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Friday Family History: Sharing Musical Memories

Have you ever heard a song and instantly been transported back in time?  I love the power music has to bring memories flooding back.


For example, whenever we sing "Lord Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing" in church, I struggle to maintain my composure.  It's not that the beautiful song moves me to tears; I try hard not to burst into a fit of giggles.  Years ago, my little sister, recognizing the tune, joined the congregation in singing this hymn.  Can you guess what words she sang?

  

If you guessed "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie," you would be right.  My little sister was blessed with a good set of lungs and perfect enunciation, so she sang almost as powerfully as Ella Jenkins did in this recording.  To my 6- or 7-year-old self, nothing could have been more funny than my sister standing on the pew, belting out the wrong words.  Even though I am considerably older now, I still smile (or worse!) when I hear that tune. 



 
Of course, musical memories were made at home as well as at church.  My dad had a collection of records, and one of my favorite songs of all was by The Irish Rovers.  Although I knew the story of Noah and the ark, this song explained things a bit differently:


 

Years ago, John and I took the kids on a vacation back east.  We started in Boston, traveled north to Vermont, then west to Niagara Falls.  Between Boston and Vermont, we stopped in New Haven, Connecticut.  Three of my g-g-g-g-g-g-grandfathers played significant roles in the founding of New Haven and the establishment of Yale University.  In fact, the visitor's center at Yale is housed in the home of James Pierpont, one of the aforementioned grandpas.  

While on vacation, we picnicked on New Haven Green.  The pizza kept everyone quiet and happy.  The sun shone in a deep-blue sky.  I was surrounded by evidence of my ancestors; the town had been surveyed and planned by John Brockett, I could see James Pierpont's home from our picnic spot, and the buildings of Yale (founded by Pierpont and Noadiah Russell, among others) stood all around.  

To top it all off, an Irish band started playing a concert.  When I heard the familiar beginning, "A long time ago when the earth was green, . . ." I felt so connected--connected to my ancestors, connected to my country, connected to my childhood, and connected to John and our children. 

What musical memories do you have?

Thanks for music.


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Comments

  1. Oh yes, music is a very powerful thing. I love the Irish Rovers too and especially love that song! Reminds me of my grandma.

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  2. This is such an interesting topic. I was just discussing it with my daughter last week how so many songs will instantly transport you to a different place and time -- some good, some bad but lots of memories tied to music. Lots of memories of the 60s and growing up with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, most of their songs take me somewhere. "Goodbye Ruby Tuesday" == my first car accident! I was rear-ended.

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