A social media group friend asked me how I felt about parting with my home, my household goods, my life as I have lived it in this house. My reply was that on some days I am highly motivated to clean it all out – to sort what I am keeping from what is to be donated or thrown out, to stage the house for selling, and along the way find all the treasures I have amassed over the years. On other days, while going through the same routine, I am overwhelmed with melancholy as I am flooded with memories and recollections of the past. This, alas, is part of retirement.
One day, I decided to play some music as I began the ever-ending list of things to do. I started with my favorite – Dean Martin – who always brings on a smile. My first celebrity crush since I was eleven years old, a continuous fantasy of someday meeting him in person (I never did – but I did see him several times at various restaurants – be still my heart!) and indeed, the one song that he is most famous for where everybody loves somebody sometime was our first wedding dance! On these days, I accomplish a lot as I sing along and feel the upbeat.
Classical music brings on another mood. Calming, purposeful and an immense feeling of peace. That these melodies are ageless and that I will survive, as they have.
Greek music has been in my life since birth. It lifts my feet and connects me to generations of family members who danced the way I learned to dance. From my earliest recollections, I remember how on Sunday afternoons, after church and lunch, my mother would turn on the radio and listen to the Greek program. When they played music, she would take my sister and I by the hand and lead us in Greek dancing around and around the coffee table. We dance in circles – it always brings us back to where we started from and represents the continuation of life… and so, a lifelong love it remains so to this day.
What is most colorful is music from other countries. Romantic Italian and French love songs speak to me even though I don’t understand much. Cha-cha’s, rumbas, salsas, etc. bring
bigger picture of how the world is indeed much smaller when we love each culture and enjoy what it has to offer.
Music of the 70’s to the present had some really good sounds, but then again some really awful stuff…with all the screeching and hollering. You had no idea what they were saying and what all the fuss was about. Listening to some of the best of those years is fun, but inevitably we go back to our own growing up years.
What can I say about rock and roll? My life, my era, my past. Each song brings on a memory of the specific time and place of when I first heard it. Having an older sister, all these 45’s where in the house in plentiful. The Jitterbug, the Lindy, the Stroll, the Twist, the Watusi, the Frug, the Mashed Potato – we had them all and they were endless because we still have those 45’s and plan to use them for fellow RETIRE-AGERS™ at the oldies nights we plan to host.
Nothing compares to that rock and roll beat. It’s classic and represents an era in American history that changed music forever. A memory of holding on to a doorknob as I danced to the beat of my favorite record remains firm in my mind – what else could I do when I couldn’t find a partner!? The other night, the tv blared the unforgettable rhythm of an oldie; I jumped up off the couch and danced around the living room. I pointed out to Zaf, that I – a retire-ager – can still rock and roll with the best of them. He smiled and said yes, I can see that you still got it!
I read somewhere that music is a healer. That it is played when people are ill, troubled, and hurting. It reaches the very core of us and lightens up the heart. My nephew and nieces were held with much love when they were young, but what they remember the most is when I sang to them. their sweet little eyes would shine brighter, and giggles would follow. Silly me, who sang and danced them around the room, created a memory they will remember forever.
The universal language of music crosses all barriers, not only real ones that divide people and countries but the soul and heart of people everywhere. That is why no matter what music I listen to I dance to it. Retire well.
We are on it!
Photograph of our 45’s from The Collection of Helene and Zaf
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