Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"You make me feel so young..."

Whenever I hear the smooth notes of a Frank Sinatra song, I am taken back, way back, transported to the time when I was six or seven, to when I was small and my parents were still happy together. Perhaps there were stirrings of dissatisfaction and dissent between my mother and father, but my six-year-old self had not noticed anything amiss. I knew I was loved, I knew my parents loved each other, and my world was composed of the three of us.

Every night, both parents would kiss me goodnight. I would lie in bed, with the golden light from the living room spilling down the hall and glowing softly in my room - not enough to keep me awake, but enough to chase away my fears. With my door ajar, I could hear the rise and fall of my parents voices as they talked. The words were indecipherable, but the murmur of their conversation was a sound that I loved. If my parents laughed about something together, I felt that my life, at that moment, was utterly perfect. It was one of my favourite times of the day.

Sometimes, Mum or Dad would ask me if I wanted some music to listen to as I fell asleep. They had given me a recording of 'The Nutcracker Suite', and I remember listening to its familiar refrains as I drifted off to sleep. But mostly, I would be serenaded into the Land of Nod by the music my father loved .... Ivan Rebroff, the music to Dr Zhivago, but mostly, more than any other, Frank Sinatra. And if you have to listen to the same man singing, night after night, I can assure you that Ol' Blue Eyes was an excellent choice. His honeyed voice, his perfect pitch, his corny songs of love - they still appeal to me now. It's not that I don't love many other types of music - rock, pop, blues, classical, country/rock. Yet Sinatra's music still draws me in, holds me, soothes me, reminds me of when my world was much smaller. It reminds me of the warm yellow walls in my room, the kiss of my mother, the chuckle of my father, and the simplicity of a six-year-old.

Though my life has changed a lot over the past 30-odd years, and though my parents' marriage did not survive, one thing has remained constant. I know that both my parents love me dearly. And that knowledge I have carried with me like a talisman throughout my life. That, and the uncanny ability to sing the lyrics of any Frank Sinatra song you may care to name .....


"You make me feel so young
You make me feel like spring has sprung!"

15 comments:

Val said...

Frank Sinatra was one of THE crooners of all time, and I so regret that I never saw a live performance of his. All the characteristics you mention are true of his singing, but for me the outstanding one was his sense of timing. That little pause, the subtle syncopation - exquisite! I'm going to dig out my vinyl and CDs and make it a Frank Sinatra day today. Even my sons, for all their Gen Y baggage, like his singing.

I get similar emotions to yours when I hear Glenn Miller songs. My parents married in 1943 and they both loved, and still do, that music. They were in love with each other then too and when I hear that music I think of them in their happier days, even though there was a war on and my dad was away in the navy.

TUFFENUF said...

Beautiful post Jelly. "so any time you're getting low, 'stead of letting go, just remember that ant; oops there goes another rubber tree plant" (my favorite Frank song)

Motherkitty said...

I agree that Ole Blue Eyes could sing like melted butter. I agree that teenage girls back in the 1940s loved him better than sliced white bread (he was one of the first teenage idols long before Elvis or the Beatles). I agree that he was one cool dude long before anyone knew what cool was. After all, he founded the Rat Pack, and if you weren't in the Rat Pack, you were nowhere, man.

But, most of all, I think he was the consumate actor and could play any role from comedy to high drama with an ease rarely seen today. My favorite movie of his is "The Manchurian Candidate." Not the new version with Denzel Washington, but the original 1960s version. When this movie was completed, they delayed releasing it because of John F. Kennedy's assassination. When it was finally released, it was so powerful that I think it escalated the Cold War.

Your recollection of your mom and dad (when you were six) was so poignant and I can picture you all snuggled up in bed, in a room with creamy yellow walls, falling into a coccoon of peaceful sleep lulled by the sweet tones of Frank. Thanks for sharing. Makes me think I missed something growing up.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Lovely post Jelly and thanks for giving us another little peek into your personal life, as a child.

Heather said...

This is a lovely post, Jelly. :-)

John Cowart said...

What a warm glowing post.

Kerri said...

What a lovely way to start the day...reading your beautiful words Jelly. Wow! You have an uncanny knack for capturing moments in time so clearly...and transporting us into your world. Love your writing Jelly. Thanks so much.
Old Blue Eyes was a great crooner for sure! And I also love the music from Dr. Zhivago.
Hope you, Fatty and the kids are having the time of your life!

DayByDay4-2Day said...

once in a while I will get in the mood to hear frankie. Then my hubby wil look at me strange. I like "that's life"

susan said...

Frank who? before my time, I guess...

Are you still traveling? When are you stopping by here?

judypatooote said...

Harry Connick Jr. and Rod Stewart both have albums of the old songs and the crooning....they are wonderful......and they are still alive.....lol

Mimi said...

Isn't it funny how we tend to remember the good and filter out the bad. I have so many fond memories of my very average 1960's childhood. I have really thought about it in the last year since my mom died and I was responsible to close her estate. I spent three weeks in my childhood home. It was an amazing experience and one I'm very greatful for.

Mimi

HORIZON said...

I so enjoyed reading that post Jelly. Strangely enough, these last few days when the sun has been shining its best all summer, our neighbours were playing Frank Sinatra's songs. I sat up the back garden, for a few minutes, head back, eyes shut, enjoying the music.
My parents have been divorced for many years now, but perhaps being the oldest, l remember more of what it was like when they were happy. :)
Can relate to your feelings of security.
Tell it like it is girl- tell it like it is.

Val said...

Jelly,
there is an interesting obit of Sinatra's pianist/collaborator in today's Melbourne Age. The guy was in his 90s and still playing for Frankie Jr!

Franny said...

What a sweet post...its nice to reminisce on simpler days.

manababies said...

Such a sweet post. I think almost everyone can connect some sort of memory to a Frank Sinatra song.

BTW, I hope you are having a good vacation. Miss you!!