Early Childhood Influences: Poets and Musicians

To laugh often, to win the affection of children…to know even one life breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the less traveled by, and that made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Music from my childhood before my 11th birthday that reminds me of my Mom (Jazz Singer). We had a stereo console (Vintage today). My Mom and Dad would stack albums to play for hours.
Music from my childhood before my 11th birthday that reminds me of my Dad (USAF). I have memories of riding in our green Oldsmobile vista cruiser ( station wagon) and riding along the coast, windows down, with the ocean breeze brushing my tanned skin from frolicking the southern Atlantic Ocean. Sitting in the middle seat, looking at my parents smiling at each other in the front seat.
In early 1960, my dark and handsome Latino Dad was a young airman in the USAF. He walked into a jazz night club with his buddies to have fun and relax, after a long tiring day of working with weapons on airplanes. Upon the stage was a beautiful French jazz singer my Mom. The romantic tides of the Gulf of Mexico connected my parents, along with a couple of cocktails and sultry jazz music to set the mood. Music playing in the background of every part of my young and current life. My two brothers and I heard this album quite often during my first ten years of life. I was intrigued by the album cover as a young girl too. In our home music was playing more than we watched our televisions.
One of my youngest baby brothers loved to dance to this song. Every time he heard the music, his rhythmic moves began without any thought. We would all begin to dance with joy and laughter. My Dad gave him the nickname Bamba.
For some odd reason, I connect this particular artist and song to the last Easter with my Dad. He died of colon cancer at the age of 43. He had retired from the USAF a few years earlier. Vuelve from his travels around the world with USAF.
Mariachi music is another connection to my Dad and his family. My Dad’s final two years were spent closer to his family in the US.
My parents had albums of Sammy Davis Jr. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Yes, they played these albums too.
I vaguely remember watching this Elvis special with my Dad. We were living in US Southwest for a bit.

My Dad teased me about liking Elvis Presley. His songs remind me of my Dad from this special and Elvis movies. What is humorist? I was only about 6 or 7, he and my mom were watching this as my two brothers and I sat in our living room together. Both my parents enjoyed music, all early memories revolve around music, dancing and singing.
My Mom especially like Tom Jones. It’s interesting the way music evokes such memories of a time long past. There is a multitude of music related to my Mom. She loved to sing. She stopped singing in bands when my parents were married.
The Ed Sullivan Show, Carol Burnette, Art Linkletter and Sonny & Cher were the family shows I remember viewing sitting in our living room. Also, I remember the silly show, Laugh In, Sunday Night Walt Disney Movies and the Wizard of Oz. The flying monkeys gave me nightmares. Yet I still wanted a pet monkey as a young girl.

More music samples of music playing in our home, on the Ed Sullivan Show, singing and dancing. Listening to this music gives a sense of our home and family.
I wonder if my parents really thought we lived in a wonderful world. Probably not, my dad went to Vietnam twice. At times our home in Florida was filled with wives of other service men. The kitchen was bustling with jiffy popcorn popping, homemade treats, hygiene kits, letters, cards made by all of us children and other items. Boxes were filled with popcorn to buffer goods through being transported to Vietnam. I was 4 or 5 years. I find it interesting the events I remember from this time frame early in my journey.
Happy fun music, along with Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. Dancing around with joy, trips to the ocean for swimming and picnics, windows down, family friends, breezes from the ocean filling our lungs.
Family road trip moving from one AFB assignment in Florida to the next assignment in New Mexico. Also, an early memory encountering racism. I was really to young to understand Vietnam and racism of the 60’s. As I grew, my understanding became reality, observing the compassion of MLK and JFK. A seed for compassion and loving kindness was planted as I watched things unfold in my early childhood development.
Before my 10th summer, I vividly, remember listening to Aretha Franklin. This song in particular reminds of my parents divorce when I was 10 years old and in fifth grade living in the US Southwest. My parents and family shattered into pieces. Sadness permeated my remaining months of the school year before even more changes were to occurred. Thank goodness for words in books and musical lyrics.

To Be Continued….

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