Just like stones in a farmers field things in my house work their way to the ground every now and then. An old CD that I hadn't played for while surfaced recently. At the time that I bought it I played it over and over again, but it has been seven years, so when I popped it into the CD player in my car, it came back as fresh and beautiful as when I first heard it.
It was Rob who asked me if I had heard the song Nine Million Bicycles by Katie Melua. I hadn't, but I bought the CD, Piece by Piece, after he described her voice, just to hear it.
Playing the CD, I was struck again by how tied in certain memories are to music. I listen to that CD and I am in Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The music takes me back to 2006. I have taken time out from a visit to Mum and Rob in Alvechurch, to spend a week in Holland with Dutch cousins whom I have not seen for forty years. After flying to Amsterdam from Birmingham, I am waiting for my cousin Deborah who is flying in from Geneva to meet me there. Then together we would be taking a train to Rotterdam, to stay with her brother Hans and his partner, Walter. While I waited for her, I listened to the CD on my Sony Walkman CD player--I was not cool enough to own an ipod. I have one now, but still have and use that old portable CD player.
What I notice is that not only does the music transport me to the place I listened to it, but everything else that surrounds that memory comes to life again as though I have opened a time capsule. I am in the airport, but back in Alvechurch Mum is alive and safe with Rob. I know that she will be there waiting for me when I get back to spend my last week of vacation with them. She is there again. I can feel it. It all comes to life against the backdrop of Katie Melua's voice.
I thought about the other music that is tied to memories. I are a few:
The songs from the Beatles' 1965 album, Help, will forever be associated with a party in Rotterdam. I was 15, and had been invited by some neighbours of my Tante Lijda to a birthday party for their daughter, Eskaline, who was my age. By the end of the evening I had lost my 15 year old heart for the first time, really seriously. He and I never saw each other beyond that evening and the next day day in 1965, but wrote for a whole year after that. It was a practice run at love!
Real love came in 1967 when I fell hard for a boy who had asked me out after a Sunday School Christmas party. I had turned him down because I was dating someone already. The person I was dating turned out to be going in a different direction in his life than I was and I realized, that I was in love with Paul, the guy whom I had said no to. Eventually we got together, but it took a whole heartsick year before he asked again. During this time I borrowed a Cliff Richard album with Spanish songs, from him and I remember in the summer of 1967, when he was in Spain on vacation with his family and friends, playing the album--mooning around the house, and dreaming. This is one of the songs I loved, Amor, Amor. Amor
Fast forward to 1977. We had been in Canada for 8 years but I still missed England and my family deeply. Mum had bought a tape recorder and made a few tapes that were of conversation at home--she would just turn it on and record what was happening. That Christmas my Dutch Oma was living with Mum and Dad in Alvechurch and Mum recorded their voices while they were watching TV. Oma chatted away in Dutch, laughing often as she always did, and Dad's deep voice was there too. In the background I could hear the British commentator on TV introducing Paul McCartney's song, Mull of Kintyre and then the song began to play while the conversation went on around it. I still have that tape and to me it captures "home" in a very special way.
I would love to hear your musical memory associations. Leave them in the comment section!