Did you know…

The past couple of weeks, my siblings and I went through my mom and dad’s apartment and packed up their belongings. A task I never expected to do while they are both still alive. But, as you read earlier, my dad was moved to a memory care unit at Edgewood Vista in Alexandria and my mom is currently still in the senior care mental health unit of the Mille Lacs Health Care system in Onamia. My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about a year ago and my mom was very recently diagnosed with Dementia. (Read my previous blog for more info.)

As we were going through their things, I found some old cassette tapes that my dad had saved. He was a saver, oh boy! I can’t even begin to tell you all the treasures we found. And of course, there were a lot of things we just shook our head at and thought, “What the heck did he save that for?”

tapes and player

But the tapes, oh the tapes!, I was so intrigued by them. It brought back so many childhood memories. Music has always been a HUGE part of my family life. I grew up listening to the good ol’ country tunes of Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, George Jones and so many other great country artists. When my family got together, the guitars would be brought out and we would sing and sing and sing. I was not blessed with the best voice on the planet, but, my mom and some of my siblings were. My sister, Karen, especially, has a terrific, beautiful voice. Seriously, she can sing like an angel. And two of my brothers, Alan and Mike, can both sing damn good. My mom, Karen, Mike and Alan can also all play guitar and play it well. My sister, Karen, can also play piano. My brother, Steve, and I are probably the most least musically inclined people in my family. My sister, Donna, and my brother, Charles, aren’t too bad. Donna could sing okay and Charles isn’t so bad. I think Charles actually played guitar for a little while, too.

Many moons ago, my mom and my brother, Mike, used to sing and play guitar in bars and other venues around the Minneapolis area and then when we lived in Willmar, they would play around the area as well. There used to be a bar in Raymond they always played at, too. The two of them were known as “Country Mama and the Kid” or something like that. I think Mike and Karen used to sing together as a duo, too. I know they’ve sang at weddings because they sang at two of mine! (Lol!)

Anyway, my mom was actually a great singer in her day. Actually, she was a great musician. She couldn’t read music, but she could play anything by ear. We had an organ at home and she could play it so well. Again, all by ear. She used to write songs, too. I found a notebook with several of her songs written in it. Oh, it brought back SO MANY memories. One of the songs was called, “Nashville Dream.” My mom could have made it in Nashville. Yes, I believe she was THAT good.

I don’t know the melody of this particular song, but here are the words:

nashville dream

In case you can’t read it:

nashville dream typed

In the notebook, I found about 10 songs that my mom wrote. My favorite song she ever wrote was called, “My Side of Divorce.” It’s a sad song, but has a happy ending. I loved when she sang this song. You could tell it came from the heart.

One of the tapes I was listening to was labeled “Mike + Country Mama” on one side and “My wife + son Mike” on the other side. It was written in my dad’s handwriting. And not only was my mom and my brother, Mike, singing on it, but others too. My sister, my dad, me and there were more voices, but I couldn’t make them out. It wasn’t a professional recording. The tape was recorded while sitting around at our house on 10th Street in Willmar, back in 1989. I was a junior at Willmar High School. Oh how I now long for those times. I remember so often when my family got together, that’s what we would do…have big sing-a-longs; mostly country music, but there was some other music, like songs by John Denver and Simon and Garfunkel. Oh, man, how I wish I could turn back time right now. I guess I didn’t really know how much I loved doing that until I heard it on the cassette tape. Singing to the top of our lungs, laughing, having such a good time. I miss that.

cassette tape

As I was listening to the tape, there it was, my mom singing HER song, my favorite of them all. I recorded it with my phone. I know my mom wouldn’t mind sharing this with everyone. Like I said, she used to share her talents with the world. If only she could do that now. I guess I am and I am more than happy to share my mom’s talents with all of you.

Here is the song:

my side of divorce typed

And here is a link to listen to the audio clip: https://youtu.be/MKddQUwIOM0

Press HERE if that doesn’t work.

At the end of the song, she says, “I know what I was doing when I wrote that song,” and that is where I cut it off. She said she was ironing clothes and the song just came to her. Just like that. She was talented. Very talented.

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