I am sure that each of us has our own special books, movies, songs that have stuck with us throughout the years, reminding us of special events, special people and different times in our lives.
All of these mediums have a way of touching our souls and forging a deep connection which can leave us breathless.
For me, the standout books would have to be: Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, a book that touched me with the central character going through many of the same emotions and uncertainties in life that I have experienced, albeit in far different settings. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, books that were given to me by my grandmother in the abridged version when I was young. A constant reminder of my wonderful grandmother and our shared love of books, I tend to read both once a year when the thunderstorms start to roll in and I can cuddle up in a warm blanket and be transported to the wild, untamed moors. The Miffy books by Dick Bruna will forever remind me of my little brother and how I taught him to read, scared that he should be prepared to read early on since I had noticed from 1st grade that boys and girls tended to learn differently and I didn’t want him getting in trouble. Amanda’s Dinosaur by Wendy Orr. A lovely little book which I received in preschool and still have to this day. My nephews and nieces love the story of the girl who finds a dinosaur egg. And, Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. From the first time I read it, I blubbered like a baby when the mako sharks make an appearance and destroy the magnificent marlin that the old man fought so long for. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, because to this day it remains the only books that Dad and I had both read and could actually have a discussion on (our discussions usually stuck to what was on telly and music).
As well as books, I also love watching movies and I struggle to pick favourites. Those that have a special place in my heart however, are The Sound of Music because I remember watching it late one night with my granddad when the rest of the house was asleep. Harry and the Henderson’s, a rather amusing movie that reminds me of my other granddad. Those grandparents didn’t seem to have many non John Wayne movies and I remember watching this movie countless times with my siblings whenever we would visit. Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair to Remember which I watched with my grandma, after having spent weeks tracking down An Affair to Remember after it was mentioned in Sleepless in Seattle and being told what a wonderful movie it was. I remember sitting up with my grandma, eating popcorn and having our own little pajama party while watching these films. To this day when I re-watch these films, I can still picture her sitting beside me.
Music has such an amazing way of bringing people together or driving them apart. I have never been a fan of opera or country music, although I can appreciate the talent that some people possess in these genres. My mum would drive me crazy listening to John Williamson (an Aussie country singer) who, yes, has some catchy songs but they drive me stark raving mad. Especially the one with the dog that urinates everywhere, I think it is called Little Piss Piddle. One of my nephews accompanies me with a sing-a-long to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing whenever he is in my car. I hope he never grows out of wanting to have a sing-a-long with his aunty. Bohemian Rhapsody takes me back to being stuck in the car with my siblings on the drive back hom from my grandparents and the murderous look in dad’s eyes when we would all start singing along – in the worst, most tone-deaf way possible. Cat’s in the cradle and Bad Company’s Shooting Star were the first songs I ever learnt the lyrics to, and I would spend hours as a girl sitting on the swings in the back yard, singing along to the music in my head. The entire album for the Sister Act movies transport me to primary school choir days, I can honestly say I know every single song from those movies. Adele’s Turning Tables and Sarah McLachlan’s Angel saw me through some very dark times. Listening to Turning Tables basically on repeat for two days straight gave me the nerve to finally leave the toxic “marriage” I was in and stop taking him back.
And to end the list on a happy note, You are my Sunshine, an incredibly corny song that has been sung to me countless times by a special person. I suspect he sings this song because he knows I hate being called “my dear” and since it is part of the song to say dear, he thinks he can get away with it.
I am sure that I have left quite a few books, movies and songs from my list but there really are too many to list. Any songs I have heard at funerals will send me right back to the heart-break if I overhear the songs while in the shops. Def Leppard’s Pour some sugar on me, seems to unleash my inner stripper and I recall (through the fog of alcohol clouded memories) quite a few times I ended up dancing on tables due to that particular tune and its catchy beat.
We are the sum of our experiences and it is the music, books and movies that help to shape our lives. What would a life be without a soundtrack?