The Wonder Years...
Today my hand grater became a microphone. It was magical! As usual, I woke up with a mental list of chores to complete, nothing urgent, just some things I wanted to get done before the weekend. I got a late start, but that was fine as there was a nice breeze going on that I've missed for some time. I got the laundry started, watered the back yard of hay colored spots that only summer can bring, harvested some chamomile that blooms for me everyday now, fed the backyard birds, gave some undivided attention to the licking monster who has to wear the 'cone of shame' at bedtime for another 8 nights, and then enjoyed a late breakfast when my daughter came home from work for an early lunch.
One of my 'must do' items was make some homemade zucchini bread. This year Bill's garden has taken off with cucumbers and zucchini. He's already made 3 batches of his infamous sweet pickles and he brought in two gorgeous zucchinis that are all but demanding they be used for bread so today was the day. Honestly, it's my favorite way to eat vegetables 😉 and it's one of the very few things our entire family craves.
As I was retrieving the handy dandy family recipe book, I decided to plug my phone in our kitchen speakers and turn on a little Pandora radio. Today's choice of music...50s/60s radio. I can see Bill's eyes rolling right now, 'Oh Boy...' he's probably thinking. And then it happened...as I was stirring all the ingredients in the bowl and getting ready to grate some zucchini, the hand grater became a microphone. Then, my hips were feeling no pain (having left hip problem since February) and they were shifting left to right, up and down went the knees, and I was sliding on the wood floors to the Beach Boys, then I was doing the twist...alone, the stroll...alone....I'm pretty sure anyone watching would have thought I have a physical disorder as I am not a fashionable dancer. Plus, I was giving a one man concert at the top of my lungs that the dog decided the back deck was much safer to rest. When I noticed her go outside, nostalgia kicked in...
When my brother and I were growing up, our house didn't have central air conditioning. We were fortunate to have an enormous maple tree in the back yard the provided shade and a breeze into our kitchen window and back screen door. The kitchen, like all kitchens, was the heart of the home. It is there that my mom had her radio turned on, placed on the windowsill, to 55KRC. It was on the instant she walked into the kitchen. Some people get coffee started, she, however, turned on the radio. And it was on ALL DAY whether you were in the kitchen or not. If she was home, it was on. It was an AM station and played 50s/60s music. I didn't even realize until I was around 12 years old that there was an FM. We grew up thinking that 50s/60s was the present day music, not a decade or two old. The kitchen is where she cooked, played solitaire, ironed clothes, wrote letters to my aunt in the P.I. as it was referred to (Philippines), and where we learned to sing and dance. She would grab my brother and they would dance and move their hips like it was their day job. She gave up trying to get me to dance because I always viewed dancing as some skill and I lacked in that skill. I would bury my head at the table or just sing while they danced. I didn't realize you're suppose to just let your body "move" any way it wants with the music until I was drunk in my late teens and decided to "dance". I was told I enjoyed dancing 😂, but never told I was good at it! Today I consider dancing an art and I am an abstract dancer.
So for years I memorized song after song, artist after artist, and got excited when I heard my favorites. When my mom wasn't home, the radio wasn't on and that gave me the opportunity to play the Beach Boys album repeatedly in the dining room and on occasion Elvis' Blue Hawaii. I'd also grab whatever kitchen tool was available to use as a microphone! 🎤
I can't honestly say what most girls my age dreamt their future would be like, but my dreams were formed from the music I listened to. I imagined my life in the different songs. I envisioned myself as one of the girls on the beach when the Beach Boys came on, especially the songs about fast cars, or walking through a door to a party wearing "Johnny's" class ring singing "It's Judy's Turn To Cry". I even remember envisioning my life meeting a guy as a teenager, he falling head over heals for me, just like in the song, "And Then He Kissed Me"-I played that one over and over! Then at 16, wouldn't you know it, I met Bill...My real Da Doo Ron Ron! 💕 My life was an oldies song!
After finally using the grater for what it was suppose to be used for, listening to Little Anthony's Tears On My Pillow and Lesley Gore's You Don't Own Me, I mentally reminisced about the easy summer days of child hood. The breeze was blowing in the back door just like it did when I was a kid, the music was going, the bread was in the oven, and I was doing dishes. I was thinking about how slow time went and how I remembered what seemed like everything. Today I can't even remember what I had for dinner two days ago. I remember summers were hot, but I don't remember it ever being this hot. I remember sitting in our screened-in porch which was also shaded by a big maple, reading a teenage summer romance book at 11 years old or meeting up with the neighborhood boys to go swim at the park pool across the street. We'd come home starving for lunch all dripping wet dropping our bicycles in the driveway or front yard and mom would make us bologna sandwiches...all the windows open, sheer curtains blowing in the breeze and Neil Sedaka on the radio. The music was on; that was home.
Have you ever seen the television series, The Wonder Years? For most, including myself, this was what life was like. The American Dream of owning a home and one car. Dinner ready when dad came home from work. Lights seem to naturally dim in the house after dinner because it was time to settle down. Except in the summer; summer meant you were out chasing lightening bugs, playing hide and seek or ghost in the graveyard in the dark. But the oldies music was the lifestyle. Music was more powerful than television because television a form of entertainment and well, you just didn't watch it that often. Radio was it! Wolf Man Jack was the man! Oldies music was youthful, it was America!
Life changed one day when my dad came home with a little 45 record. He said he wanted my mom to hear it and I guess they thought I could sing because I specifically remember my mom say to him, '...let her hear it so she can learn to sing it...' He told me it was a new song, but I was curious where someone hears a new song. That's when I learned he listened to "other" music in his car. Years later I asked for my own radio and learned all about FM stations. Then I asked for my own record player, then cassette player...I was growing up. Regardless, I always went back to the oldies. Poor Bill didn't know what to think when I met him and played oldie after oldie. He knew none of them, but I'm glad to say he's now had 32 years of education ☺️ Of course he's done his fair share of educating me with music I didn't listen to!
It's days like today that I am very thankful for. First, I'm ever so blessed to be able to stay at home and keep house, cook, do laundry, feel the breeze. I'm blessed to be able to remember so much of what sculpted my person. There are some not so happy memories, but the good far out weigh the bad. I'm thankful for having the opportunity to make memories for our kids. I often wonder what will be the memories they remember the most. Pretty sure it won't be my abstract dancing! And lastly, I'm thankful for all those who give me wonderful memories. ❤️
For those interested, I put the zucchini recipe under the Recipe tab. It's super easy, very sweet, and a tasty way to eat your vegetables lol. And for those wondering who my favorite 50s/60s artists were, well, there were several. Of course The Beach Boys and the Crystals, then there's the Mamas and The Papas, Lesley Gore, Righteous Brothers, Bobby Vinton, but my ultimate favorite...Roy Orbison💕 And what was the little 45 my dad brought home that was my big life changer??? It was a new song from a little group from Sweden I'd never heard of before called Abba, and the song was Fernando....💖