When I was a young girl, I went through a phase of asking people to name their favourite song. Now, seventy years later, I remember their responses and if I happen to hear the song it reminds me of that person.
My Mother loved ‘If I was a Blackbird I’d Whistle and Sing, I’d Follow the Ship my True Love Sails In’. I often wondered if she knew someone special who left on a ship. Many of her family and neighbours went to America.
My Father’s favourite song was ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else but Me’, an old war time favourite. I wasn’t very impressed with his choice, so I pressured him into saying ‘Davy Crockett’ was his favourite. He humoured me and agreed, but I knew he barely knew the song.
My Grandmother couldn’t think of a song, so I suggested ‘My China Doll’. She said, yes, that would do. My Grandfather was always humming and “Doodledum doing” but I never knew if it was the air to a song.
Mrs Kiernan who lived next door liked ‘Que Sera Sera’ and told me it was French and meant ‘Whatever will be, will be’. I was very impressed with her knowledge.
The man who lived the other side of us was a playwright. He told me the most beautiful words he new were ‘A rose red city, half as old as time’ from the poem by John Burgon. Insisting he name a song he said he liked ‘Clementine’ and taught me the words.
Once a year our family went to the seaside for a day and part of the fun was going on the amusement rides. One of my very best memories is of my sister being with me in a ‘Swinging Boat’, my father pushing us to swing higher and higher, while the song ‘My China Doll’ pulsated from the loudspeakers. That was probably why I suggested to my grandmother that it was her favourite song.
When I was a teenager, a young man who was the lead singer in a band took a fancy to me. I wasn’t impressed by him but was delighted when, on stage, he sang ‘The Blackboard of my Heart’, especially for me.
When I met the man who is my husband, the band often played ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’ at dances. That song became our special song.
There are lots more songs that invoke memories for me. They all have a special place in my memory…
My oldest child singing ‘Little Green Apples’ and ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head’ when she was four…
My second daughter age two, singing ‘Mama Mia’ all the way from Brisbane to Cairns and back, traveling by car. We got soooo tired of that song…
My young son, on hearing the hymn ‘Peace is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me, flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free’, misunderstood the word ‘peace’ for the slang of urine. He couldn’t understand how it would set the captives free.
Songs bring tears, happiness, joy and laughter.
May they endure forever.