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Throwback Thursdays / The Fountain of Youth – Family, Friends, Memories and MUSIC

A world of music awaits...

A world of music awaits…

My in-laws, Geraldine and Charlie, have been slowly retiring for the past twenty years (aged 69 & 71).  Soaking up vitamin D in sunny Jupiter, FL four months of the year (started with two weeks but they have obviously become addicted to the youth juice).  Why?  Their kids, grandkids, home and work are still waiting for them in NY.  What does Florida have that reality doesn’t?  I will get to the bottom of this!

Is there any truth to the Fountain of Youth?  Juan Ponce de Leon never mentioned the legendary fountains in his historical account and was not tied to the restorative waters until after his death.  “No original documents survive from Ponce de Leon’s Florida Expedition. Spanish historians writing long after he died in 1521 may have created the story that he was seeking the fountain to make fun of him because he was an old man who wanted to restore his sexual vigor.” (Source: National Geographic)

Since I began contributing posts to RockNYC I have a renewed appreciation for music and how it is a reason to celebrate life and sometimes … has the power to bring us back to a moment in time.  For instance, I was driving recently and Magic Moment by Triumph came on XM Radio Classics (rock that is).  I may be 40+ but that song made me feel as though I was 25 years younger.  Decided to interview my in-laws’ friends, falling within the Silent Generation and a few scattered Baby Boomers, to see if they had a favorite song and if it brought back special memories.   This post is for the ‘Cocoons’.

The Question:  Do you have a favorite song from your past, a song that brings back special memories?  At dinner one night the post came to life.  Without hesitation, my father-in-law said Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino and Earth Angel by the Penguins.  My mother-in-law liked Paul Anka – Put Your Head on My Shoulder.  Gerry says it brings her back to fun times with friends Marilyn & Paul and Jeannie and Jimmy – dancing at a place called Willows in Armonk.  I can see they are revisiting the moment as they share stories.

Mr. Storms’ favorites are You Belong to Me by Joe Stafford and Peggy Sue.  “It reminds me of going off to college.”  I asked if he was dating anyone (because of the title) and he gestures yes but with respect to his wife, Carol, does so quietly.   Turns out it was only a two month relationship.  Mrs. Storms likes True Love by Elton John and Kiki Dee and Love Me Tender by Elvis Presley.  They have a conversation about his death and a crazy (funny) friend of Gerry’s who was going to travel to Memphis for Elvis’ funeral.

Mary-Catherine’s, (Charlie’s sister-in-law) favorite is, It’s All in the Game by Tommy Edwards.  Her husband, Eddie, died too young (nine years earlier) whom I am sure reminisced about special moments with her husband.

My interview continued at the pool the following afternoon with the Ladies (Jeannie, Ann, Katie, Margaret, Mary and Susan) throwing out songs and memories quicker than I can type onto my iPhone.  They share their 50thth wedding anniversary songs (Could I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life – Anne Murray), songs they sang in the car with their beloved husbands whom has since passed (Rod Stewart – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You), songs they danced with their sons (Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler), songs to lift them (Dream/ When You’re Feeling Blue – Andy Williams or Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond … so good, so good), songs that just remind them … (Always On My Mind – Willie Nelson) or songs that are written by a friend Tom – Life’s Getting Better All the Time.  Tell them I am going to name the piece ‘The Fountain of Youth’ and comments like, “We drink it everyday”… “We hold down the cement at the pool”… “Youth juice”…  “Cocoons” are offered.

Then there are the Gentlemen.  Sy’s favorite songs are My Hero – Bette Midler and the Tennessee Waltz – Patti Page.  I ask him if it reminds him of anything, “No, I just like it.” I remember Sy’s wife, Leda – a petite woman with a whole lot of personality.  Someone with her presence is hard to forget.

Mr. Galvin – not sure what it is but when I see him he brings a smile to my face.   It’s more than his great sense of humor.  Listening to the Irish Tenors – The Town I Loved So Well (he wants to learn for my mother-in-law) and Old Man as I type.  Told me he learned The Old Man for Gerry and performed a duet with Jim at their Valentine’s Day celebration.  I missed it but heard he did an amazing job!  Asked him if the songs stir any memories and he speaks of Ireland and the sadness of the music.  Is he thinking about Pat?  I’m sure he was and does everyday.  Met Pat during a visit.  They were a fine pair.

Jim, the resident singer, quickly offered Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Simon & Garfunkel and You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You.  He especially like the Michael Buble’ arrangement and will be learning the song.  Gaye, Jim’s wife, shares And I Love You So – Don McLean, their 25th Anniversary song.

Jim performed Valentine’s Day (a holiday with a not so romantic beginning) to a crowd of ninety or so.  The opening song was My Funny Valentine. I adore the Chet Baker and Etta James versions.  There is something chilling about Baker’s arrangement.  It’s as though the love is going to leave … someone’s heart is going to be broken… almost sad.

The piece would not be complete without a song from Peg.  As timing would have it, my mother-in-law just called, gave me proper spellings, filled in some gaps and handed the phone to Peg.  She chose one of my favorite Frank Sinatra songs, Strangers In the Night.  It brings back memories of her and Carl dancing as young sweethearts.  “I thought he was strange and he’s still strange.”  I remember having dinner with him at my in-laws last year – a tall jovial man who was enjoyable company.   Peg lost her beloved Carl recently.  His presence was missed this year.

 

What I find endearing about ‘the Cocoons’ / the Silent Generation is they are a unit.  Whether the unit is the woman playing Hands and Foot, the men’s golf foursome or the Couple – they are traditional, loyal and know how to celebrate life and MUSIC is a part of it.

 

What I find interesting about the Fountain of Youth playlist, it is about love and being together.  The generation danced together. It was how they socialized.  Fun ballroom dancing I love to watch and still want to learn.  (My fantasy is to dance a perfect Tango wearing a red dress and stilettos on stage.)  The playlist evolves naturally as time passes and ends with the Electric Boogie.

 

Maybe Mark Twain said it best, “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.”

 

Keep on drinking the youth juice in Bimini.

 

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