'Come Sail Away' With Music

A question prompts a few memories...

April 17, 2008


Vaguely how my piano at Gramma's house looked...

I was asked in one of my forums about my early experiences with music.The first music I remember hearing is my mom playing the piano and my dad playing the guitar. They sung oldies nobody remembers anymore, old classics like "Love Makes the World Go Round", "Yellow Bird", and some still heard, like "Autumn Leaves". There's something special about music like that, rather than off the radio or CD. (Back then, it was LPs.) It was comforting to hear them play, like everything was all right in the world. I'd whirl and swirl to it. (I was like five then.)

When I got older, they didn't play together like that, and it was a subtle sign not everything was right in the world. They divorced when I was twelve.

I took piano lessons, and although I didn't do much with the lessons, I enjoyed playing the pop stuff. I'm sure I played "If You Could Read My Mind" by Gordon Lightfoot enough times to drive my gramma nuts. But now, as I recall, I think it was a sad song to express the things that my heart felt:

"When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you won't read that book again
Because the ending's just too hard to take..."

That ending, the divorce, affected me in ways I would only consciously understand much later. There was other weird things I was dealing with at fourteen. Maybe _I_ was the "ghost from a wishin' well", who was just beginning to experience things that Gramma and Dad could never understand. (Doubts of their religion, for one thing.) But it wasn't just sad songs. I loved the Carpenter's music and had all their cassettes and all their songbooks. I'd play those happy songs, 'On Top of the World', 'We've Only Just Begun' and others. I love a lot of that music from the seventies, Cat Stevens, Queen, Styx, good stuff, that...

I remember playing "Come Sail Away", "This song of hope" by Styx:

I'm sailing away, set an open course for the virgin sea
I've got to be free, free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board, I'm the captain, so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I'll try, oh lord, I'll try to carry on

I did more than 'just try', I did carry on, and music was such an important part in that.

© Joan Ann Lansberry
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