Monday, April 27, 2009

My Mother Likes Music

My mother likes music.

First we had a portable box stereo with removable speakers and spindly metal legs to stand on. It was only a step above the toy turntable I had. Then Mom got a big console stereo for our living room. It was at least 5 feet long and was made of dark, real wood. The middle of the top opened up to a turntable and radio controls. The front sides held the big speakers. I say it was my mother’s because she was the one who played music.

She grew up with music. Her mom played piano and so did she, although we never got to have a piano in our home. Years later she retrieved some of her old sheet music from a yard sale at my uncles’ house. Somehow he’d gotten it when Grandma died. In high school, Mom played coronet in the marching band. I imagine her in a gray uniform with gold piping on it, making those precision turns as they marched on the football field at half time.

Now, as mother of 6 children and working full time assembling computer components she didn’t have much free time to play music. But the stereo brought music into her life—and mine too.

She belonged to the Record of the Month Club and we got to enjoy many wonderful singers and show tunes. Nat King Cole was a favorite, along with Johnny Mathis, and Andy Williams. Their smooth, male voices crooned sweetly to our ears and our hearts. I learned all the show tunes from Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Camelot, and West Side Story before ever seeing the movies.

The music lightened up our lives and was a way to feel our hearts in an environment where there wasn’t much speaking about feelings.

Mom got rid of the stereo awhile after it broke to make more room to seat our large clan in the living room. I inherited some of her albums. I carried them with me for years, even after I no longer had a turntable. Then for Christmas one year I bought Mom a retro-looking turntable and returned her records to her. Now that she is alone a lot, she has more time and space to spin her disks. She can listen to records, tapes or CDs, all in the same tidy but tuneful machine. Music still makes our hearts sing, no matter whether it’s a record, tape or disc.

No comments: