In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Papa Loves Mambo.
When I picture my childhood in the fifties, there are three songs that immediately pop into my memory as being heard on the radio.
And the third made my mom stop what she was doing, find me, and dance her version of a tango with me. Hernando’s Hideaway:
My parents also had a stack of 78 rpm records that they brought from Germany when they immigrated to the United States in 1952. Many of them were German military marches, their patriotic tunes during World War II. Others were songs from America–American music was extremely popular in Germany during that era.
Gradually they added to their record collection, buying LPs at Superama. They bought show tunes and classical music.
My mother’s brother was a musician who played violin and piano. It was his dream to play professionally. Then the war came along, and all young men were required to report for duty. He never returned.
A fortune teller told my mother that my uncle was alive and living in Russia, and that he’d married a Russian woman. My mother asked the International Red Cross for help locating him, giving as much identifying information as she could, including the fact that he had been stationed along the eastern front. The Red Cross investigated, and could not find any verification as to his whereabouts. He was officially missing in action.
I think my mother listened to classical music because it kept her brother alive in her heart. When family friends gave us their piano, Mom dreamed of her children being pianists. My brother and I both took lessons.
The soundtrack of my teen years was folk/protest/rock. And a lot of show music, because I sang in choruses and musicals throughout my high school years. I accompanied my high school chorus on piano. Then I went on to college with plans of being a high school choral director. I had classical voice training—art songs, opera.
As a result, I like a wide variety of music. I listen to lots of classical music, also to most popular music (though not a lot of rap—nothing that will make me blush), contemporary Christian, and bluegrass. I like being surrounded with music. I like music playing in the background while I’m writing. I practice piano almost every day. I’m a Phoenix Symphony Orchestra subscriber. Music is my life.
What kind of music did you listen to when you were growing up? How did it shape you into the person you are today–or did it influence you at all? Share in the comments below.