Archive for the ‘childhood memories’ Tag

The Soundtracks of Childhood by Angenita Williams

When one thinks of childhood, they think of school, school plays, kickball, teachers, bratty brothers, long summers outside, chores, barbecues, and an early bedtime. It’s a time where we all couldn’t wait to be adults because we had to follow so many rules that simply were not fair. (And many of us adults would like to go back to that time when things were much more simple.)

We also think of the music. What we didn’t understand was that the records that Momma and Daddy played on the stereo, or the tapes they played in the cassette player were setting a stage of memories for us to carry with us throughout our lives. And as we grew, as new artists burst into music, we added their sounds with the sounds already placed in our hearts. These tidbits of melodies etched themselves into our histories to the point where if we hear a song now, it takes us back to that moment where we fell in love with it. Don’t believe me?

Where were you when you first heard Thriller?

I was sitting in front of the stereo. My dad brought the record through the door and played the entire album. I held on to the cover. Michael was so beautiful in his white suit. I was enamored. It was 1982. I was 6.

Where were you when you first heard You Give Good Love?

I was at my house. My cousin, AJ, came down for the summer to watch my brothers and I while my mother worked. She played that song out, but it was BEAUTIFUL. I didn’t know whose voice that was at first. But then I saw the video. Whitney was so tiny, yet her voice was huge. It was 1985. I was 9.

Where were you when you first heard Purple Rain?

I was at home. Again. Dad brought this album in. I knew there was a movie for it. My friends had gone to see it. I hadn’t seen it yet though. I heard the song Purple Rain, and the guitar solo at the end caught my attention, and instantly became my favorite part of the song. It was 1984. I was 8.

These songs effect me that same way…over 30 years later. When I hear “Until the end of time, I’ll be there for you,” I’m taken back to Turrell, Arkansas, at my cousin’s house where it stayed on repeat, and it touched my heart. “Oh I wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody” brings me to my first summer in Indianapolis. “Hey pretty baby with them high heels on” takes me back to my uncle who loved that song, and made a howl every time it came on.

And as I type this, I smile.

Of course there is an astronomical list of artists that moved me at different periods of my life which includes:

Patti – If Only You Knew. Chaka – I’m Every Woman. Aretha – Pink Cadillac. Frankie Beverly – Before I let Go. Kool and the Gang – Celebration. Mtume – Juicy Fruit. Madonna – Like A Virgin. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time. Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing. Diana Ross – Upside Down. Stevie Wonder – Ribbon in the Sky. B. B. King – Lucille. The Gap Band – Party Train. ConFunkShun – Love’s Train. Isley Jasper Isley – Caravan of Love. Janet Jackson – Control. Luther Vandross – Never Too Much. Teena Marie – Lovergirl. Rick James – Mary Jane.

And that’s not even touching the surface….

When we lose these people who contributed so much to our lives, it leaves a hole…a gaping hole…a crater in our souls. We feel hurt. Lost. And what’s really funny…I wonder if our icons really know how much they affect their fans with the words they sing. With the arrangements they make…

Prince guided me into and out of heartbreak. Whitney helped me understand heartbreak. And Michael, well, Michael gave me life after heartbreak.

Prince made me dance. Whitney made me wanna dance with somebody. Michael made me wanna dance like him.

Without these melodies, these beats, this rhythm…my childhood would be vastly different. What would trigger a great memory if it were not for our soundtracks?

Behind Whitney, Michael, Luther, Gerald, Marvin, Teena, Rick…we lost Prince too. And man…that hurts. It really hurts.

All of them played a huge part in my soundtrack….my childhood. But Prince? He gave me one of my favorite songs in the world….Adore. The lyrics mean so much more now…

“Until the end of time, I’ll be there for you. You own my heart and mind…”

I truly Adore you.

RIH Prince.

You were such an instrumental part of my childhood. Of my life. Rest Easy, Purple One.

A Piece by James Powers Sr.

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A man walking down the road in the middle of a storm at night, starts to think about his life . He thinks of all his trials and tribulations. As he is walking he begins to cry. Thinking of his past, has brought forth a lot of hidden ghosts. He looks into the heavens and cries out “Why am I still alive?”.

As the man walks, he thinks of his early childhood. He remembers that things seemed so peaceful and perfect to him when he was young. His parents loved him and the world appeared to be a wonderful and bright place. This time in his life everything seemed to be a utopia for him.
 
The man continues to walk in the pouring rain. Lightning begins to crash across the sky and thunder rolls shaking the earth beneath his feet. He drifts into memories of when his life took a turn for the worse. His parents no longer peaceful and full of love. They lash out at each other and him too. The fight and argue with the power that the storm he is now walking through has. He is lash out upon like the lightning does to the sky. The thunder is the voices of his parents now yelling at each other and him.
 
In the distance lightning strikes a tree and splits it in half. This is the same thing that happened to his family. The fighting  split up his family. The ones he loved, broke his heart. As the rain falls, it makes him think of all the tears he shed while this was happening. His parents, to engulfed in their own rage towards one another  seem to forget he exists. The only time he is thought of is when, in like a game of chess he could be used as a pawn to gain advantage over one another.As he watches the tree now burning, he remembers the pain of all of this. The physical and mental pains the afflicted upon him set his soul on fire with rage.
 
As the rain comes down his clothes begin to soak through and he is getting colder as he goes on. This also, is how his life seemed to  progress. He became so enraged because he felt that he could of done something, yet just sat by idly and watched as everything he loved disintegrated into nothing. A void if you will, just an existence of what he was used to.
 
The man finds an overpass and goes under to bed down for the night. Trying to shelter himself from the storm. He did this with his own life. He hid himself away from everyone. The child slowly began to die , just as the rain is now starting to do. He began to disappear and no one seemed to know or care.
 
A fog is now rolling in, so thick the man can’t see in front of him. He closes his eyes to sleep and begins dreaming about his thoughts. He became like the fog when he was younger. So thick with hate and pain that he blinded himself. If those that he loved dearly could hurt him so bad, then the rest of the world was surely worse. He lashed out at complete strangers and never let anyone into his life. Sure he had friends, but they didn’t really know the real him. They saw what he wanted them to see. Like a magician, it was all smoke and mirrors. 
 
The man awakens and the fog is still there. He begins to walk again down the dark road. His life was like this for a very long time, dark and foggy. He did things that he isn’t proud of today, but at the time he no longer cared. Why should he, when no one else did. What did his life mean, nothing except to be but a pawn in two peoples game. Why let them win when I can change the game. If I take me out of the equation, then there is no real game to be had they both lose.
 
The fog is lifting and this makes the man think of his wife and when they met. She was a bet with the guys, nothing more and nothing less. She was to be yet another trophy in his hall of trophies. She was special though, she wasn’t like anybody he had known for a very long time. She saw through his facade. She was able to reach out to him like no one else could. She showed him that he was worth loving, and truly did love him for him. This woman lifted the fog around his life and broke through the ice that ran through his veins and locked up his heart.
 
It’s morning now and the sun is beginning to poke out. This made him think of his children and when he got married. His life was now starting to have purpose and meaning. He was needed for something other than to hurt another person. He had a family that he loved very much. As the sun begins to glow and glisten onto his face, he basks its warmth as he does the love of his family. The man smiles as he thinks of his children’s faces and his wife’s embrace. The feeling of when they have a family hug , brings back the memories of the utopia he once enjoyed.
 
The man continues to walk and sees a house in the distance and begins to go up to it. He comes up to the door, still drenched from the nights rain and proceeds to knock. A woman answers they door. The man tells her how his car broke down and how he had locked his keys in the car when he got out to check the problem. The woman has him come in and sit down. He tells her how he had started walking in the rain and spent the night under a bridge and then walked to the house. The woman’s children hearing their voices come running into the room. She smiles and says that her and the children were so happy that he made it home safely. They had been worried all night and had barely slept because daddy wasn’t there. The man with a tear in his eye grabbed his family in a hug and in his mind said this, is why I am alive!
 
Sometimes, a walk in the rain can wash away all of the fog that clouds your mind. Making the more important things shine through more clearly.
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