dimensions of the past

For her, the past only has two dimensions; there is no depth of remembrance. The only television that has any meaning for her are the old black and white movies — Bing Crosby, Ginger Rogers, Merle Oberon, David Niven… We listen to the “Easy Listening” channel on cable television. She likes to watch the changing mountain and meadow scenes that they show as the music goes on and on. Two dimensions are so much easier to understand than the complexities of the three dimensional world. Too many ways to look at the same thing. She says “I don’t understand,” a lot.
The Easy LIstening channel plays a lot of the old songs that trigger my own black and white memories: lying in bed with asthma playing with my Deanna Durbin paper dolls while the radio plays “It’s a good day for singing a song…”. I design, draw, and color and cut out all kinds of additional outfits for Deanna and the radio plays “the bells are ringing for me and my gal.” In my box of “cut-outs” (which is what we called those “paper dolls,” )I had some other favorites: Veronica Lake, Betty Grable, along with clothes I created for them as well.
The arrival of those three-dimensional Barbie dolls meant the end of the glamorous paper replicas of real live pin-up girls. It also meant the end of little girls being able to create their own clothing designs for those two-dimensional cut-outs to wear. You had to buy clothes for Barbie and her friends. Unless, of course, your mother could sew or knit. Which I could, so my daughter’s Barbie had quite a wardrobe. It just was so much more complicated, having that thrid dimension to deal with.

“When the red, red robin comes bob bob bobbin along, along. There’s be no more sobbin….”

My memories are triggered more and more by smells. I planted lilies of the valley, which have come up in scented white splendor. I hold the belled sprig under my nose and suddenly I am 11 years old and wearing that pale green long taffeta dress and carrying a bouquet of lilies of the valley in the May Day procession: “Oh Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today….”
Simple melodies. Simple lyrics. Simple times. Whole lives ahead of us.
I often make up simple songs for my mother — improvise on the spot idiotic arias that I sing in in a falsetto voice because it makes her smile. “Get up, get up. It’s time to eat. Move your butt and land on your feet. The coffee’s ready; it’s way past dawn. Get up, get up before the day’s gone.” I dance her to the breakfast table.
“You’re my mother, she says.”

Forget your troubles c’mon get happy,
you better chase all your cares away.
Shout hallejulah c’mon get happy
get ready for the judgement day.
the sun is shinin c’mon get happy,
the lord is waitin to take your hand.
shout hallejulah c’mon get happy,
we’re going to the promise land
We’re headin across the river to
wash your sins away in the tide.
it’s all so peaceful on the other side.
Forget your troubles c’mon get happy,
you better chase all your cares away.
shout hallejulah c’mon get happy,
get ready for the judgement day.
Forget your troubles c’mon get happy
chase ya cares away.
hallelu get happy,
before the judgement day.
The sun is shinin c’mon get happy,
the lord is waitin to take your hand.
shout hallejulah c’mon get happy,
we’re gunna be goin to the promise land.
were headin cross the river,
wash you’re sins away in the tide.
it’s quiet and peaceful on the other side.
forget your troubles get happy,
your cares fly away.
shout hallejulah get happy get ready for your judgement day.
c’mon get happy,
chase your cares away.
shout hallejulah cmon get happy,
get ready for the judgment day
The sun is shining c’mon get happy,
lord is waiting to take your hand.
hallejulah c’mon get happy,
we’re going to the promise land.
headin ‘cross the river,
throw your sins away in the tide.
it’s all so peaceful on the other side-
shout hallelujah c’mon get happy,
ya better chase all your cares away.
shout hallejulah c’mon get happy,
get ready-get ready-get ready,
for the judgment day.

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