Tag Archives: showtunes

24. Garage Band

My dad was an appliance repairman, but before that he was a car mechanic – “the best damned speedometer repairman in Elgin” I heard people say (or perhaps it was just him saying it).

He kept us afloat by taking side jobs – cars or appliances and worked in the two car garage he’d built for that purpose. The only cars that went in that garage were other people’s cars being fixed, and there were times that the entire space was empty, except for a refrigerator or air conditioner. Those times I would sneak out to the garage.

I’d set up my violin stand, remove the top part that holds sheet music, and start singing into my “microphone”. It was better than a shower because your voice had farther to go, but nothing to cushion it.

My favorite two songs to sing were from Mary Poppins.

I’d first sing the Nanny Song.

…If you don’t scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us…
We won’t hide your spectacles so you can’t see.
Put toads in your bed or pepper in your tea..

Hurry Nanny!
Many thanks sincerely,
Jane and Michael Banks.

Then I’d sing Sister Suffragette:

We’re clearly soldiers in petticoats
And dauntless crusader for women’s votes
Though we adore men individually
We agree that as a group they’re rather stupid

Cast of the shackles of yesterday
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray
Our daughter’s daughters will adore us
And they’ll sing in grateful chorus
“Well done, sister suffragette”

(wow! Elsa Lancaster was in that movie — the things I learn on YouTube)

I also used to bellow out poems in that garage. If anyone saw me, they would have fallen over laughing so hard, I’m sure. I was serious. But I also had/have a tin ear. So, while the the words may have been sung with feeling, the tune would not have been recognizable.

6. There’s No Place Like Home

Each year, first around Christmastime then maybe at Eastertime, I eagerly awaited the annual broadcast of The Wizard of Oz. Even before we had a color TV I loved this movie. I hid my eyes when the Wicked Witch of the West first appeared in the forest, cried when Dorothy had to say goodbye to her new friends, and laughed through my tears when she was safely home again. My dad used to make fun of my crying each year because, as he pointed out, I’d seen it enough times to know the ending.

When I was in elementary school most of the “walkers” went home for lunch. We had an hour to walk home, eat lunch and walk back. My dad sometimes came home for lunch too, and on one of those lunchtimes, my dad brought me a large, flat, square paper bag. Inside was the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz. The album cover opened like a book, and inside were scenes from the movie. I may have misremembered the time of day Dad brought this gift, but I won’t ever misremember my feeling of joy and excitement. Now I could experience the Wizard of Oz every day of the year if I wanted to.

Each lunchtime after I got the record, I’d finish eating my toasted cheese sandwich and bowl of tomato soup and run into the living room to put the record on the turntable. I always began with the first side of the album and by the time that was over, it was time to head back to school, so I learned the songs and words to the first half of the Wizard of Oz by heart. Often the sun would shine though the large multi-paned window on the south side of the house and those days I pretended the sunshine on the golden carpet was the yellow brick road and I’d skip around the path until I was worn out.

To this day I remember all the words (that were on the album) up to the poppy field scene. I annoy friends and family by quoting from the movie and reciting the words when we watch it (which is rarely these days).

It was a pure act of love that my father brought this gift to me. He was not a fan of the movie and didn’t necessarily like the music, but he knew how much I did and knew how much it would mean to me. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, and luxuries like this were somewhat rare, especially for a middle-of-the-year for-no-particular-reason kind of gift.

Deleted Jitterbug Scene – see link for explanation. Another user has made a series of videos of Wizard of Oz synchronized with Dark Side of the Moon)

Images stolen from an ebay site. If you own them and want me to take them down, please leave a comment.