I finished the letter writing campaign well over a month ago, but I had some curve balls thrown in my life that delayed the writing of the final post. Nothing to worry about, just mentally all consuming. For the final song of ‘The Soundtrack of 35’, I chose Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s ‘Our House’.
It is one of the first songs I can remember and in my brain I remember being a baby when I listened to it. Before we moved to Panama when I was like 1.5/2 years old we lived in a suburban Chicago neighborhood. I think it was a brick, two flat – which is reminiscent of most Chicago homes, and we lived on the top floor. For some reason whenever I hear this song I have a clear picture of what my first home looked like and I can picture cats playing around in the yard. This is somewhat fabricated in the depths of my mind since we never had cats because of allergies and it’s doubtful that I truly remember any time in that home. It may have all been pieced together from early photographs. BUT I have such a strong picture and affinity to this song, and I’ve been remembering the same flashes of memories for over 30 years, that I think there has to be some underlying truth to it.
‘Our house, is a very, very, very fine house, with two cats in the yard, Life used to be so hard, now everything is easy cause of you, and our…..La la la lalalala…’
The last letter for my birthday went to my folks, mostly because they’re awesome, but also without them I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t be me. I told my mom about the project right at the beginning and I shared some of the songs with her. She thought it was awesome and had many memories tied to a lot of the songs as well.
She told me that when I was a kid it was very important for them for me to have my own music and develop my own music tastes. Before Fisher Price made tape players, my folks had found a red tape player with big buttons that I could press myself. I started my own tape collection as a toddler and they weren’t all boring nursery songs. When our apartment got robbed in Panama, my red tape player was a casualty, and everyone was crushed. (I have conveniently blocked this from my memory, although it does explain why I loved my red disc-man so much.) My papi went on a trip to New York shortly after and my mom basically sent him on a mission to come back with a new, red tape player for me. We lived halfway across the world, at a time when the world seemed like a much bigger place, there was no internet, and they weren’t exactly making it rain dollar bills. Of all the things that the family could have needed, that was the most important at the time.
Having the freedom to find my own music and being exposed to so many different kinds of music has shaped the soundtrack of my life. Some music I’m not exceptionally proud of or into anymore, but others are blasted without shame at any time of day. I’m glad my parents didn’t sell me to the gypsies, like they used to threaten to when I was bad, because I doubt my musical journey would be as wild and fulfilling as it is today.
And so I end this first mixed media project with the first song I have a “real” memory of.
“Come to me now, and rest your head for just five minutes, everything is good. Such a cozy room, the windows are illuminated by the evening sunshine through them, fiery gems for you, only for you…”