Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deep sorrow

I just got the word that Mary Travers is gone, left this world yesterday. I loved her. As I have been sitting here, listening to her beautiful voice, I am realizing how much of an impact this woman has had on me. My very first concert experience was at Selland Arena in Fresno, CA. Me, Gina and my dad. He made us dress up. This 8th grade girl in a very cool red velvet mini-dress couldn't believe her eyes or ears when Peter, Paul and Mary took the stage. Her straight blond hair, her moves, her voice and the intensity of her soul. I had just read Joan Baez's autobiography, Daybreak. The seeds of pacifism were freshly planted in my idealist heart. My spirit felt connection to these singer song-writers and shouted out with them:
"How many deaths will it take 'til they know?"
from Blowin' in the Wind
"When will they ever learn?"
from Where Have all the Flowers Gone
When my family packed it up and moved to Idaho a few years later, the Ford Galaxy became my Jet Plane and through tears I sang with her,
"don't know when I'll be back again, oh babe, I hate to go."
The lyrics from Don't Think Twice, It's Allright
"still I wish there were something you would do or say. . ."
and the way she looked when she sang them. . . well I tried to sing it just like that when my teenage heart was broken.
My season as a preschool teacher could not have been without PP&M. We loved being swallowed by a Boa Constrictor, Goin to the Zoo and
"star light, star bright,
first star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
have the wish I wish tonight."
The Garden Song was our anthem and we sang it for Sparkle Center Graduation. Elder Rosenburg lent his guitar, someone's Aunt Libby played the piano and Rebecca Brooks led the little voices. I watched from the side, overcome as my dream came true; Mary's voice and passion coming at me on my back yard deck through these little ones.
"So plant your rows, straight and long
temper them with prayer and song"
Then my dream really came true. I got to take my child to her first concert; Peter, Paul and Mary at the Spokane Opera House. Me and Lindsay. I think I made her dress up. My soul again rose up and we sang out, a Capella, tears streaming
"Oh oh, deep in my heart
I do believe we shall
overcome some day"
Every child of mine and every child of theirs has had a moment on my lap in the old rocking chair with Puff the Magic Dragon. And yes I cry a little, every time, when we get to
"a dragon lives forever
but not so little girls and little boys"
Mary, you held my hand as I bridged into adolescence, as I loved, lost and loved again; you helped me raise my babies and helped me let them go. You were in my car, full blast as I pledged my love to Presley on her first day of daycare. We sang, my voice faltered
"I'll walk in the rain by your side,
I'll cling to the warmth of your tiny hand,
I'll do anything to help you understand
I'll love you more than anybody can."
I live in song. There's a lyrical answer for everything. I know now it all started with that swishy blond lady. Her songs are my life's soundtrack. Like Puff, she will live forever.
"I've got a song let me sing it for you,
let me say it now while the meaning is true.
Wouldn't it be good if we could sing it together?


Sycamore Girl said...

My dad took me to see Peter Paul and Mary for my first concert too! It was at Deer Valley when I was 14 or so. I had been listening to PP&M, The Beatles, John Denver, ABBA, Marty Robins and Burl Ives for my whole life up to that point. I can still belt out every song. And when I hear "Where have all the Flowers Gone" you can bet you'll see a tear in my eye. These are the soundtrack to my life- and I'm a whole generation behind you. What a perfect gift to hand down to our children: an appreciation for the good music of yester-year. Bless you Mary- my baby will be singing your legacy on!

Pres8Jes said...

"I live in song. There's a lyrical answer for everything."
i follow you in these words.
i'll go get presley now to sing a song with me...thanks for passing these lyrics onto us.
and for even teaching my jackie paper some tunes.
i love when presley says 'tiny hand'

lovely lindsay said...

what a tender day i had here with my little boys.
it does seem fitting that this was the year of your very own jackie paper.
"I live in song. There's a lyrical answer for everything."
yes. thank you for teaching us this. just the other day i played and re-played josh ritter's temptation of adam and was amazed at it's genius. the cd followed me from my car - to my house - and back to my car until i'd fully studied it.
love, lindsay

jade said...

Cute blog mom. I remember the movie you used to make us watch, and sing Inch by Inch. I sing Carson the sings and have since he was born. It was the first thing I could think of to sing to him... Where have all the Flowers gone. Whats Peter and Paul doin?

Alisha said...

what a beautiful post!