|My Mom. Date of picture unknown. |
I mysteriously found this photo in my purse after her funeral.
When I was a little girl, my parents had very few contemporary music albums in the house. It's not that they were strict about music. They just didn't know any better.
There were some Elvis 45's, a Diana Ross and the Supremes double album, Paul Anka (I think...or maybe Tom Jones?), and Wings. Yes, I said Wings, as in that Paul McCartney band after the Beatles. For a large portion of my ignorant childhood, I associated Paul McCartney with Wings and no other band. You can imagine how stupid I sounded when trying to talk about music with some of my more musically educated friend. Paul McCartney? Oh, sure. He's that guy from Wings. Duh.
When I finally heard a Beatles tune, it was in music class at school. Our teacher Sister Maryla played "Penny Lane." I was 9 years old, and later on that year John Lennon was shot and killed in front of the Dakota apartment building in Manhattan. On every news program, cameramen scrambled to get footage of the hundreds of fans that kept vigil. They looked like an endless sea of candles, flowers, and pictures, crowding the sidewalks in front of the Dakota building. They spilled out into the streets and the entrance of Central Park. Everyone was besot with grief, crying with limp shoulders and bowed heads. The spectacle was too big to ignore, even when the tv was turned off. Everyone talked about it, from the nuns at school to the cashiers at the local Key Food.
When my Mom died, I thought about John Lennon and those images on the television. Back then, I regarded the outpour of emotion too much for a man who was only a year younger than my Mom. Why was he so special? And then as I got older and more appreciative of the power of music, it dawned on me that John Lennon died too soon. But in his short 40 years, he touched so many people through his music.
It was the same with my Mom. The turn-out for her wake and funeral was incredible. She was loved. She was appreciated. She touched so many people not with music but her own life. She made herself available to others if they needed help. When she died, there was a huge hole in the place where she used to exist. Her absence was felt and everyone who knew her mourned. And though it may have taken me years to appreciate her, I can honestly say that I knew it would be this way. I knew that she would be greatly missed.
The next song in my mixed tape is a Beatles song, Let It Be. Of course, my Mom is my Mother Mary. And I know she is standing right in front me.
The Beatles/Let It Be