Life, Music, Memories

It’s strange how music can bring alive so many long buried memories. The haunting music “Dream of Olwyn” fills my study as I am remembering just why this piece means so much to me.  I was in my twenties and living in an idyllic village in the depths of the English countryside.  You can picture it with thatched roofed cottages, winding lanes, quaint little shop fronts, a village pond where ducks, well fed by local children, float serenely, and an ancient village church dating from Norman times is the focal point of the community.  In essence this is chocolate box scenery and it actually exists.  The music reminds me of a very close friend who passed away several years later, in the prime of his life.

Likewise tracks from singer Kathleen Ferrier or pianist Charlie Kunz, recordings of popular musicals or jazz from the American Greats bring back vivid memories of my parents when they were young.  Music was always playing on the LP record player, styluses had to be changed and records carefully cleaned to ensure no scratch marks would interfere with the quality of the recording. I grew up loving all genres and to this day music is a constant in my life.

During the Swinging Sixties, when I lived in London and was part of that hedonistic society;  mini skirts were the height of fashion, Twiggy with her huge black eyes, short hair and even shorter skirts defined all that was modern, Mary Quant was a favourite designer, and model Jean Shrimpton was the “face of the sixties.  Popular music came over Pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline and the pop stars of the time were The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Freddie and The Dreamers and The Who.  Today I am transported back to those times whenever I hear a track from those artists and it reminds me of the carefree and unrestricted life that we all led.

That brings me to thoughts of my parents and the profound wish that they were alive today so I could tell them how much I loved them and share the joys and tribulations that life has brought me in the years since they have gone.  Fortunately they loved to keep memorabilia and I have well documented photo albums, books, letters, cards, diaries and even cassette tapes which we used to send instead of writing letters at one point.  This keeps many memories alive and I am attempting to document their lives so that my grandchildren will know more about their ancestors and about life before, during and after the Second World War.

I was inspired by the post Life Slips Away which expresses so well the feelings that I have on the subject of Death and Dying.  I have realised that as I have reached different stages in my life, my priorities have changed and what was important then is no longer of any consequence now.  It is a journey we all take and the realisation that life is precious and should be lived to the full without regrets is something we should hopefully all come to terms with in the end.

“It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end”  Ursula E Guin

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