Monday November 29th, 2021 1:22AM

Music helps me remember

By Kimberly Sizemore Anchor/Reporter

I have a terrible memory. I mean, it’s just awful. My clothes sometimes stay in the washing machine for so long I will end up rewashing them twice, sometimes three times. I confess that there’s been a time or two we have been driving down the road and my kids reminded me that nobody fed them breakfast. That seems like something you shouldn’t forget, and yet I do.

We have a joke in my family that anyone could tell any story about me, claiming I did anything, and I couldn’t deny it because I can’t remember if it’s true or not. I’m not so sure it’s a joke. The stories my siblings tell can’t possibly be true, but … as they say, I can’t remember!

The saddest part of not remembering is the things I have forgotten. Sometimes I wish I could remember crucial details, loved one’s voices, or childhood memories.

Yet, somehow, through the beautiful, magical power of music, I can remember things I’ve lost and forgotten.

I may not remember to pack my lunch in the morning, but somehow, when that song comes on the radio from 1998, I can remember every, single word. I can’t remember history lessons, basic math or the name of the stain remover I bought last week that I liked, but I can remember every complicated lyric to the fast-paced rap song that we listened to in college. That was well over twenty years ago.

When I hear “Dixieland Delight” by Alabama, I am suddenly transported to my freshman college dorm room where my roommate would blast that song over and over on repeat. I can feel the window heat unit, hear her voice singing, see the furniture placement and that blue carpet. I’m there.

A rap song can come on the radio, and, even if I haven’t heard it in YEARS, suddenly the words are flying out of my mouth as though I last heard it yesterday. O.k. I’ll be honest, every fifteenth word is a bit of a mumble, but I’m surprised by how easily the words come to me.

Nothing gives me greater joy than unexpectedly hearing a favorite song on the radio. I can roll down the windows, sing loudly and be transported to another place and time for 3 minutes and 54 seconds.

I remember the very first time I heard “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Hawaii’s musical artist Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. I was laying on the back of my dad’s pontoon boat. My boyfriend and I had borrowed it for the day. He was fishing, I was sunbathing. I remember hearing that song and thinking it was the perfect fit for the moment. I remember having the thought that it was absolutely one of the most perfect days and I wish I could just put it on repeat the way I do a song. I can smell the lake water, feel the sunshine, remember the way I felt in love with that boy. I married him and on our five-year anniversary, we took a trip to Hawaii. We rented a jeep and played Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s CD while we traveled the island of Maui. It truly felt like the magical place I had found over the rainbow.

I remember in my early 20’s when my friend Becky and I were driving in her car, at nighttime, down a country road. She asked me if I wanted to hear the “absolute best song in the world.” We were both silent as she played a very little-known song, “Feels Like Home” by Chantal Kreviazuk. I remember the moon, the drive and the way the song made me feel. Six years later, my husband and I danced to that song at our wedding.

I remember a few years into marriage, we were struggling to have a baby. I remember the Sunday I was in church, silently refusing to sing along with the worship song, “Healer.” I remember my tears, the struggle, and the very powerful word the Lord spoke to me in the middle of that song. He said, as clearly as a voice can speak, “I am still Healer, even if I never heal you.” I found peace in that. I sing that song now and remember His powerful presence, even though now I sing it with my three babies beside me.

One of the greatest advantages our technology-driven culture has is the gift of music. In a world of instant gratification, with a push of an app button, my kids can hear every genre of music from every generation before them.

I taught my daughter last week about “scatting.” We listened to the great Louis Armstrong, who gave the world an amazing gift. I hope my kids do listen to all types of music from all decades. I want my kids to hear Dolly Parton sing, “Jolene,” Johnny Cash sing, “I Walk the Line,” and appreciate the talent of Etta James. I want to know if they enjoy Natalie Cole the way I do. I want them to dance to Jackson 5. I want them to experience the way good worship music can lead them into the presence of the Almighty. I want them to hear rap, country, oldies (which may now be what I listened to in college) and rock. Why not?

If music can give me the gift of memory, and the gift of transporting me to another place and another time, why wouldn’t I want to share it with my kids? Every time we listen to a song, we are making a memory. Many years from now, when they are grown, and maybe when I am gone, perhaps hearing a song can take them right back to the place where we listened, sang, and danced crazily. Maybe they will remember and be transported back to a time when we enjoyed it together.

That’s what music does. It has the unique ability to remind us of where we have been and who we are.

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Music helps me remember
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