Someone Hears Every Word
OUR TOWN opened at Quincy Community Theatre this past weekend. Thorton Wilder’s story, as many of you know, is timeless. Well, now that I read my words, I am thinking it really was time-ful. It doesn’t so much provoke new thought, but it inspires one to simply relate to a time in your life and put it in perspective. Like many of the patrons of QCT, I participated in some of the OUR TOWN website challenges on social media. (Ok, just Facebook. I can act like I am social media savvy, but, in truth, I am often singularly focused; and even then I have lapses.)
You remember the questions, don’t you?
Where, do you believe, is your hometown?
Where did you go to school?
Who were your neighbors?
Where did you hang out?
When and where was your first kiss?
Wait, what? That wasn’t one of the questions? You know it should have been…
Seeing OUR TOWN and pondering those questions made me think back to my hometown and some of the memories associated with that town. One of my greatest memories of my young life experiences was music. Well, religion and music, but I liked music better, so I’ll talk about that first. Typical to a child of the 50’s, my music inspiration came from listening to my parents’ records; Glenn Miller, The Mills Brothers, Phil Harris, Rosemary Clooney, The Modernaires, and one of my favorites, Frankie Laine.
In the late 60’s, I, like many, became conflicted by the politics of the time. I questioned rules that didn’t make sense: racism, intolerance, and blind faith. (Not the band, the concept.) Of course, I didn’t come up with any better or brave ideas, I just felt it was my role to question. In my own mind I became a teen in angst before it was cool. (Wouldn’t you know it?). But music never let me down. I developed an appreciation of the message of the music of the time, be it folk, rock, or country. The melodies and the words were mine to interpret. That said, I still remember Frankie Laine’s version of “I Believe” as well as the room in the old house where the record player stood guard. Matchbooks placed under a leg to keep it level. I remember the clicks as the LP slid down the automatic spindle; the crackle as the needle searched for the start of first spiral; the music, and the words. I loved hearing “I believe that for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.” I always nodded my head in agreement as the first verse crescendos to: “I believe for everyone that goes astray, someone will come to show the way, oh I believe…” Now, that’s religion, and that’s all I have to say about that.
Anyway, OUR TOWN, and my town, bring back many memories. Of course, like OUR TOWN, my town had its characters. I might even have been considered one of them. And that’s okay. Like all of us, I carry with me those things from my hometown that frightened me, entertained me, comforted me, and inspired me. As parents we sometime consciously, sometimes subconsciously, create a memorable atmosphere for our kids; like making life-long friends, or like making it okay to question what doesn’t make sense, like looking for the humor in the everyday obvious, and like the playing of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR just before Sunday breakfast. (The London cast)
OUR TOWN, the timeless and time-ful story of Grover’s Corners is onstage at Quincy Community Theatre this weekend. I welcome you to experience it, whether it be again, or for the first time. It may evoke your own memories. At another time or place, it could be your town.
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