Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Music that Comes with Tears and Laughter

I’ve got to stop listening to old music from the ‘50s through the ‘80s. Once a month they have a birthday party here at the continuum care complex to celebrate everyone who was born in that particular month and the party usually includes a singer/musician. Many have been singer/song writers both young and old and they have something else in common. They try to sing songs fitting the age of our residents. One guy missed the mark and did too many songs from the ‘40s which on paper to a young person probably sounded good since most of us were born in the ‘40s but the music most old seniors like us identify with is the decade of songs from when we were teenagers and young adults. The ‘50s and ‘60s songs usually have us all singing along and having a great time. And I can have as much fun singing as the next person but those songs often make me teary-eyed as well. 

For example when the guy above in the photo ---John D. Lamb sang “Each night I ask the stars up above why must I be a teenager in love?” I felt like I was right back in high school, encamped in my converted attic bedroom with the pink cabbage roses in the wallpaper. I’d lay on my moss green carpet and play that record over and over again until my mom would yell up from the bottom of the steps for me to, 'Turn that damn thing off." I learned it from her---playing records over and over again the way she did when I was a toddler. She had a collection of WWII records that she played over and over again. The Andrew Sisters singing the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy is tattooed inside my head. 

I can’t hear a WWII, gun-ho-to-support-the-war song without remembering the day my dad and I cleaned out our basement and we took her record collection to the dump. We had a good time sailing those records across the field of garbage and trash. She hadn’t played them in years but she was so mad when she found out what we did that it took her a week before she spoke to either one of us. As an adult looking back I know there was a story there I’m missing, probably a love story about a boyfriend who joined the Air Force and never came back. She had a pair silver U.S. Air Force wings in her jewelry box and a photo of her with a guy she dated before my dad that she never talked about or rather I was too self-centered to ask about. Mom’s are moms. We don’t see their lost dreams the way we see our own.

At the same birthday party John D. Lamb also sang Anta Lucia in Italian. His ancestry is Italian like my dad’s was and hearing that love song sang that way reached so far back into my memory vault I had nearly forgotten about all the Italian weddings I’d been to as a young kid. My three great uncles were still alive and they spoke their native tongue and always sang that song to the bride while one or two of them played the accordion.

Another song that nearly brought me to tears was the theme song from Ghost. Remember Demi Moore’s character at a potter’s wheel while Patrick Swayze’s character/the ghost was behind her and the theme song played: “...I've hungered for your touch, A long, lonely time, And time goes by so slowly, And time can do so much, Are you still mine?” Corny, I know but to quote a line from The Holiday “I like corny.” I liked it enough that day to have trouble holding back the tears. But I did. 

Until John D. Lamb pulled out a Tom Jones song. I’ve told the story before but briefly its of the triangle dating thing I had going between me, Don and his friend who looked like he shared the same gene pool as Tom Jones. His first name was even Tom and he was playboy type who took full advantage of looking like the famous singer. “It's not unusual to be loved by anyone, It's not unusual to have fun with anyone’, but when I see you hanging about with anyone, It's not unusual to see me cry, I wanna die.” It was Don who had the staying power, as long time readers here know, who wanted to cry when he saw me out with the Tom Jones look-alike. Cornball, I know but it's my story and I'll tell it the way I want.

At lunch the next day someone remarked that I was having a good time at the birthday party, that she was sitting behind me and could see me getting into the music. “I was,” I told her, “but along with the happiness I fought back a few tears. Old music does that to me.” Others at the table said the same thing happened to them at this birthday party. So either John D. Lamb knew how to play to his audience or all of us had our emotions close too the surface that day and our tears needed a place to escape. I suspect it was a combination of both because the world outside that room, was filled with nothing but bad news. All I really know for sure is by the time the hour was up I was crushing on John D. Lamb and I left in a better mood than I came.  ©

The video below is of John singing a song he wrote about two friends who went to the capital January 6th. He didn't sing this at the party but I love how song writers can turn anything into music. He holds an annual Retreat for Song Writers and is on his 28th year doing so. The second video is a humorous song he wrote and did sing for us. It's for all of us who know what it's like to drive up north in Michigan.

Laughing in all the Wrong Places
 
Look Out for Deer

33 comments:

  1. Those were some of my favorite songs too... Nice that they have decent entertainment for you and your neighbors. Take care...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have so many entertainment opportunities I can't keep up with them all. Like this week they brought therapy horses out to the campus for us us to hug and pet and I missed that because I had an appointment.. This week they also did a field trip to a near by town to go to a showboat music event, I didn't have a folding chair to bring so I opted out. it was that or sit on bleachers. I sold all my folding chairs when move here.

      Delete
  2. Those monthly birthday parties sound like fun! It really is interesting how music affects a person. I've heard that our brains process music in a way that results in healing to our entire being. I don't have any scientific proof, but I know that it works for me. What amazes me is that I can be shopping at Walmart, hear a song from 50-60 years ago, and suddenly, I remember all the words. That's a good feeling for a forgetful senior citizen!

    Happy 4th of July, Jean! Bet you guys will celebrate big!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a lot of experimenting and studies going on with music therapy to see if is helps people with dementia and Alzheimer's but nothing concrete has been decided. Works to calm some people down, but agitate others. Music is stored in a different part of our brains than language and is used in speech therapy to try to jump start speech in people with language disorders. When my husband first had his stroke we sang songs he'd learned before the age of five everywhere we went because it was only language he had. It didn't work in his case but for 12 1/2 years he never lost the ability to sing happy birthday and Jesus love me. My memories of those songs aren't the same as other people's memories of those song which is a good example of why music therapy must be such a hard field to measure progress in.

      Delete
  3. Know how those old songs can get to you. Not that long ago I watched American Graffiti for the first time and cried through most of it. It was like sharing memories with an old friend I hadn't seen for 60 years. Sniffles and smiles.
    Can see why you were crushing on John D. Good looking guy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was last for this event and I usually like sitting in the back but I had to sit up in the front row where he made a lot of eye contract with me. He's not that much younger than us and he's the first guy I've seen in years who---well, you know. LOL When he's not singing he's a waiter in an Italian restaurant in a tourist area and so he's got good people skills.

      American Graffiti is a movie I never pass up watching. It reminds me of my teen years and my brother.

      Delete
  4. This is SO me. Music in my car...tears. I don't like to cry in front of people, so the car is the perfect place when I need a good boo hoo.

    You must have been a shyer child than I was. My mom's old boyfriend was a constant source of curiosity, although there were no pictures. When my dad died, she reconnected with him and married him! It turned out she had been wearing Chanel No. 5 her whole life after he brought her a bottle from Paris where he was in the Navy. But his name was never spoken until my dad died. There's a story there. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too with the car crying to music.

      I love your the story of your mom's second marriage! Sounds like a good plot for a romance book.

      I think I was too wrapped up in myself to really SEE my mom when I was a teenager. She was the disciplinarian in the family. One time I wore those wings to high school and told everyone I had a boyfriend in the Air Force and she got SO mad. I was a daddy's girl and she probably was afraid I'd tell my dad anything she told me about an x-boyfriend.

      Delete
  5. I was just commenting to my husband yesterday about how I can remember lyrics to songs from years and years ago, but I struggle to recall other more important things at times. Or where I set my phone down just moments ago. If only there were a way to dump some of the trivial stuff in our memory to make more room for the things we really need to keep track of.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish we could go through our brains and kick out the useless memories to make more space like we do with our phones and computers. How cool would that be. I'm trying to make it easier to keep track of things now by doing them the same way every day. For example, in the morning I make my bed and line up all my remotes and electronic devices on top so I am not looking for them. If I use, say, my phone it will go back on top of my bed when I'm done. I have to walk past my bed every time I go to the bathroom so if something is missing from my line of five I can tell right away.

      Delete
  6. I heard a young woman seeing "Que sera, sera" on Instagram the other day and that really touched my heart. She had such a lovely, pure voice and it sure hit me.
    Glad you enjoy the concerts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I especially like the singer/song writers. This guy has been able to carve a living out of doing what he loves doing and that's really a big deal, isn't it.

      Lots of new talent is being discovered on Instagram.

      Delete
  7. Music is good for the soul. Singing and listening. Entertainers need to use their math ... if the clientele was born in the 40's play music that was popular at their age 16 and above.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Some great songs here, I also listen to old music at night as I go to sleep

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I tried to do that my mind would never turn off...too many memories would come flooding in....

      Delete
  9. I grew up in the late 70's and 80's and graduated High School in 1984. Any time I hear certain 80's songs it is like a time travel back to that period. Music transports us to our memories and our past like nothing else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure does. I react more to the music of the late 70s through the '80s because my husband and I took a lot of road trips then and listened to a lot of music together.

      Delete
  10. Amazingly enough I haven't listened to much music for a long time. Mainly when an old song goes through my mind and I Google it to hear all of the lyrics.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have to say the 70s and 80s have most of the music that I return to for good listening, but on the other hand, I remember a lot of the 50s music with great affection -- especially Perry Como's! I will say that when I read the lyrics from "Unchained Melody" in your post, not only did the tune come back, I was dancing again with 'that special guy' during a party in our basement rec room. I still can see the patterns of the pink and black tile (vinyl?) and the bar that my dad built. Good times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There really is a strong tie with music and our ability to bring up memories of where and when we heard those songs before. A pink and black floor! I've seen the black and white and red and white but never a pink and black. That must have been super cool.

      Delete
  12. Music does transport us to a time and a place, to a person or an era we connect to and remember when we hear that particular Song. Our Antique Mall plays old Songs of various Eras... perhaps my Favorites being from a time I don't recall is because I can listen to the 30-40's Era Songs without Emotion and just enjoy them... no Memories good or bad, just Music I find to be pleasing and soothing to the Soul for me. As for Tom Jones, being he was from Wales and most people didn't even know where that was, my Mom had a major crush on him and pride that he brought her Homeland to the States in a way so that people finally quit asking her where Wales even was, as if shocked it was actually a Country, had a language and culture all it's own. Sir Tom is better looking now than when he was Young, for a guy whose 82, that's pretty incredible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's doing a concert near by this summer. I can't believe he's still working. Also can't believe his voice would be as good but I'll bet it would be a lot of fun to go.

      Delete
    2. You should go... I would! I saw James Brown just before he passed... and even tho' James was in his early 70's at the time, he Rocked that concert as much as he had when I saw him in the 1960's! Both Men, Legendary performers.

      Delete
  13. It's so weird that I always have to log out of Blogger to comment, but c'est la vie - as I get older life is every more mysterious. Anyway, to get to what I wanted to actually say - I listened to that song 'Laughing in all the Wrong Places' and it made me feel sad for the basically good people who were led into making bad choices on that day. I like that the singer spelled out that they behaved wrongly but he was compassionate. I think compassion can help the world out of the bad places it is going lately. BTW, this is Catherine aka parlance the dog blogger who has been following your story for decades! OMG, I'm old - it has literally been more than one decade, haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to log out and back in to comment on blogs too, even my own. I've gotten used to it but it's a major pain and only the determined will stick around long enough to do it. So thank you (and everyone else who does it).

      It was a sad song, wasn't it. Trump has broken up families and old friendships with his Big Lie. I don't know if anything will ever break the spell he has over people who would follow him over a cliff. There are a couple here who think the 1/6 hearing are just awful, that we would just essentially forget it ever happened.

      I am old, too, and literally 20 years of my life is online.

      Delete
  14. There are certain songs that when I hear them I burst into tears. Who knows why? And when performed beautiflly, all the more reason. My favorite periods are the 40s, 60s and 70s. (And anything Broadway!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. The Beatles "Yesterday" and Lonestar's "Amazed" always make me cry and I know exactly why that is with those two songs. Others, not so much on knowing why I'll tear up.

      Delete
  15. A few years ago, my choral singing group did a concert of Motown songs. I think many of the younger singers in the group were a bit shocked to see all the seventy- and eighty-something singers rocking out to those 60s hits!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I find that music brings emotional responses in me too. I also have a bad habit of hearing a word or a phrase and immediately a song lyric comes to mind, and then the song pops out of my mouth. I've embarrassed myself doing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't be embarrassed. Lots of us admire someone who can remember song lyrics and belt them out at will.

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to comment. If you are using ANONYMOUS please identify yourself by your first name as you might not be the only one. Comments containing links from spammers will not be published. All comments are moderated which means I might not see yours right away to publish through for public viewing as I don't sit at my computer 24/7.