Older Than Dirt: Music and Memories

Most of us were introduced to music at a very young age. Long before I started school, my Mom used to sing songs to me all the time. Most of them were songs that she grew up with. Some were songs from the war. Her song with my Dad was “Little Things Mean A Lot.” They would even sing that song together.

While I still had not started school, I was the youngest and the only one still home during the day. My Mom would hum the tune from an old song, or a television commercial and I was supposed to try to guess the song title, or the product that the commercial was about. My mother always made singing and music fun. It was one of the few things that people could still enjoy that did not cost money.

During the teen-aged years, I think we all got a new found appreciation for music. From Elvis Presley to The Beatles, it became a very large part of our generation. It often defined what was going on in our lives. There were certainly lots of songs about war, and ending war, during the ‘60s. Aside from that, some were about love and falling in love, as well as having your heart broken. Watching American Bandstand, and getting to see the people who actually sung the songs we loved, was new and exciting.

Having two older brothers meant that we also listened to them singing or playing imaginary guitars. My oldest brother was usually either playing air guitar, or shifting gears on an imaginary car. He was anxious to get his first car, also. It was not unusual to hear them and their friends singing the popular songs, out in our garage. They would sometimes be holding a comb or some other objects like it was a microphone, and imitating their favorite group.

How is it that we can hear a song from 50 or more years ago and still be taken back to that specific time in our life? Perhaps it is your first boyfriend/girlfriend, first dance, first kiss and so on. Not only does it bring back those old memories, but we can still remember the lyrics to those songs. Even though we may have forgotten so many other things.

I can remember my first slow dance with a boy. Of course it was awkward. Just having a boy put his arms around you was a big step. I believe that “One Summer Night” was playing, and that song also led to my first real kiss.

What a great time we grew up in. Girls were expected to present themselves in a certain way, and if you didn't you got a bad reputation. Reputation seemed so important. No one wanted boys to think you were "easy." Yikes! How did we go from that to "friends with benefits?"

When Sister and I were teenagers, we would often sit in our room and listen to records on a small record player. We sang with Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Chubby Checker, and the list goes on. We actually saw Sonny and Cher, and the Righteous Brothers at a small dance club near our house. It was one dollar to get in, and they only served soft drinks. Quite different from any clubs that exist now.

Sometimes late at night I will wake up with the television still on. It may be an infomercial trying to sell a pack of music CDs from the ‘50s or ‘60s. They sometimes have clips of the original singers, doing their thing. It is like seeing old friends again. Of course, everything is in black and white. Funny how most things in the world WERE black and white. Not so many gray areas back then.

Whether you grew up with American Bandstand, head-banging rock and roll, air guitars, or mosh pits, we never forget. The music plays on in our heads forever. The sounds will always bring us back to the world we used to know.