I saw myself as the Sunday school girl
who focused on the “Happy Texts,”
because it helped me “keep the faith.”
In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,
I saw myself in Francie Nolan—
that lies weren’t lies if they were written as stories.
In The Wizard of Oz,
I saw myself as Dorothy—
who fell asleep to dreams
In The Sound of Music,
I saw myself as Liesl von Trapp,
who saw the greatness of her country
In Kitty Foyle,
I saw myself as “that sassy Mick”—
once in love with an unattainable man.
In Elmer Gantry,
I saw myself as Sister Sharon Falconer—
whose faith was strong,
even as her love for a man made her weak.
In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,
I saw myself as Milly,
who tried to smooth out a rough-hewn man.
In Gone with the Wind,
I saw myself as Scarlett O’Hara—
who proved that strength and tenacity
could save it all.
Classic movies have always been
my happy distraction,
for in them,
I saw the parallels of my own life,
and though their pain wasn’t my pain,
their joys were my joys.
Singing has always been one of my favorite things to do in the car (when I’m not listening to talk radio) and in church; so naturally, when I had a child, I wanted to sing to her, but not always old country tunes or church hymns (though we do the latter on Sunday night after I read to her from the children’s Bible). I loved “Wee Sing” as a kid, because kids sang the songs, and the lyrics and melodies were easy to remember. Whenever my family watched the Olympics, I loved listening to the different anthems, and chorus was one of my favorite classes in high school (even though the teacher asked me to please lip sync during performances). When I was a little girl, “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” were two of my favorite movies, and part of that was because of the music. Some movies like “Pocahontas” and “Rent” were only good for their singles. Music in movies is like poetry in motion (pardon the cliché), and I’ve found many greats in the motion pictures. How different would “The Graduate” have been without that awesome soundtrack?
There is just something about music that stirs the soul, and though I am hardly musically inclined (a sheet of music is like an unreadable map to me), I love it, and I wanted to instill in my daughter a love for it, too (it might even help her in math later, so I’ve heard).
- “The Wee Cooper of Fife” (the song the children in the schoolhouse are singing in “The Birds”).
- “Tammy” (from “Tammy and the Bachelor”, with Debbie Reynolds; though I would say this song is more appropriate for a little girl).
- “Early One Morning” (the first couple of lines of this song were sung by Pollyanna and Nancy when they were delivering calves foot jelly to the poor, but those two lines stuck with me and I googled the song), finding this wonderful link so I could hear the entire melody (I had to go to a separate site to find the lyrics): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OAyS8OK9J4
- “Que Sera Sera” (the classic Doris Day song, from “The Man Who Knew Too Much”). This is a very sweet song. The refrain of “Skedaddle Skidoo” (also sung by Doris Day in “The Tunnel of Love”) is cute, too.
- “Popcorn Popping” was a song I learned when I served a calling in the nursery when I was LDS. It’s great because it has fingerplays to accompany the words.
- In the 1944 WWII film, “Since You Went Away”, two young lovebirds are walking through a farm, singing, “Oh, my darling Clementine”. When I looked up the actual “campfire” song, I was surprised at some of the lyrics, but from Mother Goose (like the “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” who whipped her children, which is considered child abuse today) to Stephen Foster (whose songs are just all in fun and were written in a very different time), you’re going to run into some objectionable words and phrases.
- HooplaKidz on YouTube is great (and free).
- The soundtrack from “The Sound of Music”. My parents bought my daughter a xylophone, and it’s great for demonstrating “Do Re Mi”. I often love to incorporate many of Hannah’s “favorite things” (Oprah and Maria von Trapp aren’t the only ones!) into the song.
- Christmas songs! “Away in a Manger” is like a lullaby. I like both the secular and the religious, though I only sing the secular at Christmastime. (Christmas is in December; Jesus is for all seasons.)
- http://www.theteachersguide.com/ChildrensSongs.htm. Great site for lyrics, but I have to go to YouTube to get the melody. Who ever knew there were so many verses to “London Bridge”? I made up sign language for every verse, which has been terribly fun. My daughter bounces and claps whenever I start a song with a dance of the arms and hands.