Friday, December 07, 2007

The Von Trapps We Are Not

Mom and DadI was tagged by Daisy at Compost Happens for another random facts meme (she probably thought I'd forgotten) and I've done a few of these before:

* First, just facts about me
* Then five more things about me (this one was a little boring)
* Then I changed it to Five Childhood Memories
* Then I changed it to Seven Teen Things about Me
* Then I worked with Eight Things about My Marriage

So where to go from there? Then Sandier Pastures hit me with 8 Facts about My Mother and I knew what to do. So here are some facts about my parents (I'm expanding it a bit).

1. There may be some people reading this who know my parents, my father has the image of being rather serious but that's only because his coworkers don't see the other side of him. The one that can burp "Stars and Stripes Forever." When I was in second grade we took a trip up the Alaska-Canadian highway (the Alcan) which was days of driving through the wilds of Canada on mostly hilly unpaved roads with nothing but the Canadian wilderness for company and Dad kept us entertained with his musical prowess. Well maybe not musical. He burped until he was hoarse--is that possible??

2. Music has always been a big part of our family. In fact, my father is a die-hard rocker who, as a proper child of the 60s, introduced me to the wonders of Credence Clearwater Revival, Eric Clapton, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Doors, Jimmi Hendrix and of course The Beatles. You might say I was raised on Beatles and Cream. Why do you think I was named Michelle? (Lucky for me they didn't go with Prudence, Eleanor or Rita).

Mom's favorite Beatles' song is "Norwegian Wood" and she favors their earlier music such as Hard Day's Night and Dad's is "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" from the White Album. Mine? "A Day in the Life" from Sergeant Pepper's. Speaking of the White Album, Dad used to like to tweak Mom by loudly and gutturally singing "Why Don't We Do it in the Road?" just to hear her say, "MEL!" in her shocked not-in-front-of-the-kids sort of voice.

3. I remember one evening coming home with Dad and pulling into the garage with the radio cranked and him forcing me to stay in the car to finish listening to Pete Frampton's synthesized voice wailing like a guitar.

"Isn't that amazing?" Dad said, his car rocking with the beat. I smiled and nodded, happy to be enjoying good music together. Dad was convinced that the sound really was Frampton's guitar (this was the time before music videos) and it wasn't until several years later that I realized the truth but never bothered to tell him--why mess with a man's heroes, you know?

4. As I got older Dad kept his rocker roots and even today loves anything with a strong R&B riff--preferably with a sultry, slightly hoarse woman's voice. Think Bonnie Raitt, Pat Benetar, or Joan Jett or the manly ZZ Top in the 80s. As a teen, it was always pleasant to be awoken on a Saturday morning by my father's music cranked loud enough to make the walls vibrate. "Dad, could you turn down the music?"

Even today he loves rock and roll (he doesn't do ballads) and is my source for much of my music. Body Rockers, The Killers, Moby, Collective Soul, Evanescence, over the years many of my favorite bands have first been introduced to me by my Dad--though he tends to like harder stuff than I do. He'll come across songs, burn them onto CDs and bring them over, saying, "Do do you like this?" He's got pretty good taste too. My kids have the only Grandpa on the block listening to Good Charlotte and Liz Phair.

5. My mother, on the other hand, has more refined taste and gave me my first taste of opera (which I also love). Instead of waking me up with her wall-shaking tunes she was more likely to be found singing, "O What a Beautiful Morning!" in the kitchen over breakfast. I learned a lot of obscure lyrics to quite a collection of show tunes thanks to her and can now pass on the love by singing these to my own children. Who are just about as impressed as I was. Mom and I have songs for every occasion.

6. However, Dad's memory in the music department is not to be trusted and his lyrics are guaranteed to be unique--he just can't ever quite get them right. In fact, my parents (who are both BYU alumni) raised me with the BYU fight song--"Rise and shout! The cougars are out . . . " regularly sung at appropriate family occasions (rather like "Stars and Stripes Forever," right?) Only trouble is, after 18 years of hearing Dad's stirring school spirit when I finally got to BYU and attended my first football game and BYU scored that first touchdown all 55,000 fans rose to sing the fight song in unison and I was the ONLY one singing the wrong words. Thanks Dad. I was a dork.

7. Only thing is, I don't get my infusion of music from them lately now that they're living in India. Apparently Bangalore, even being the Land of the Sitar, doesn't carry quite the musical inspiration that Robert Plant and Pink Floyd do. Nowadays Mom and Dad are more likely hopping around from Delhi to Mombai to Chennai to Goa to Sri Lanka--in fact, this September Mom and Dad spent their 40th wedding anniversary in Nepal. Didn't see that coming. Do you think they sang Bob Seger's song "Katmandu"? Because I hear it whenever I think of them there.

I miss you Mom and Dad.

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Anonymous said...

I love this : )

Here from Rocks in my Dryer blogging 101. (I don't have a blog yet)

Life with Beatles music is our life, too! Your dad and my hubs must be same age. We had kids later in life, and so whenever someone has a birthday, we wake up to "They Say It's Your Birthday" at top volume!

thanks, I actually come here often, just have never commented.

deb meyers

Julie Pippert said...

I love it! How neat to get a snippet of the life (and fun) you had growing up with your parents...and all the music. It's a great connection point. :)

Using My Words

Joyful Days said...

Thank you for sharing a bit of your parents with us, Michelle. That was a wonderful post.

Janet said...

I have the Rolling Stones first album (on vinyl) that belonged to my father. I didn't discover it until I was in my 20s (he died at age 27 when I was 3). So my rock and roll roots actually are roots. Mom likes rock and roll now. She says in the 60s she was too busy raising kids to listen to music.

Robin said...

What an amazingly, eclectic background you have :). Somehow this post has just the right balance of nostalgia, sweet remembrance...and ROCK!


Lara Neves said...

So much fun. Sounds like you grew up in a very fun family!

I do to my kids what your mom did. Always singing show tunes and opera arias at them. :)

I also used the BYU fight song when I potty trained them. So, someday when they're at their first game (well, they've already been to a few here and there), I'm worried they'll sing, Rise and Shout the poo poo is out!

jean said...

Wow. India? Do they now live there or are they on vacation? It must me hard to be so far from them at this time of the year. Well, it sounds as if they were more in touch with the music of your youth then my parents. My mom still has no clue.

Maddy said...

Peter Frampton! Now I feel really old. I can't imagine burping any song, but if I did, and if I did the Stars and Stripes, I think I might be deported!
This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Montserrat said...

Nice reading the musical part of your family's life. My dad would serenade us to sleep while playing his guitar. He taught my siblings and I how to sing harmony using songs form The Beatles. I can't wait until Christmas when we visit. I know he'll be serenading my children to sleep.

Lisa said...

I love this! I love parents who can share a variety of music with their kids. Mine did. Though, not like yours, I like a wide variety because of them. I hope I can do that with my kids, too. Sweet tribute to your parents so far away! :)

Adria said...

Some similarities to my parents. It's neat to hear what a musical legacy they gave to you.

Rebecca Mecomber said...

Burping? Guitars? Peter Frampton??

Holy cow, your dad sounds like my husband.

Ice Cream said...

This brought back so many memories of my father. He raised me on the Beatles and the Beach Boys and was known to keep us in the car in the driveway to finish a song as well.

Oh, and did you know that "Norwegian wood" was really supposed to say, "knowing she would." The producers thought it was WAY too suggestive at the time and made them change it. The Beatles were so ticked that they just changed the line to the first rhyming thing they could think of. Now, listen to the song again, with the original words. =)

jubilee said...

My dad once burped the alphabet and he was the coolest dad on the block after that. Your dad (and mom) sound cool too!

Thea @ It's Me Vs. Me said...

You know, I can't ever remember my dad listening to music. I'm sure he did...but all my music stuff comes from my mom. She always sang us showtunes instead of lullabies. "A Bushel and A Peck" was very popular in my house...

Geo said...

This post is pure joy!

Theresa said...

The Alaskan Von Trapps Rock! Great story in a meme.

Rick said...

Marie and I resemble your parents. :-)

Marie N. said...

Rick is right! It is like we were reading about ourselves.

Daisy said...

How fun! Yes, you were lucky they went with Michelle instead of one of the other options. No, I didn't forget. It seems everyone I tagged had a delay because, well, life got in the way!

Leslie said...

What a great post! You have a way of making memes incredibly entertaining. Your parents sound like so much fun. No wonder you miss them.

Anonymous said...

i loved this post! what a riot! your dad is such a hoot! the burping and the singing in the road song ... this was so much fun to read. hope their mission is going great for them. thanks for sharing this fun post.

kathleen :)

sandierpastures said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer the tag and even expanding it. Wow. Great facts about your parents! My father is a huge Beattles fan too. Oh, and he sings Engelbert Humperdinck all the time at parties (makes us all hide or go home!) lol! The audience love it though.

Tammy and Parker said...

Hey! I'm BYU alumni too! :)

Sweet post.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I loved how into rocker music your Dad is :) !!

JAM said...

Great story. This is pretty much how I am with my daughters. I turned them onto heavy metal, took them to their first metal concerts and just the other day, I borrowed my younger daughter's Cd by the metal band "All That Remains" because needed some screaming guitar leads. (In my defense, it's mostly Christian hard rock and metal, a la, Disciple, King's X, Project 86, etc.)

3. I remember one evening coming home with Dad and pulling into the garage with the radio cranked and him forcing me to stay in the car to finish listening to Pete Frampton's synthesized voice wailing like a guitar.

"Isn't that amazing?" Dad said, his car rocking with the beat. I smiled and nodded, happy to be enjoying good music together. Dad was convinced that the sound really was Frampton's guitar (this was the time before music videos) and it wasn't until several years later that I realized the truth but never bothered to tell him--why mess with a man's heroes, you know?

Actually, it's the guitar AND his voice. The Heil Talk Box that Frampton used runs his guitar signal through and adds in his voice. He talks or "scats" with his voice, the same notes as he plays them on the guitar. It's a device that mixes his voice WITH the guitar notes being played.

You can see how he does this on one of the new Geico commercials. He's the celebrity on one of them where he translates what the lady is saying about her Geico experiences. The device is mixing his voice with the same notes played on guitar. I always loved Frampton Comes Alive and still love his voice box/guitar leads from that album.

And strangely enough, I actually saw Peter Frampton and his daughter at Kenned Space Center years ago at a night launch of the Space Shuttle.

Sorry for the long comment, but it reminds me of my musical dealings with my daughters, much like your Dad and You.

Sarah Jewel said...

Oh my. Reading this post brought back flashbacks, so bad! My dad is IDENTICAL to yours (except he'll appreciate a good ballad and sometimes remembers lyrics haha). I'm officially hooked on your blog, thanks. :) Bye bye, chores!