Friday, January 29, 2021

Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace


I had never heard this before. It came in by surprise.

For someone from near my generation, I recommend "Alexa, play Petula Clark," which was something I had never said before.  I thought of her as a few songs, just before my time, but pleasant. But it was a happy half-hour! There are not acres of songs as there are with others from that era, but there are plenty. And this was based on AA Milne, on whom I had grown up. I tried to maintain the level of Milne with my two oldest children that had been part of my own culture growing up  - there wasn't much point in reading it aloud to the 14 y/o's that entered the family, one after another decades later - and more recently with the granddaughters.  Yet it occurs to me just this moment that his four main children's books were not so much of my childhood as I imagined.  A few were read to me, but they were mostly applied retroactively when I was in college, fetishising the innocence and wisdom of children and planning ahead for children to come. (Loggins and Messina were likely part of that.) Christopher Robin was less part of their mental furniture than he was of mine, even though I likely read to them ten times as much as was read to me, because Pooh was buried in the deluge of Tolkien, Lewis, Alexander, Cooper, L'Engle, and Genesis (including even Lot and Dinah, though reworded on the fly).

One of my son's friends in high school (Peter Stone, for those who remember) asked me "Mr Wyman, are these really the best years of our lives?"  Some teacher or invited speaker had said so, and he was doubtful.  He came to the right place. "No, the school years, especially high school, are often very hard.  But you will have your best memories from these years, so pay attention." He got it immediately, and I was proud of him. I still think that's true.  I have my fiftieth high school reunion coming up, and as things have developed I will spend much of my time with boys who threatened me and insulted me, girls who turned me down or I treated badly, people I knew almost entirely from 4th grade or from 12th, and a few jovial drunks who I'm not sure quite what experiences I shared with them.  And a few actual friends.


james said...

I had no idea she had covered that. I haven't heard that song since... my littlest sister was young.

"Best memories". Maybe, maybe not. In some ways more of my life was fixed, and in some ways more was free. I had a fixed schedule for a good part of the day, but afterwards I had fewer commitments. I read more then--because I had time to--than pretty much any time since. Perhaps my life would have turned out better if I'd read less and done other things more... Very few things that happened in school have stuck in my memory--and the most memorable of those tend to be the goofs.

HMS Defiant said...

your words inspired me. I told Alexa off tonight. Again and again. It seems I never turned it on. She still isn't listening but I got music over the blue tooth anyway.

Speaking of blue, is that racist? Can we say that?