By JoAnn Jordan, Blogger of the Month for September
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein
As I open photo albums and think back to my childhood in the 1960’s and 70’s, I am filled with memories — some good, some so-so, and some bad. I’ve made a choice in life to focus on the good.
No, I haven’t forgotten the challenges. Yes, things like the daily news coverage of the Vietnam War are burned in my memory. But, I elect not to make those things the focus. I prefer to remember the people, the moments and simple things that brought joy to my life.
Preschool memories are filled with non-stop sing and moving. I remember creating songs to comment on the weather outside or what mom was doing around the house. I recall hours of swinging and singing. Riding my tricycle and playing with my dog were other favorites. One of the few times I was willing to sit was to read books my parents.
My favorite time of the week was Sunday evening. Mom, Dad, and I would gather around the black and white TV with a rabbit ear antenna to watch The Ed Sullivan Show, Bonanza and Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.
My elementary years were filled playing games with cousins, siblings, and neighbors. My siblings and I would transform our basement into a series of forts with connecting paths all made from our assortment of toys. Winter nights were often filled with laughter and craziness while we played Carrom, Sorry and other board games. Kick the Can, Red Rover, tag, and kickball were some of our outdoor favorites.
I remember family trips in the car. There were no seat belts or A/C most of those years. Radio reception could be iffy so we spent a lot of time singing. We sang everything from “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” to “Tell Me Why” to old spirituals.
Many of our trips were to see family. While each family member holds a special place in my memory, my Great-grandma Bell is a special one. This oh-so-petite lady had trained her parakeet to sit on her shoulder and help her hemstitch. Great-grandma won me over by being the only one brave enough to serve me lemon-lime Kool-Aid made with a whole cup of sugar. (Let’s just say, sugar was not required to keep me going.)
Memories of the past have taught me to find joy in the sharing of moments. All these memories happened with and around others. Even when I sang to myself there were frequent check-ins by my parents and my dog.
As I live today, I appreciate the ease of remaining connected to family while missing our time together playing games and just being.
As I look toward the future, I hope to create joy-filled memories with others that will live forward in time long after I am gone.
Back in my day is then, is now, and is my future. When my album of memories is closed, it is my hope someone will say, “Back in her day, there was great joy and love.”
As a board certified music therapist, JoAnn provides music therapy and enrichment services for older adults and preschoolers in and around Hays, Kansas. She is known for the vibrant connections she delivers through intergenerational programs. You can access her engaging caregiver resources on her blog, Music Sparks.