Saturday, October 09, 2010

My Mother's Voice

Last week while riding from the far Northwest Suburbs of Chicago to downstate Paris, Illinois, when the song “Dream On” by Aerosmith came on the radio, a voice said, “Now that’s real music, not that rap or hip-hop sh**.” It sounded just like my mother.

We’ve all been there. We all swore we’d never, ever be like our mothers. Well, most of us, except for those lucky few who had really great mothers who they try to emulate. I didn’t. My mother was a harridan who wouldn’t even admit that Peter, Paul and Mary or Simon and Garfunkle were melodic, or that the lyrics to “Turn, Turn, Turn” were worth listening to even though they came straight from Ecclesiastes. They were set to “that damn rock music,” and that was all there was to it. I wonder what she’d have thought if I’d actually preferred hard/acid rock to top forty and folk.

Mama liked her swing. It wasn’t “real” music unless it was Guy Lombardo, or Glenn Miller, or Les Paul and Mary Ford. She liked Rosemary Clooney and Julius LaRosa. She abhorred that terrible “Elvis Pelvis” who did such obscene things on the Ed Sullivan show they had to show him from the waist up. And those long-haired Beatles! God would punish them. She didn’t like that long-haired Beethoven, either, and she only tolerated Bach or Handel in church. She didn’t quite know what to think when I fell in love with The Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits, Bach and Handel all in 1965. If it wasn’t one kind of "long-haired music," it was another.

So, imagine my shock in the car last week when I heard my mother’s voice coming from my daughter’s mouth referring to a song that was recorded in 1973, the year she was born. We really are the cool generation, aren’t we?

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