Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Music Offers You A Profound Perspective of Your Past... Especially If You Attended Boarding School

Yesterday I was tripping down the old *memory lane path* by way of listening to some old Simon & Garfunkel tunes. To be specific, the album 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme' from the year 1966. This album was our unofficial school anthem album. It was always being played during our free times, in one room or another, often more than one.

While listening to the old songs today, I thought, "Could these songs be any more depressing for a teenage girl tucked away in a Catholic boarding school, or what?" I'm surprised we didn't all attempt to hang ourselves. Of course, it was just a little of what we were allowed to play, according to the nuns. If it played softly, it was *in* and if it played loud, it was *out*, as far as our keepers were concerned. I'm quite certain they would have all swallowed their tongues if they'd had to deal with today's music choices.

There were plenty of other musical artists to listen to, they just weren't approved by the nuns who ruled our lives. One afternoon a particularly rebellious schoolmate of mine was playing Country Joe & The Fish. The song was "I  Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die" from the album of the same name, circa 1967. I can sing the song from beginning to end, without looking at the words. It was that important to me.

Truly one of my favorite songs during my days away at boarding school. I was against the war in Viet Nam, what else can I say? However, once the floor mistress heard the sounds emitting from my friends' room, we were promptly given *touchdowns* and demerits, which meant NOT going to town (to smoke cigarettes & drink coffee) the upcoming weekend, or being allowed to go to Teen Town, where we got to see boys, dance with them, and sometimes *makeout* with them. Sometimes the rebellion felt so empowering. Sometimes, not so much.

From Simon & Garfunkel it was "Homeward Bound", which all of us longed to be. None of us really wanted to be at boarding school, but I'm sure we were each much better off there than we'd had any idea. We used our music as a sort of therapy and friendships were the same way. We somehow managed to heal one another from the the damage our parents managed to constantly inflict upon us. None of us was exempt from that hard, cruel fact. Every letter from home was a potential time bomb for each and every one of us. As much as we loved Mail Call, we also hated it, fearing what wrath might be cast upon us next by our parents. Letters from my mother (The Brown Recluse) were always especially brutal and could send me into a depression for days. I was worthless, bad, stupid, and had no talent of any kind, in her opinion. Thank God I never listened to her. Stupid woman. She had no idea what an awesome daughter she really had. Therefore, she has no claims to making me the the woman I am today.

Another killer song was "The Sounds Of Silence".

I have to admit that even though we didn't have awesome sound systems, boom boxes, or personal ear buds, or personal players, iPods, and the like, we were still able to somewhat heal the pain in our lives through the unity that the music of that time afforded us.  It also gave us all a *common ground* that we might not have otherwise had. We learned to deal with our own personal pains through music and friendship.

To this day, I still use music as my personal therapist, although blogging affords its own therapy, even if it is in a different way. Music can change my mood quicker than you can slap a fly with a swatter. I love knowing that I always have a tool to change my mood to whatever I need it to be. Without music, my life would be so very incomplete...

How about you? Has music ever made a positive impact on your life/pain/despair?


Cathy Monroe said...

I've always liked Simon and Garfunkel, but never really paid attention to the lyrics. When I'm feeling tense or nervous, Mantovani with all his violins relaxes me.

The Incredible Woody said...

I am so proud of the strong woman you are. So many people would never make it beyond the damage done by their mother. You are truly an exceptional woman!

Anonymous said...

I went to a convent boarding school for five years...we sang alot...we had glee club and choir...they were wonderful, happy, loving times...the nuns were very giving, caring many of us had problems at home, me included, I hated the thought of going home for the holidays or even a weekend. Those years were the best solid block of time in my life! Also, since it was a small school..only 125...40 of those being boarders...some from South America...we all became like a family...but, music was a very big part of our lives!

Mental P Mama said...

Ohhhh. I had those albums! Loved them!

Betty Roan said...

I haven't thought of Country Joe and the Fish in ages. Used to love him. Funny how those songs can put you right back into a time and place. Music truly is the background to life.

Snooty Primadona said...

Hey Anonymous - We are definitely kindred spirits. But you realize it's boarding school that saved us from becoming like our parents, right? Thank The Lord.


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