Category Archives: reminiscing

From Rebecca: Re-post about school friends and Facebook

As I wrote yesterday, I am re-posting an entry from Joe’s third year of blogging. I had a lot to choose from, including a few From Rebecca entries that I liked. Going through the year, I saw that early 2014 was really cold with a lot of snow, that Joe discovered Train Simulator on Steam, and wrote a lot about sports and his childhood.

I picked this entry to re-post because I think most of us can relate to time passing so fast since high school, and using Facebook to keep us in touch with people we met way back then. And in touch with people we met since then, too.

Joe will be back with an entry next Wednesday. Until then, enjoy this blast from the past.

Catching up with school friends

October 10, 2014

Greetings, readers. Although I will never consider myself old, I had a strange incident happen yesterday. I was communicating on Facebook with a friend of mine who I always visualize as that teen-age kid I went to school with. When she was telling me about her poor health, I remembered, oh, yes, she is almost 50 years old, just like I am. We aren’t those young kids anymore.

My knees creak, my neck hurts, and sometimes I can’t get to sleep for love nor money. And as far as running, heck some days I can barely jog across the street. Yes, even though I consider myself young at heart, I am a middle-aged person. I must remember this.

Facebook gives me an opportunity to keep in touch with many of my friends from school. It’s so strange that I always think of them, no matter who they are, as the kids I used to know. I think that is because we don’t go out and party together, I don’t go to the school reunions, we just don’t hang out. So those visions from the past are all I have.  I wouldn’t trade the memories of those early years for all the world.

It’s funny. When I was in junior high and high school, I didn’t think I had many friends. Now I can go through the yearbook, looking at all the pictures, and I smile knowing that I had many more friends than I thought. Up to this point I really have had a good life.

This brings me to an idea. Maybe sometime this spring or early summer, after the snow melts, I am going to see if a group of my school friends would like to meet somewhere and hang out for an afternoon or evening. Perhaps we can book a hall or a hotel’s dining room. That would be cool. As a lot of you know, I dwell in the past. I think it would be a good thing for me to see my friends, swap stories, and get re-acquainted.

Switching gears, over the last few days, I’ve had some time to think about my recent obsession with simulation games and “playing” in general. My mom, the psychologist, probably would have told me that I am trying to go back to my childhood where life was perfect, my problems were taken care of for me, my friend David was there to play with, and TV shows and sports were there to be enjoyed. That’s my opinion. This Monday, I will see what my therapist will say.

Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

P.S. I am very happy to see the recent upsurge in the viewing of my performance pictures and my book page.

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You can’t go home again

Greetings, readers. I’m in one of my nostalgic moods today and I’ve been thinking of my parents and the house I grew up in. I still remember every inch of the old place. If I close my eyes, I can walk through every room, nook and pantry. I’ve been in the house since it was sold – I know the new owners – and they completely redid the inside. Why not, it’s their home now. It looked so different, though.

I am reminiscing about my childhood and all the wonderful times we had at home. Between holiday gatherings and the normal school year goings on, there always seemed to be something happening. One weekend it might be a game of Wiffle ball in the circle – what my neighborhood called the area outside my house, another weekend it might be watching a Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game with my friends.

I’ve often wanted to go back to those days, but it is impossible. Life marches forwards, not backwards. One of my issues is that I have always wanted to be different; either better than I was or, worse, somebody else. That stems from my poor self-esteem. What to do?

Other people have traits I wish were mine. Because I tend to forget things, I desire to be more like my mom. She was the most organized, clear-headed person I ever knew. Mom always had every base covered. Sometimes I wanted to have Pop’s work ethic. Heck, I would have twenty books written if I did. Then there is my best friend, Dave. He is the king of planning. I’ve always admired how he’d tell me every step of what needed done, and with such encouragement. You see where I’m going with this? I want to be everybody but… me!

I’ve learned recently from friends, family and inspirational quotes that all I need to do is be the best me I can be. I can do that. 🙂 Let’s all do that.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

Catching up with school friends

Greetings, readers. Although I will never consider myself old, I had a strange incident happen yesterday. I was communicating on Facebook with a friend of mine who I always visualize as that teen-age kid I went to school with. When she was telling me about her poor health, I remembered, oh, yes, she is almost 50 years old, just like I am. We aren’t those young kids anymore.

My knees creak, my neck hurts, and sometimes I can’t get to sleep for love nor money. And as far as running, heck some days I can barely jog across the street. Yes, even though I consider myself young at heart, I am a middle-aged person. I must remember this.

Facebook gives me an opportunity to keep in touch with many of my friends from school. It’s so strange that I always think of them, no matter who they are, as the kids I used to know. I think that is because we don’t go out and party together, I don’t go to the school reunions, we just don’t hang out. So those visions from the past are all I have.  I wouldn’t trade the memories of those early years for all the world.

It’s funny. When I was in junior high and high school, I didn’t think I had many friends. Now I can go through the yearbook, looking at all the pictures, and I smile knowing that I had many more friends than I thought. Up to this point I really have had a good life.

This brings me to an idea. Maybe sometime this spring or early summer, after the snow melts, I am going to see if a group of my school friends would like to meet somewhere and hang out for an afternoon or evening. Perhaps we can book a hall or a hotel’s dining room. That would be cool. As a lot of you know, I dwell in the past. I think it would be a good thing for me to see my friends, swap stories, and get re-acquainted.

Switching gears, over the last few days, I’ve had some time to think about my recent obsession with simulation games and “playing” in general. My mom, the psychologist, probably would have told me that I am trying to go back to my childhood where life was perfect, my problems were taken care of for me, my friend David was there to play with, and TV shows and sports were there to be enjoyed. That’s my opinion. This Monday, I will see what my therapist will say.

Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

P.S. I am very happy to see the recent upsurge in the viewing of my performance pictures and my book page.

Our voyage on Voyager of the Seas

Greetings, readers. When I was married to then Georgia Kockelmans, she and I went on a cruise in 2005 which was one of the happiest times we spent together. It was a ten-day grand vacation, with two days down and two days up on the Atlantic Ocean, and four ports of call in the Caribbean. Our ship was Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

Good friends of ours drove us to Cape Liberty cruise port in Bayonne, New Jersey where Georgia and I waited several hours for the ship to be cleaned and re-stocked. We had much to do in the meantime; there was customs to go through including showing passports, and baggage checks. I had the eager anticipation for this trip of a little boy. It was the first time I had been on a liner since 1973’s Queen Elizabeth 2 crossing of the Atlantic Ocean with my parents. I was wide-eyed at the whole experience. Then we got the news: something had delayed our boarding and we were all going to be in this waiting area for much longer than anticipated. Since we were all checked in, that gave people time to smoke, stretch their legs, and get a drink. However, we weren’t allowed to venture far away from the boarding area. Finally in the evening around 7:00 or 8:00 as best as I can remember, we were allowed to board.

When we got to our stateroom, our luggage was in front of our door, just like it was for other passengers. If memory serves, when the ship was finally ready to cast off, we were already three to four hours behind schedule. It was going on 11:00 p.m. Georgia and I went out to our balcony and watched our ship sail under one of New York City’s bridges. We swore the top of the ship was not going to clear the bottom of the bridge, then we both looked at one another as if to say, “I’m sure this captain has done this a hundred times. It must be safe.” We watched it safely go under the bridge and out to the open ocean. Then Georgia and I went into the stateroom and enjoyed the complimentary beverage that was given to all passengers.

While I don’t remember every single detail of this voyage, I shall now tell you a little bit about the ports of call. We visited Labadee, Haiti; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Freeport, Bahamas. What I think we did was go to the southern most port and work our way back north, but I’m straining my memory eight years now so I hope I’m not fibbing.

At one of the lovely ports, Georgia and I decided to go swimming with the dolphins. Now, I can’t swim to save my life. For insurance reasons, even the most avid swimmer was made to wear a safety vest. One of the park employees had to hold me while I kicked my feet, so that I could use both hands to pet the dolphin, and give it a little kiss. All of the sudden I saw Georgia’s eyes get big. I looked over and saw the person holding me up was swimming in front of me. I had one of those hey, wait a minute, moments. I thought to myself, “Hey, if you are in front of me, who is holding me up? I must be treading water all by myself.” And sure enough, I was. As soon as I realized it, I began to flounder like the Titanic. The guy came back over quickly and caught me.

At another port, Labadee, Haiti I believe, I went hog-wild with my souvenir buying. I wanted remembrances of my trip. Of course, everything was hand-crafted, and quite expensive. Looking at the items much later, Georgia and I both chuckled over the fact that they were probably not worth the money I paid. It was worth it as I had these reminders and do to this day.

Two highlights now from on-board ship. While neither Georgia nor I was big on dressing up for the formal dinners, we did do it once out of the two formal nights. I rented a tux from the shop, and Georgia looked elegant in her best outfit. We sat at a big table with many of our fellow passengers and enjoyed delicious food, wine, dessert, and coffee. We fit in as best as we could. All other times, we dined in leisure clothes, on our time schedule, at the venues on the promenade levels, cafes, the 50’s style diner, or our personal favorite, room service.

The other big on-ship highlight was the couple’s massage at the fitness center. Two words describe that: completely scrumptious. It was an hour-long session, being rubbed down and pampered from head to toe. We left feeling like a million bucks.

On the cuter side of the ship’s decor, in every elevator was a plaque on the floor with the number of days left in the voyage. Changing them every day must have been a lot of work. Other niceties on the ship included the clubs and our ultimate favorite place, the casino. Georgia, my hat’s off to you for your prowess on the slot machines.

As the ship approached Bayonne, New Jersey, we both knew that something magical was ending. I always expected to take another cruise one day, but we never did. The whole ten-day experience is something I will always treasure. Years later I found on the internet a webcam mounted to look over Voyager of the Sea‘s promenade deck. It instantly brought back the feeling of being on board.

Next Wednesday will be a personal day, and Rebecca has asked to do the blog entry on Thursday. On Friday or the following week, since a lot of my readers seem to be big into the Air Crash Investigation series, I will do another blog entry about that show. Until soonest, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

A bittersweet final visit to Godmother’s

Greetings, readers. This past Friday evening I drove over to my Godmother’s house one final time. Two of her three children were there in the midst of cleaning out the house, and I had asked if I could pick up a few things that I had given Godmother over the years; mostly pictures of my dad. We agreed that I should come over around 7:00 and that is exactly what I did. On the drive over though, a melancholy feeling came over me, because I knew it would be the last time in that house.

For years, I would be invited over for Sunday supper and holiday meals, and those memories would always be dear. In her final few years, however, Sunday visits became shorter and holiday meals were sometimes cancelled due to her illness. We of course understood. Even though she wasn’t always able to say it, you could tell that she appreciated any visit.

After parking in the driveway and closing the car door I stopped and took a deep breath. I then proceeded in through the garage and knocked on the kitchen door. Her son, Stanton, invited me in, and he, her daughter Rosalie, and I talked briefly about how all the packing and last minute chores were coming along. Even though there was still a lot of belongings in the house, it looked empty. That was weird. The first thing I noticed was the kitchen table was gone. One of the caregivers got that, for which I am happy.

After a few minutes of pleasantries and hugs, Stanton showed me a small box that they had put together for me, which I thought was a nice gesture. It contained all the pictures of my dad that I had given Godmother over the years, including two passports with pictures of him when he was very young, photographs used for the back covers of his books, and copies of his obituary. I was also told that a picture of me when I was a very small boy was being held for me by one of the caregivers. I’ll get that at a later date. I couldn’t have been more than four years old in that shot. It was one of a set of black and white pictures, that you used to get at a photo booth. Godmother loved that picture. She knew that both Mom and Dad loved me to pieces; so over the years I had given her snapshots of not only Dad but of me as well.

As the visit continued, I asked if I could take a walk around the place one more time, and of course the answer was yes. I slowly moved through every room of the downstairs and it reminded me of the time I left my parents house for the last time. I began to get a little bit emotional but I kept myself in control. While peeking in every bedroom, little memories of Godmother seemed to be in every corner. Old photos, a painting on the wall, the scent of the house which I had come to know so well.

The hardest room to go into was her back bedroom. Not only was the bed taken apart, but everything that the kids wanted to take was being stored there. For some strange reason that’s when it hit me. Godmother’s truly gone and I’m never coming back into this house. This is it.

I saw a radio that belonged to my father packed into one of the boxes. It crossed my mind to claim it, but it was already packed and I don’t have room in my apartment for it anyway, so I decided to let one of them enjoy it. I did take a photograph of my dad and his family when he was child that I had framed and had given Godmother. Soon it was time for me to leave. As I pulled out of the driveway, I said a little goodbye.

Goodbye dear Godmother. You will always be alive in my heart.

Until Friday, take care, enjoy life, and happy reading.

A childhood memory of when I would be head of the house when Dad was on trips

Greetings, readers. Last night as I was trying to get to sleep, my mind wandered back to my childhood. I had a happy memory of when I would take over my dad’s home office when he would go away on short trips. I was roughly 10 years old. I had no brothers or sisters, so when Dad would leave I felt like I wanted to be the man of the house. This is how I would go about accomplishing it.

Around 5:00 in the afternoon, I would get myself a soda and that would be my before-dinner “beer.” I would then sit in Dad’s chair in the living room and watch my favorite TV shows from there, instead of where I would normally sit, which was on the floor. During dinner, I would also sit at Dad’s chair at the table. Mom thought this behavior was cute, though nothing was ever said. She knew exactly what I was trying to do, though the only indication she gave me was a smile. The other big thing I would do is that at 7:00, my homework time, I would walk upstairs to Dad’s office and do my school work there, instead of at the kitchen table. Sometimes if I didn’t have much homework, I would uncover his manual typewriter. I would just start typing my thoughts for the day.

At 9:00 when they evening was over, I would come downstairs, see what Mom was up to, say goodnight and get ready for bed. I have very vivid and fond memories of what I considered taking over for Dad during those early years of my life. Honestly, as I dictate this to Rebecca, I can’t say for certain if I was practicing for real life or if I was just a kid pretending to be Dad. You must remember that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

When Dad would return from his trips though, I was just as glad to see him as he was to be home. As much as I enjoyed using his office, I gladly got back to my routine of doing homework at the kitchen table, snacking on graham crackers.

This behavior stopped around the age of say 13. Why it was so important those two or three years to mimic Dad I’m not quite sure. All I know is it always put a smile on my face. Perhaps it made me feel important.

To conclude this trip down memory lane from some 35 or 40 years ago, I enjoy thinking about my past. There are a lot of memories that I will carry with me until I pass on and while my entire childhood was not peaches and cream, being head of the house for a few days is always one of my happiest memories.

Until next week, have a great weekend, take care and happy reading.

….. But I can’t help falling in love with you

Greetings, readers. The other day I was sitting in Panera cafe having my morning coffee, when I heard a song over the stereo speaker which reminded me of a very happy memory from a few years ago. I was still married at the time and my wife Georgia and I were on a trip. I believe it was a dinner cruise. Every so often I get in a romantic mood. Mr. Old-Fashioned comes out to play. There was a wonderful band playing and the band leader was taking requests. I thought to myself, how cool would it be to request a song that Georgia and I could dance to?

I excused myself from the table and walked up to the area where the band was playing. I asked if they knew the Elvis Presley song “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” feeling relatively certain they did. When he said yes, I requested it and told him that I would bring my wife up to the dance floor.

I didn’t get that romantic very often. But the mood just struck me and I thought, let’s throw caution to the wind, as I kept my fingers crossed that she would want to dance in front of everybody.

There were obviously a few requests before mine because it took awhile for our song to be announced. Georgia knew I was up to something but didn’t know what. As the song started to play, I asked her for the dance and we enjoyed a very romantic few minutes. All eyes seemed to be on us.

When the song was over, we went back to our table and people told us how well we danced, and how cute we looked together. As I’ve stated before in my blog, music is a big part of my life. And I will always equate that song with that happy memory.

A year in my early life

Greetings, readers. I’m glad to see that WordPress is back up and running at full force. And I have a blog topic to share with you that I was thinking about last night. So here goes.

Usually my year begins in September. Now I know that sounds odd and is completely incorrect. However, let me explain. You see, as some of you might know, I have vacationed in the state of Maine since I was five years old – that was 1970. My two weeks at camp to me felt more like Christmas. It had that special feeling to it. Like when little children come downstairs and see that lit up Christmas tree.

Anyway. Come September the new school year would begin. New classmates, new friends, new teachers and books. And for the first couple of days everything would be wonderful. Then, of course, came the homework assignments and that first dreaded test. September still had that new feeling to it. But by the third week, friendships had been formed, cliques had been made and you were either accepted or you weren’t.

October. Leaves began changing colors. The temperature began to get a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter. Looking back on it now, October was one of my favorite months. I love Halloween. The last time I went trick or treating, I was fairly old for such an event and no costume you could buy from a store fit me. So I took my dad’s old grey raincoat, an old hat, and a toy machine gun that clearly did not look real, and I went as Al Capone. I still remember scaring the poor old lady in the house up the street. She screamed, slammed the door, and turned off the porch light. When I told my mother what had happened, she made me go apologize the next morning, which of course I did.

November. The trees are now either bare, or the few leaves that are still on the trees are mostly brown. It is cold, dreary, and the whole landscape begins to appear dead. Though football season was still in full swing, the first two weeks of November for me were usually depressing, because I enjoy warm weather, green grass, and trees in full foliage. I could not wait for Thanksgiving. Every year, my parents and I would sit in front of the television and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Having Cerebral Palsy, I had a devilishly hard time controlling my emotions, and even into my early teens, when Santa Claus passed by the Macy’s store on 34th street, signifying the beginning of the Christmas season, I got emotional. Am I embarrassed to say that now? No, because now I know what it was; it was simply what I mentioned – a weakness caused by a brain injury. Thanksgiving would be topped off with two great football games and a scrumptious dinner with turkey and all the trimmings made at home. Nothing like the holiday meals. : )

December brings Christmas. Yes, snow and cold is now fully entrenched and there shall be many months of it to come. More times than not I would stay inside warm and snug. Can you all say, “Joe is not a cold weather person.”? To get ready for my favorite holiday of the year, my folks and I would always choose one day to drive to K-Mart and allow me to push my own cart while they walked behind me, pretending not to see what I was buying them. Most years I actually saved up enough allowance money to get everybody something half-decent. One year I remember buying Pop a lighted replica of the Old Main building. I don’t think he know that it lit up. When I showed him, he smiled and kept it lit in his office for weeks – I guess until the bulb burned out.

Christmas music is especially important to me. When I would go to Christmas Eve service with Mom and Dad as a child, I would always delight in singing “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Hark! The Harold Angels Sing,” and “Silent Night.” When the Christmas service was almost over the very last hymn was “Silent Night, Holy Night.” One of my most cherished childhood memories was of the lights dimming in the church, everyone taking their candles and lighting them and singing that beautiful song. I was always afraid that I was going to drip wax on myself, scream, drop the candle, and set the church on fire. Luckily that never happened. When the song was over and the lights would come up again, it would be midnight and Christmas morning. *

December 31st going into New Year’s morning is truly my favorite time of year, folks. I remember sitting in the living room watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s show, sipping either Champagne or sparkling grape juice, while ringing in the new year with hugs, kisses, and my mother’s un-patented, traditional, Happy New Year’s shout on the front porch, followed by a whooping yell.

Then came the down time. After all the college bowl games were over in January came the long winter. Complete with cold, snow, and ice. Today it doesn’t seem to snow as much here in central Pennsylvania as it did in the 70s and 80s. Throughout the rest of the winter my friend David and I would either listen to records or play a short game of Nerf football outside. I certainly didn’t like being cold and I don’t think he did either. Now let’s jump to early Spring.

April. Hooray, hooray. It’s the beginning of baseball season. That truly is my favorite sport. With the boys of summer back, this time of year also brings the Crocuses, the fresh green buds on the trees, and the smell of spring. To me winter has no smell. It smells dead. Also the Easter holiday rolls around. All the men, women, and children would arrive at the church that we would go to in their Easter best. Little boys in suits and ties, looking miserable, and little girls in dresses, white stockings, black shoes, and ribbons in their hair. I must admit somehow I think the little girls liked to dress up for Easter.

May and June. The last couple months of school had finally arrived. Projects were beginning to wind down and everyone was excited about the summer to come. Kids started talking about where they would go on vacation. Some teachers eased up on homework just a bit and during my elementary years, we could all finally go back outside for recess. My favorite game was kickball. I was fairly good at it and only once did I hit someone with the ball so hard that it hurt him. I felt terrible. I remember he said something like, “Am I bleeding?” I answered, “No.” And he told me to forget it; no harm, no foul. The last day of school was always more or less of a joke. A formality. There was not going to be any homework, there would be no tests. In my early years of schooling, we actually had parties. In junior high and high school, we might watch a film or all hang out in the auditorium and reminisce about the year that was.

July brought my birthday. Some years, Mom would take me swimming to the local pool. If there was a carnival in town, we might attend that. But most years it was steaks on the grill, Hires root beer, and lots of happy memories with the neighborhood kids, playing Wiffle ball, lawn darts, and Nerf football.

And then, lo and behold, August would roll around once more. It would be my second New Year, as it would be time to go back to camp and recharge my batteries for another year. I would count down the days until we packed up the car and left for Maine.

Hopefully this longer than usual post has made up for a few days that I did not post anything. If any of you want to share your memories of childhood, religious celebrations, school, or anything else, please feel free to do so in the comments. As always, take care and happy reading.

*The paragraph on Christmas music came from the earlier blog post The importance of music in my life, from May 10, 2012. It said what I wanted to say for this piece so well that I copied and pasted it.

: ) Reconnecting with friends : )

Greetings, readers. Last evening I had an opportunity to reconnect with a good friend of mine from years gone by. Although our chat was only about ten minutes in length, I savored every second. I’m fairly certain that she did too.

In my lifetime, I have reconnected with friends on a number of occasions; Rebecca, my writing assistant, for example. I’ve known Rebecca since high school. When I was married in the mid-2000s, contacting other women was taboo. So that, along with other reasons, put Rebecca and my friendship on the shelf. I should never have let that happen.

About a year or so ago, I ran into a friend of mine at our local Denny’s who recognized me immediately. I, of course, knew her. I’m going to keep names out of this blog entry, but if she sees my Facebook update and reads this, she’ll probably know that she is the person to whom I am referring. I told her that back in junior high and high school I was a shy kid. I also told her that now I have the confidence to say that she was a pretty girl and is a beautiful woman.

As far as my best buddy David is concerned, we never really lost touch, but there was a point in our friendship when he went to a prep school out of the area and our childhood everyday meetings came to a screeching halt. I adjusted and it made seeing him again that much more special. I’m certain that this is not the last time that an old friend will find me or I will find them.

Yes, readers, if you have an opportunity to reconnect with a good friend or a past love who you are in good stead with, I urge you to do so. It tends to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend and happy reading.

The importance of music in my life

Greetings, readers. Yesterday, on three hours sleep, I tried to get as much editing done on the project as I could. As it turned out, I had to turn it over to Rebecca and basically pass out. That actually worked well, she said, for Rebecca was quickly scanning through the draft from top to bottom to find numbers, such as times of day, in digits or spelled out, so we could make everything consistent in the book. All times in digits, numbers under a hundred spelled out. Mostly a one person job.

Now on to today’s topic. There is an on-line service which I subscribe to through my PS3, called Music Unlimited. Here, you can search for songs or artists, and boy, have I found some “blasts from my past.” Music has always been a humongous part of my life. As a child, with my parents, traveling in Europe, I remember my old black cassette recorder and playing a tape of German folk songs, one of which was called, “Mein Gott, Walther.” It was recorded live in what sounded like a coffee house or small bar. Just a handful of people. Though I know little German, to me it was still funny because everyone else was laughing hysterically.

Around the age of ten or so, which would make it 1975, I did like the Jackson 5. I owned at least six or seven of their albums. Now I was, and still am, the kind of person who will select an album or a tape and play it for a week or two and then switch. Jackson 5 songs such as “Goin’ Back to Indiana,” “Dancing Machine,” and “Skywriter” were big favorites of mine. I was ten, my voice hadn’t cracked yet, and I could hit the notes.

Also that year my friend and next door neighbor hooked me on a group called KISS. Alive! and Hotter Than Hell were two of my early favorite albums from the band.

Although most songs that I have equated to different times in my life have been pleasant, some songs such as “Forever,” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” were girlfriend songs. Usually when one breaks up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, not only does the song lose its special meaning, but also may be emotionally difficult to listen to. As the years pass, however, wounds heal and there really are only a handful of songs which I cannot listen to. I would say perhaps five total.

Thanks to Music Unlimited, I have found such American classics as the Kiki Dee Band’s “I’ve Got the Music in Me,” “Yell Help” from Elton John, and some classical favorites such as Mozart’s “Symphony No. 29,” and “Symphony No. 33.”

Christmas music is especially important to me. When I would go to Christmas Eve service with Mom and Dad as a child, I would always delight in singing “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Hark! The Harold Angels Sing,” and “Silent Night.” When the Christmas service was almost over the very last hymn was “Silent Night, Holy Night.” One of my most cherished childhood memories was of the lights dimming in the church, everyone taking their candles and lighting them and singing that beautiful song. I was always afraid that I was going to drip wax on myself, scream, drop the candle, and set the church on fire. Luckily that never happened. When the song was over and the lights would come up again, it would be midnight and Christmas morning.

Yes, music has played a big part in my life. From associating Bach and Mozart to my father, early KISS to my early childhood, or music on the jukebox list on my favorite PlayStation game, I’m always eager to make a connection to tunes.