Thursday, April 2, 2009

It Hasn't Taken All Of My Memories Away....

I'm sure that, unless you were a big fan of country music in 1985, you might not know the song I've posted the video for. This song was performed by Dan Seals and I haven't heard it in years but, today when I was reading the headlines on AOL this morning, I saw that Dan Seals passed away at the young age of 61 on March 25th, 2009.
It took me a few minutes before I recognized his name and then I couldn't remember why I remembered him so I searched YouTube for some of his videos and when I saw the title to this song, I instantly remembered who he was and why I remembered him.
In 1985, when this song came out, I was 7 years old. I was the baby of the family out of my cousins, so while they were off doing what teenagers do, I was going to my grandparents house in a very rural part of southern West Virginia with my mom during the summers.
Their house was the greatest place on earth to me as a child. My grandparents, Emma and Clyde lived in the same house that they built together so many years ago, and if you went upstairs to my mom and her sisters old bedroom or to my uncles old room, and opened a closet, you would still find things like their old prom gowns and clothes that were no longer in fashion. There were also countless boxes of photos of people long gone and a box of notes that my mom and aunt had written to each other when they weren't speaking over something. Grandma kept everything.
My grandparents had opened a country store together that sat in front of their house. Back in the "old days", long before I was a shimmer in the sky, my grandparents worked together every day in that store. My grandfather was a postmaster and ran the end of the building that was designated as the post office and pumped gas when a car pulled up to the tanks and ran over a rubber wire that made a bell go off inside the store.
Grandma ran the register at the store and a person could stop by and fill their tank with gas, buy new overalls and workboots, order parts for their tractor or a box of peeps that they would raise for eggs and meat and a few times, people would even order hunting dogs that would arrive in the mail. They would also get their groceries, in bulk of course because it was a long trip from their "hollow" to the store, and they always made sure to catch up on the local gossip before heading home.
In the center of the store was an old gas stove for heat and surrounding it were five or six chairs that were always filled with people who would sit and talk to hear the gossip in comfort.
The National Geographic even came out in the early 50's to do a story on Grandpa's post office. He had an employee that still delivered mail on horsback, the last one in the country to do so and the magazine had sent a repoter and a photographer out to do a story on it. But when the photographer got there to take pictures of the mail carrier on his horse, they fell in love with the atmosphere of the store. I'm sure someone from the city had never heard of going to a store like this and, long after their shopping was finished, the shoppers still could be found sitting in the chairs around the stove, even if it were summer time and the stove wasn't even on, chatting and laughing over the latest news. So, along with the photos of my grandfather's post office and his horseback mail carrier, there was also a picture of the people sitting around the stove talking. My mom is in that picture as a wise girl of probably all of six or seven years old. I was lucky enough to recieve a copy of this picture, blown up and framed, from my mother and it now hangs on my wall. I also have a copy of the National Geographic too. Not many people can say that their mother was in a National Geographic, after all. Of course, I then always have to go on to explain that she wasn't one of those women with the disc in her mouth and the rings around her neck, with no shirt on, and her boobs hanging out.
By the time I came around, my grandparents had retired and sold the store to a distant cousin and her husband who had it still going strong. I remember times, probably when I was getting a little too wild, someone would give me a dollar and send me down to the store to get myself a pop (soda for you city folk) and a candy bar. Back then, a dollar bought both and you still had change left over for a few pieces of bubble gum.
I can still remember being excited, almost giddy, when we were on our way to my grandparents house. Even though it was rural, it was the greatest place on earth to me as a kid. I can remember the smell of the hot country air and the way the door creaked when you went inside the house. I remember the smells inside of the house too. Scents of grandma's cooking, usually something that she and grandpa had grown in their garden, the "squeak-squeak" sound that grandpa's chair made when he rocked in it. The tick-tock and then the chiming on the hour of the Grandfather Clock in the corner. And the always constant, soft sounds of country music playing on a radio somewhere in the house.
That was how I first heard this song. I remember that my favorite part of this song was the way Dan Seals could make his voice go up so high on some notes. I had no idea what the song meant but I loved it.
I also remember the time that we all piled into my grandparents Ford LTD, which was a boat of a car, and drove for what seemed like eternity into the closest "town" which, if I remember correctly, didn't consist of more than a small grocery store, a drug store, a funeral home, and maybe a stoplight.
On one of these trips, Grandpa and I were wandering around the drug store, while my mom and grandmother were shopping for things that didn't interest an older man and a young girl, when grandpa happened upon a cassette tape of the Dan Seals album that this song was on. When we got back to their house, grandpa surprised me with this cassette tape. I was so excited, as this was my first real music cassette. I played this song over and over until the tape just wore out. And even after it quit working, I kept it and I still have it, safely stored away in one of my many boxes of memories. I guess I inherited the trait of keeping everything from my grandmother.
My grandparents are both gone now and even though I always think of them everyday, when I heard this song this morning I was instantly taken back to that time when grandpa presented me with this cassette tape. It's amazing to me the things a song can do.
I have spent so many days angry at my MS and the fact that it robs me of my memory everyday. There are days that I couldn't tell you at noon what I had for breakfast. But this morning, hearing this song, I realized that there are some things, some memories, that my MS cannot rob me of.
I miss those times so much it makes me ache at times, but atleast now I realize that I can take comfort in the fact that MS can't steal these memories from me because they were long etched in my brainlong before MS and it's lesions showed up.
I hope you enjoyed this walk down "Memory Lane" with me. And even if you're not a fan of country music, give the video a try and listen to it. The song really is beautiful and Dan's voice and his ability to hit those high notes are what made it so memorable back then and still today.
RIP Dan Seals. Thanks for the memories.

4 comments:

LISA EMRICH said...

Beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. You've made me feel nostalgic, thinking of greatgrandparents and such.

Bee (the one who muses) said...

That was beautiful, Tracy. I have the same memories of my grandparents but I'm still lucky enough to have them here.

Skye said...

What lovely memories Tracy! There is so much I could say about memories of Grandparents, but it's all just way too much, as it is, I'll just sit back and remember my Gramps for a while :)

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