Tag Archives: songs and memories

This Is My Life

“I don’t need you to worry for me cos I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone “

So sang Billy Joel in his song My Life many years ago and I immediately connected with it.  I thought he had penned it for me.  When I first heard it I was coming out of the chrysalis that many women were in being stay at home Mothers raising their children.  And it just seemed to fit. And it still does.

I have been thinking back to how often over the years has somebody determined they knew better than me how I should live my life.

Often as with parents and then my late husband, this was always done with my best interests to the fore but there were those other ‘friends’ and acquaintances, and those figures in positions of power, who thought they knew better.

  • The friend who told me I was making a mistake getting married so young.  As an aside most of our group was getting married around the same time; she was the odd one out.
  • The cousin who said I shouldn’t move away leaving family and friends behind when we moved to Scotland shortly after we were married.  I never asked him if he changed his mind after my many moves to new places.
  • The school teacher who said I should continue with my science and language studies, but without telling me what I could do with the results of those studies and really giving no guidance at all.
  • The doctor who told me that after several miscarriages I should give up and adopt.  I wouldn’t have my lovely son had I listened to him.
  • The nurse who scolded me and said my daughter (and later my son) would grow up deprived if I fed her formula.  By the time my son was born two years later, I stood my ground and fed him formula from day one.

And of course, over the years my late husband would advise me against doing something but hey It’s My Life and we eventually agreed that if I decided to do something that turned out wrong, the mistake was my own doing.  I can only now think of one really glaring mistake that falls into this category. And when I make a mistake you can bet your life it will be a biggy.

I decided to purchase a Mini Minor.  I had never owned one.  Each of the children had been given used Minis when they passed their driving tests, many of my friends either had one or had owned one earlier and so I wanted one.  But not for me the plain and simple Mini.  I purchased the top of the range GT version that was approximately twice the price of the regular model.

This was a very smart vehicle.  Bronze with gold highlighted stripes down the sides and alloy wheels.  I thought I had made exactly the right choice.

But it was what my husband called a ‘Friday car’.  The men on the assembly line wanted to get home and so they rushed the final cars through.  The car leaked through the floor, the windscreen wipers had problems working correctly because the surround to the windscreen hadn’t been cut off.  Each time the wipers moved to the top of the arc they bounced off this small piece of uncut surround.  Suffice it to say that when I took the car in for its first check there were 37 defects noted by the mechanics.  They thought it was so very funny; my husband agreed; I did not.  I very quickly sold that car and I hope that the young man who bought it enjoyed it. We often talked of that debacle in the years that followed.

And now, of course, this really is my life.  My decisions without having to confer with anybody else.  My mistakes and my triumphs.

As we go through the various stages of our lives we note that some are better than others, but each has to be lived as it doesn’t come with a choice   So thanks to Billy Joel for penning and singing the song.  And I am enjoying my life as it now is.  The Busy Years are behind me and my time is my own.

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Charles Kingsley, (1819 – 1875)  English priest university professor, historian and novelist.


















If smells evoke memories what about…

“It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony. ”
Benjamin Britten, English composer, conductor and pianist.  1913-1976

I wrote the other day about the memories that smells evoke.  Well what about sounds and more particularly music.

My father had this beautiful voice and among other songs, he would serenade us with ‘O Sole Mio.’  Listen to Pavarotti sing it here. Father wasn’t quite as polished as that but he sang it with love and feeling for his wife and daughters.

Of course, I remember all the current songs of the day that he also sang.  But this particular song takes me back to a time when I was very young and surrounded by love and the feeling that nothing could ever harm any of us.

Moving along to my teenage years.  This was the time of Elvis Presley, Johnny Ray and in England our own Tommy Steele, widely regarded as Britain’s first teen idol and rock and roll star.

Tommy Steel

1957 in Stockholm Wikipedia

The song Singing the Blues in particular brings back those in between years – in between being very young and a young married woman.  Can you believe the difference in music compared to the music my grandsons listen to today?

Then I became engaged and this was during my Nat King Cole period.  How I loved that man and we danced to Too Young at our engagement party. The video is worth playing  for the photos as well as the sound of Nat’s voice.

As often happens, that engagement of two 18 year old children didn’t last and I then met my handsome young Scotsman.  Many many songs take me back to time spent with him.

We saw ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ and sang along with Bing Crosby singing ‘Around the World’.

My Fair Lady PosterWith my Mother I attended the opening night of My Fair Lady at Covent Garden in London.  What an excitement that was.  There had been an embargo on the music until opening night and there we were.  How lucky could a 20 year old young woman be.  Here is the post from the BBC on 29 April 1958.  How I loved that play and all the songs.  Has there ever been a better Professor Higgins than Rex Harrison?

Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra (or indeed anyone) singing ‘I Love Paris’ takes me right back to the early days of my marriage before the children were born.  We had a fantastic weekend in Paris – remember that air travel wasn’t available in the 50s and so it was a ferry crossing and train ride to get to Paris.  How very romantic it was.

Babies came along; a lovely, lovely time when the music was all Doris Day and ‘Que Sera Sera’, Matt Monro and ‘ Portrait of My Love’, ‘My Kind of Girl’ and so on.

The Montreal years are all about Burt Bacharach and his music.

Route 66 signDriving across the United States in my Mustang Mach 1 (my 30th birthday present) along Route 66 – Can you imagine the memories that song revives.  And hey, I have been in all those places – as the song says  “all the way from Chicago to LA”.

Children grew up, left home to study, got married and made their own lives.  But still music is around.  Tina Turner singing ‘Simply the Best’ reminds me of my daughter Cate and a sales organization in which we both became involved.

Kenny Rogers has always been another favorite.  He came to NZ to perform at a vineyard the year before my husband died.  And with my daughter and son-in-law we went to see him.  Any of his songs brings back memories of my life with my husband but particularly ‘Lady’.  This was our song for a while.

So many songs and so many memories.  Charles Aznavour whom we saw on another trip to Paris in the 70s, singing ‘She’ (another of our songs), Rod Stewart singing ‘For Sentimental Reasons’ or ‘Til There Was You’, Ray Charles singing ‘For All We Know’ and Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’.  The list goes on and on.  All have a special place in my memories.

All the memories are good.  I refuse to dwell on songs that don’t bring happy memories.  I acknowledge them and let them pass.  I can’t control what is played on the radio station.

So now let’s hear from you.  What are the songs that bring back your memories?