The Soundtrack of Life
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the soundtrack of my life. What would really make the cut? Sure, there are songs that evoke visceral emotions when I hear snatches of them. Choruses that make me cry, every time. Beats that force me to get up and dance with joy. Songs that make me feel four or fourteen again, down to smelling cookies in the oven or the musty interior of a packed school bus. Tunes that transform me into a person I used to be, that remind me how far I’ve come.
Like the first song I ever remember hearing. Pennies From Heaven.
Bing Crosby crooned that song in the 1936 movie, but I never knew that as a tiny girl, being rocked to sleep in my Mom’s arms. She sang me to slumber every night in a cumbersome antique rocker that creaked in time with her heavenly voice. Like yesterday, I remember looking up at her while she sang, with her lean fingers rubbing my eyelids to make them heavy. I’m sure she sang other things, but I only remember this one, a song that has, ironically, become something of a life anthem for me, as living hasn’t always been easy or kind.
Whenever I’ve rocked any child to sleep, it’s been my lullaby of choice. I remember what Cayleigh‘s face looked like when she wrapped herself around me and fell asleep to that song, and the shadow of Cooper‘s infant smile in the fading Hudson Valley light.
In my lowest moments of adulthood, I still sometimes sing Pennies From Heaven through my tears, in the dark, when I’m alone and aching. It takes me back to that time, when my mother held me, protecting me from every walloping thing in life. To me, it means safety, a shelter in the time of storm.
What’s the first song you remember hearing?