Sweet, bitter, sugary and salty stories. Welcome to my world, past and present.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Sweet Music, Sweet Memories
Has music ever taken you back to a place and time, a sort of jukebox of memories that the music brings back as if it were just yesterday?
Sweet music evokes sweet memories.
There seem to be songs attached to moments in our lives that conjure up those unforgettable memories we've stored in our hearts and minds of people and places that we carry with us forever. All it takes is a few notes and we're there.
As I listened to the solo clarinettist masterfully hit the notes so perfectly at the public symphony, I flashed back to when I took up the clarinet because of a handsome Irish boy who played in the school band and whose auburn-haired, freckled sister was my best friend.
The clarinettist's notes transported me to seventh grade and my struggles with the instrument's reed and intricate fingerplay as I tried to hit the notes correctly. My motivation to play was Michael, who didn't seem to know I existed.
I was a gawky, shy girl with a secret crush on a tall, proud boy who was, unbeknowst to him, my Prince Charming, standing proudly in his sky blue and white, satiny band uniform.
It helped that my grandfather found a used clarinet and a music stand (to make it official) at a local pawnshop. Grandpa would have preferred for me to learn to play the piano like my grandmother, but there was no room in our tiny apartment. So it had to be the clarinet.
Unfortunately, hard as I practiced, I had no musical talent. The sounds I created were squawky and screechy; and though I played "I Am a Happy Wanderer" over and over, it never got better. The neighbors in the old Chicago apartiment building didn't complain about my rehearsals, at least not openly.
I had the uniform, the instrument, sheet music and stand, but I clearly was not musically inclined.
However, to be near my secret crush, I continued to faithfully practice "Edelweiss" until I was out of breath, and my cat hid under the bed.
Needless to say, I never got the boy, who didn't even notice me; I don't think we ever had a conversation. He had no idea how I fantasized about our holding hands and my being his girlfriend.
I did look the part in my blue and white cape and marched with the others to the school assembly performance, probably sounding like a scene from The Music Man.
The next year we moved to the suburbs, and the clarinet was put to rest in its weathered case. I never played it again, and no one seemed to mind.
Erana Leiken, principal of Tiger Marketing, is a marketing and PR consultant and freelance writer. She also teaches communication courses at the University of Phoenix and Web marketing and interactive content for the Art Institute of Phoenix.
Formerly an NBC reporter, magazine editor, and Web business writer, she is writing creative nonfiction and doing Web consulting. See www.tigermarketing.com.