Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An At Home Neil Diamond Concert



You are the sun.
I am the moon.
You are the words.
I am the tune.
Play me

I had myself a Neil Diamond concert today while I did some mindless household chores. I hadn’t listened to him singing his songs in a long time.

The memories flooded into my being. The music took me on a run of my life from the time I was about twenty-two.

The first time I saw him was at the Anaheim Convention Center. His newest song was “Cracklin’ Rosie.” Linda Ronstadt opened for him.

There were the concerts at the wonderful outdoor Greek Theater in LA, of course, both the ones we bought tickets for and the one at which we decided to be “Tree People.” Those Tree People always seemed to be having so much fun! Well, we had fun, too, naturally, but I was so beaten up that I could hardly move the next day and the clothes we wore were trashed.
I can’t hear “Brother Love’s Traveling Show” without thinking of myself standing, totally lost, in the forest that surrounds the Greek, wondering which way was out, but watching Neil down there with that one arm raised in the air.

I needn’t have worried about finding my way back to the fence. A kindly security guard escorted me back over.

We had an eight track tape of his called “Velvet Gloves and Spit” on a trip to Oklahoma one summer when the kids were little. We played it so many times that the kids knew all of the songs by heart; even that one about going on a family cruise, “You with your grass, Mom and Dad with their booze. la la la”
I have never seen that particular album since, but it has some great songs on it; “Coldwater Morning,” and “Juliet.” There was also a song that had a verse that I could SO identify with:

“The rich has a maid so she takes all her kids to the zoo.
The poor has no maid so she packs up her kids and goes too.”

Yep. Well, not the zoo so much, but to the beach.

I remembered standing outside in the aftermath of an Oklahoma ice storm, the January my father died. I sang softly to myself;
“And each one there had one thing to share.
They had sweated beneath the same sun,
looked up in wonder at the same moon,
and wept when it was all done for being done too soon.”

My daddy was fifty-two.

I remember the summer of “Sweet Caroline.” My sister Barbie came out to stay with us in California and I worked with the hub in an auction house. I got to dress up and go out where grown-up people were three nights a week and she got to stay home with the babies. I wore my wiglet, I believe. I was pretty sure I was a hot mama. Perhaps that’s where I got that one “points” that the social security people keep telling me I have.

When I heard “Play Me,” I thought of sitting at my kitchen table with my grandmother Mimi one summer. I was making curtains for Rob’s room and she was doing her nails. She told me that this is how a proper southern lady spends an afternoon. She was gently scolding me for digging in the garden and cleaning the oven, and other improper behavior I had engaged in earlier.

Then she suddenly said, “ ‘Brang?’ Did he just say ‘songs she brang to me’?”
Mimi didn’t cotton to poetic license.

I taught my first truly culturally diverse class, full of first generation immigrants from thirteen different countries to sing, “Coming to America.” They sang it with such joy and animation!

Many years later, I taught another class to sing, “Childsong” from Tap Root Manuscript.

“Stones,”
“Until It’s Time for You to Go,”
“Both Sides Now”
“The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind”

All the MEs that I have been through all these years!

The me up there with the "Wiglet?"
She can be laid to rest.
What were we thinking!!!??
P.S. I made that white dress I had on.

8 comments:

Blondie's Journal said...

Excellent. Excellent. Excellent!!

You got it all, girl. Keep writing...

xoxo
Jane

drollgirl said...

i love neil diamond! i recently bought his greatest hits cd and that thing has gotten me through many, many hours of commuting! and boy do i belt it out with him! love his stuff!

Lori E said...

Oh your wiglet has nothing on my sister's do from that time. Oy. She could have been a country singer just the merits of her hairdo.
Yes what were you guys thinking?

mbkatc230 said...

Oh I love this post! Isn't it amazing how music can take you instantly back to a place or time you hadn't thought about in years? I love your description of your students singing "Coming to America". What a priceless memory. Beautiful post Lynn. Kathy (ps - love the wiglet, I'd tried really really hard to forget those -thanks)

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

i love neil diamond. totally plutonic but i love him. i am from the love on the rocks era

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Isn't it wonderful hoe muc=sic can bring back memories both sweet and sorrowful in a flash?

Neil Diamond is a Brooklyn boy and I know the apartment building where he grew up. His Mom wanted him to become a dentist!

Love the wiglit..I had one too! So mod!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I should delete that messy comment but I hope you got the neaning of it!

Nancy @ La Chambre Rose said...

Great haircut! And, I was not the same age, but I started making my own dresses very young. We finished one the night before my father was hit by a drunk driver, he was 33.

Love your stories. So many great memories.

Ah, Lynn, NO, NOPE, NADA on the stores here. Michaels? I doubt in Vermont, never heard of it here. But, I don't get out much. Joann's, small and 35 miles away. And, alas, even a coupon won't help.