January 17, 2008

Just Sing—Sing a Song

When my family moved to Boston the summer after my first year of college, I got a job at a daycare center about 20 minutes from home. We lived in a sort of rural area, and I didn’t get great reception on my car radio. Plus, we’d just moved from Texas. In those days, I was listening to a lot of country, of which there wasn’t much to be had over there. So, instead of trying to get something else besides fuzz on my radio every morning, I would pop in a Carpenter’s tape that I’d found in the unpacking wreckage. (My little car was made before the era of CD players.) Every day I’d listen to Karen belt out tunes as I drove through little town after little town, until I finally arrived at Discovery Day Care in Plainville, Mass. I’d make it through the first side and almost half of the second every time I made the drive. For three months, I never got tired of that voice or those songs. That truly amazes me, now that I think back on it.

Although, I had every word of those songs memorized long before I made my Carpenter-filled treks twice a day through the summer of 2000. Growing up, my dad loved music and would play the Carpenters, the Beatles, and a dash of the Beach Boys on the stereo on Saturday nights. These are really the only artists I remember hearing, but I’m sure there were others. Or perhaps, these were just the ones that were deemed (undoubtedly by my mother) as “child proof.” The famous Dance Night at the ----s was born, and our little ears were filled with Beachwood 4-5789, I Want to Hold Your Hand, and Barbara Ann, as we’d take turns dancing, or just being flung from side to side by dad. As we were awaiting turns, we, or in my brother’s case, he solely, would flail around, making up our own “dance” moves to the beat. I still enjoy doing this sometimes (mostly at the end of a movie during the theme song), to the chagrin and wonder of my husband, who mostly laughs awkwardly and stares at me. I guess that’s one reason why I love the Carpenters so much; it takes me back to the freedom and happiness of unabashed youth.

My mom used to tell the story on dad about how he had a crush on Miss Karen. She’d say, “Well, your dad here said if he ever met a woman who could sing like Karen Carpenter, he’d marry her, no questions asked.” Hmmm. . . I’d imagine. I could have had a smooth-as-butter voice like her if that’d happened. But then, dad would just smile sheepishly, and laugh. As if to say, “I guess I did say that, but I certainly didn’t mean it.” And all doubt would disperse as soon as he started that same story about seeing mom for the first time in her blue jeans and t-shirt.

I've been listening to music a lot at work lately. It makes the time pass by more quickly, and I find it helps me avoid contracting my normal daily computer headache, somehow. Karen's soothing, rich voice comes through my headphones, and suddenly rainy days and Mondays don't seem to get me down as much.

To be honest, I don’t really understand my affinity for the Carpenters—it’s something that just exists. Like the way I love soft cheeses, ocean waves, and reading. There’s something about Karen’s voice that strikes a chord within—and resonates.


laurylaro said...

Knitting is one of those rites of passage to take up or dabble in. It seems to be something in the innate nature of our gender. I have many crocheted afghans and a few attempted knitting projects. how lucky you are to have a friend to show you how to do it. It's impossible to read those abbreviated instructions!

Thomas said...

karen carpenter's voice will never be duplicated.

Lindzer said...

When I saw the title of this post I totally thought it was going to be about sesame street. LOL!!!! That tell you where my head is most of the time.....