Monday, November 7, 2016

My Favorite Song

Doing what I promised yesterday...
6 - What is your favorite song at the moment?
I'm going to have to write a blog entry about me and songs and why I can never answer a question like this!
I can't remember when music was not part of my past life.  My father was a huge music aficionado, particularly jazz and more particularly jazz piano, but also those pop hits of the 30s and 40s.  He had a large collection of 78 rpm records and I loved to play them, especially the old Bing Crosby records. (In grammar school we were supposed to bring our favorite music and all the other kids brought classical pieces, I brought Bing's "Don't Fence Me In.") It sometimes amazes me that when I hear an "oldies but goodies" station, I know the lyrics to just about every song, yet I always bomb on the current music questions on Jeopardy.

I have a playlist in the car of popular music of the 40s and 50s which I know my mother loved when she listened to music and if I am taking her somewhere, I put on the playlist and though she can't remember she has great grandchildren, she can remember every word to every song and sing along with them.  She doesn't have a necessarily "good" voice but a sweet voice and I remember her singing around the house when I was growing up.

But throughout my life, my musical tastes and often even the specific genres were influenced by someone else.

As I was getting into my teens, Rock and Roll was in its infant stages.  My father declared it "the worst music ever written" and so I stuck with the balladeers like Perry Como, Vic Damone, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney and others.  When I mentioned that I was thinking of buying "Lollipop" by the Chordettes and "I Love You" by Sam Cooke, which I kind of liked, my father issued such a diatribe about rock and roll being "junk," that I never did buy those records (and regretted it all my life until they came out on iTunes!).  I'm sure my father would be amazed to see where rock and roll is today and how Sam Cooke is considered a legend.

So I just kind of missed the whole rock and roll thing.  Perhaps the only thing that was all "mine" was my love of show tunes.  The very first 33-1/3 album I bought after we got a player was a 10" record of the soundtrack from the movie Calamity Jane and I continued to buy soundtrack records for many years.

At one point I discovered radio station KKHI, which was San Francisco's classical station and I started listening to that.  I remember being at my grandmother's and sitting in the kitchen listening to the radio when she came in and said "that's nice, Bev, but could you really listen to it all day?"  She was from the world of vaudeville and my grandfather was part of a barbershop quartet, so classical music was not her milieu.

I don't remember being obsessive about any genre while I was in high school.  I didn't like Elvis and didn't really know anything about the Beatles and never followed their music.

But I remember that when I worked at the Physics Department, my boss, who played classical violin, introduced me to several pieces that I just loved (like Cesar Frank's Sonata in A for violin and piano) and I felt it was OK to like classical music again.  I was also working for the Lamplighters, with people who ate, drank, slept, and performed classical music and I was obsessed again.  Gilbert introduced me to a lot of music and once conducted the entire score of Mahagonny (Brecht and Weil) for me in his apartment.  Gilbert was a conductor and I remember his sitting on the floor with his baton and describing what was going on on stage, while the record played.

Of course there was Gilbert & Sullivan in those years, which I still enjoy, but rarely listen to.
After Gilbert died and I stopped being around Lamplighters I just kind of got away from classical music.  We had tickets for the San Francisco Symphony for many years, but they were so expensive and 9 times out of 10 I slept through half of the performance and I have come to really hate being on the freeway after dark. I was also working for Dr.G and frequently had to work late, and thus could not go, so I suggested Walt not renew my season tickets.  I haven't gone back since.  While I do go to performances in the city sometimes, it's not often and still I hate the ride home.

Of course during the Lawsuit years, I often had Lawsuit CDs on the CD player in the car, and after I met Steve Schalchlin, his CDs were a constant for several years.

When I met Peggy, and when she was here visiting, we both liked John Denver and he was the mood music of all of our Thelma and Louise adventures.  I can remember the exact spot where we were when I first heard certain songs and for the years after she left, John Denver replaced Steve's music.  I often sang along with "Grandma's Feather Bed" and never did get all the words right. But after our rift, which I still don't understand, I find John Denver to be more depressing than uplifting, so I almost never listen to his music any more either.

And audio books have replaced music in the car anyway.

There is no radio in the back part of the house, so even if I wanted to listen to music, I don't have a way to do it.  When I was working for Dr. G, we had the radio on most of the day to a popular radio station which almost always played Sarah McLachlan's "In the Arms of the Angel," which Marta and Paul's wife sang at his memorial service at least once during the day.  If it did nothing else for me, I finally no longer cry when I hear that song.

But over the years, music, which was once a very big part of my life, just isn't any more.  So I rarely have ear worms or favorite songs because I just almost never listen to music, which is really kind of sad, now that I think of it, given my history with music.

This morning around 9, I received a call from Atria saying my mother had been "unresponsive" when they went to give her her meds and they had to call the paramedics.  This was more than her simple passing out for a few minutes and then being groggy, this was full-on unresponsive.  Of course we don't know how long she was out before they found her in bed, but they found her, called the paramedics, they came, couldn't rouse her, put her in the ambulance, took her to the hospital, Atria called me and I was at the ER within 15 minutes and she was still out.  Her eyes were closed and she was not responding to anything.

I remembered how scared she was the first time she was taken to the ER and I went to hold her hand and told her I was there and her eyes flickered but then they started rolling from side to side and she didn't seen to recognize that I was there.

Eventually she started to come out of it, but she had to have been in this state for at least 30-45 minutes, if not longer (previously her spells only last a minute or two).  She couldn't remember where she was or why she was there and I explained it to her endlessly.  I knew she was going to be OK when she started flirting with the cute paramedic who had worked on her in the ambulance.

When I took her back to Atria, I was going to spend the afternoon, but she was so chipper and active that I decided I should just leave her alone so she could take a nap.  I arranged for Atria to put her on a 2 hour watch for the next couple of days just in case.

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