a few years right after we moved there and I remember riding to church on Sunday mornings, eating cheese toast, and listening to this song on the way. My grandfather also loved Gullah and Geechee history (hence my interest in the two) and this song and video remind me of him too.
2. Don’t Cha-The Pussy Cat Dolls| So, this will be a funny story. When I was in 10th grade I had a crush on a classmate. We would pass notes in class and he ended up being my first kiss in the hallway during second lunch period. I was wearing Birkenstocks and a Red wool sweater from Abercrombie and Fitch (so pathetic, I know). Well, we were kissing buddies for over a year. My mom would drive us to the movies across town on Friday nights and whatnot, but there was one small issue, he had a girlfriend the entire time (hence the reason we had to go to the movies across town). I eventually asked him why he wouldn’t break up with her and date me and I quote, “You aren’t really girlfriend material.” So that was the end of my kissing buddy in 10th grade and the end of my mom driving me to my kissing sessions, haha! Well, Fall comes around and I was still a bitter little crazy teenage girl. He lived near our school so several times a month I would drive by his house on my way home and blare this song with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. We ended up dating for over a year after high school, but this song definitely accompanied one of the best memories from that saga.
3. Three Little Birds-Bob Marley| Numbers three and four are tied for my favorite songs ever. This song is responsible for my obsession with Reggae music and associated with tons of great memories from growing up in Hawaii. I had never heard Reggae before moving to Hawaii. Well, first, let me explain something. My dad goes through musical phases. My mom listens to all kinds of music, like me, but my dad will get on a genre kick and that is all he will listen to for months (or years in the case of his current Red Dirt Country obsession). In Hawaii he went through a Jimmy Buffett phase and a Mowtown phase, before settling on Reggae. One day we went to the PX and he bought a three disk Bob Marley set and for weeks afterwards we drove around the island as a family listening to every disc over and over. One of the first times I remember hearing Three Little Birds we were driving on H3 and drove all the way to Kaneohe. It was so much fun and that’s been my favorite song ever since. Any time I’m really sad or discouraged I always play this song a few times and it’s a magic cure!
4. Take it Easy-The Eagles| This is one of the first songs I ever learned. While living at Fort Benning I had a babysitter and her husband played the guitar. He only knew a few songs, but this was one of them. I learned it by heart and would always sing it when my parents played it or I heard it on the radio. I was a really sick kid and in April of 1995 I had to got to Egleston Children’s Hospital at Emory in Atlanta to have a Nissan Fundoplication. Dr. Gerald Teague was the surgeon and one of his first questions was what song I wanted to be played when I was being put under, of course my choice was Take it Easy! When we moved from Mililani, Hawaii to Bixby, Oklahoma in 2003 we drove across country and one of our pitstops was the corner mural in Winslow, Arizona. I finally got to see The Eagles, live in Tulsa with my mom, and I shed a few tears when this song was played. It’s another one of those songs that can really help you if you’re down and out and need a boost.
5. No Such Thing-John Mayer| More high school memories with this one. I had a crush on another guy in 10th grade and a few weeks before Spring Break of that year, I went over to his house to hangout and watch movies (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and My Best Friend’s Wedding) and he had this CD playing. I was smitten and rushed home and told my mom he really liked John Mayer so she went and bought me the CD. I listened to that thing day in and day out for a solid month. My mom and I drove to Alabama for Spring Break that year and her poor soul had to listen to that CD there and back. My crush kept up throughout high school, even though we never got to date. So, thanks to him No Such Thing will always be the song while the credits are rolling in my movie of high school!
I’ll add one more, for good measure!
6. Bring Em Out-T.I.| So, yet another high school memory. In 10th grade I went to the only other formal I ever attended (besides Senior prom), Winter Ball. I had a killer dress, but no date and the girls I was friends with at the time all carpooled and I wasn’t invited. Thankfully, my saint of a mother drove me and waited in the car for almost 5 hours while I danced the night away. I have several memories from that night that are associated with this song. The gentlemen from numbers 2 and 5 from above were there and I danced with both of them (player, player). Gentleman 2 still had the same girlfriend but she was an underclassman and couldn’t attend. Despite this, she had scouts at the dance watching gentleman number 2 and so we had to sneak around all night. I do specifically remember “getting low” with gentleman number 5 on the dance floor, just in time for one of my softball coaches and his wife to see me and point and laugh. But the cherry on top of the sunday was yet another mishap whilst getting cray on the dancefloor. Now, remember, gentleman number 2’s girlfriend has people watching him at the dance. Well, we thought we could be sneaky and move to the middle of the dancefloor to get our 10th grade freak dance on, to none other than Bring Em Out. We thought we were safe. We were sure our plan was foolproof. That is until about 4 months later when the yearbook came out and what lucky pair had an action shot in the yearbook? That’s right, some tricky, tricky soul captured our secret twerk fest and put it in the yearbook! Hahaha!
LOTS of other songs hold memories for me. Here’s a list of some of the big ones: Old 97s-Question| America-Sister Golden Hair|Beer, Bait, and Ammo-Kevin Fowler|Diamond-Bankhead Bounce| The Circle Game-Joni Mitchell|Chattahoochee-Alan Jackson|Family Tradition-Hank Williams Jr.|Too Much Too Young-The Specials| Vive y Dejame Vivir-Banda Cuisillos| Reggae Train-Kapena
So, what’s your favorite song? Do you associate memories with music? Comment below!