Miss Sandy of Quill Cottage is hosting an “I Remember Laura” blogathon on Mondays through the month of June in memory of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author if the “Little House” series of books. I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner, because I would have loved to share more memories and participate in her art swap. The theme for this week is Musical Memories and Beautiful Books. Also, don't miss her Scrapbooking give-away today.
My father grew up quite poor, but in a home filled with music. He and his sister both played piano, and my dad taught himself to play the guitar. Listening to him play was unforgettable. He played for my mom when he first met her in college. They were engaged a month later and married three months after that. She always says she married him because of his singing.
He was in a band in college and they made a tape recording of themselves at one of their practices. I wasn't even 2 years old yet, but I was in the audience (as I frequently was), and after one of the songs you can hear me clapping my little hands and the band laughing. I grew up listening to that tape and still treasure it now, more than 30 years later.
Dad's guitar was a Framus that he bought in Germany (it looks very like this one, but has 12 strings). I can still remember the rich smell of the guitar case - to me it was the smell of music. Dad brought that guitar on camping trips, to church activities and family reunions. I have so many memories of sitting around campfires or in a family room at his feet, singing along with him. He could play just about anything by ear if he'd heard it before, like, "You Light Up My Life," which my aunt always requested and, "Red River Valley," for my Grandpa. A few years ago my dad brought his guitar from Idaho to Virginia where he sang, "We've Only Just Begun," for my wedding.
My dad loved singing to my mom, and I will always remember the feeling of warmth it gave me as a child to be able to see and hear how much he loved her, and how he showed her through his music. One year for Christmas my mom wrote a love poem to my dad as a gift. His gift to her the following year was that same poem, set to music.
Every year for Christmas Eve he'd get out the guitar and play Christmas hymns and carols while the whole family sang along. Then, just before we went to bed he would play a song called, "Old Toy Trains." My mom put together a scrapbook page with a couple of photos of my dad on Christmas Eve. That's me, singing with him in the top one.
My dad died very suddenly and tragically when he was just 54. My first child wasn't yet a year old when he died, so she won't have any memories of him. But on her first birthday my youngest brother sent me a song that my dad had written and recorded for her just before he died. There are no words for how precious this is to me.
If you'd like to hear him, I'm including a file download here of a song he sang (originally by The Association) called No Fair at All that you can play on Windows Media Player. It's not professional, just a home recording.
Recording yourself making music, or even just recording the sound of your voice is a priceless gift you can give your children. I miss my dad so much, especially singing with him, but at least I can still hear him sing. His music lives on in me and I hope I can pass that down to my children as well. Thank you, Dad.
Brave Writer Podcast Interview
6 days ago