My kids heard me sing it at a certain time. As most mothers do, when driving and coming to a sudden stop, my right arm would fling out to protect the child in the front seat. We even do it if he or she happens to be in the back seat. It's a reflex. I like to call it perpetual mother love because sometimes I still do it no matter who's sitting there.
There's a part two in our family history about this song. Katy, our youngest (now a mother of 6), was in college. She called home one evening almost breathless, "Mom! Guess what! Hang on Sloopy is a REAL song. . .it just came on the radio. I thought you made it up!" Wish I had the royalties.
I remember my mother saying things that I Iater realized were not original with her. She'd refer to Timbuktu and Kalamazoo. Imagine my shock to learn in geography class they were actual cities, not places my mother was gonna send me to if I kept misbehaving!
After a spanking, she'd threaten, "And that's just a sample of what you'll get if you do it again!" So when the lady at the grocery once offered me a free sample, I ran in terror!
Long hours in the car would often be spent playing the Alphabet Game as we searched our side for A through Z. Wish I'd found this sign. I'd have beat Bert and Ricky more!
Mothers. Each one unique. Yet we're similar in so many ways. Our idiosyncrasies which often irritate our kids in their youth, morph into funny family stories when they grow up. Then when our mothers die, those same things become almost sacred.
Mama's in heaven. I wouldn't wish for her to be back here. But sometimes I wish I could be with her there! I look in the mirror and see her in me sometimes too. It's a good thing. Now.
A simple phrase, a personal habit, a little song. I wish I could hear Mama sing again. She had a stroke in her final years when I recorded this Valentine message and song for my brothers. Her once strong alto voice quavered and grew deep, but is still beautiful to our ears. This little recording now occupies that sacred place in our hearts. It's filled with laughter as I played for her to sing and tried to use sign language to cue her the words. She gets tickled watching my gestures so music and laughter mingled. . .just like our life!
You probably smile at this. Me too. But I also cry. Mingled.