Music triggers landslide of memories


I hopped in my car early yesterday morning. My daughter Caroline had borrowed my car the day before, and left her music behind. I popped the CD into the player, wondering what I would hear.
Fleetwood Mac started playing an old, familiar tune. Fleetwood Mac! Boy, did that take me back!
Flashback. Suddenly, I was 17 again, heading out of the school parking lot with my friend Carolyn in her tiny little Honda Civic, windows down, her tape deck blasting our very favorite Fleetwood Mac tune.
We were seniors, and we were on the verge of total freedom! We adored Stevie Nicks and the Fleetwood Mac band because they sang of such things as gypsy freedom and all sorts of elusive living.
Songs can amazingly transport us in this way. Just listening to my daughter’s choice of music, I suddenly remembered everything about one particular day spent with my free-spirited friend.
We were excused from school early after finishing our exams. It was an awesome, sunny day, the blue sky overhead calling us out to enjoy a day away.
Carolyn asked me if I had a dollar, and we stopped and put $2 worth of gas in her Civic. Now we were ready for a road trip! We bought a few things to make a picnic lunch, then headed for Mohican State Forest, driving through countryside we didn’t get to see every day, just because on this particular day we could.
Wish. I remember Carolyn rolling her window down and throwing her pennies out, saying maybe someone would find them and make a wish that would come true.
“And who needs pennies, anyway?” she said with a laugh. I had never known such freedom, and I had never experienced such footloose fun. I didn’t have to be home until the 4 o’clock milking. The day was ours!
We hiked part of the forest, stopping at the breathtakingly beautiful gorge overlook to contemplate our future and our past.
Carolyn was dealing with a tremendous amount: her once-solid and loving mom had left home to join a Greek monastery. Her mother had not only changed her address, having moved several states away, but had also changed her name, changed her life, reinvented her every focus.
Carolyn, the only daughter in this family, felt she had been left to figure it all out. Suddenly, my life looked pretty boring in comparison. And boring wasn’t so bad.
Landslide. After our hike, we returned to the car and cranked up the tunes. We listened to the duo girl band Heart for awhile, followed by a repeat of Fleetwood Mac and Landslide to which we sang along loudly and badly.
Fleetwood Mac once again made everything seem to make sense, and for the moment, we knew who we were and where we were going.
Today, it stuns me to consider how brave we felt and how unprepared we really were for life as young adults. We were figuratively caught in a landslide of our own, whether we could see it that way or not.
And how amazing, all these years later, to find that my daughter, at the same age now that I was then, is enjoying the very same music that my friend Carolyn and I listened to endlessly our senior year. How cool is that?

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.