Ever hear a song that throws you back in time? One moment you’re sitting there minding your own business, maybe writing something, enjoying food with a friend, or even walking through a store when that familiar tune begins to play. Your head involuntarily tilts just a bit to the side as if your brain itself is trying to get a better listen.
And then -BAM- it hits you
Your brain has figured out what it’s hearing and it starts to flood your consciousness with long ago memories. Deadline at noon? Your friend talking to you over the table? That box of macaroni in your hand? SORRY LADY, those things will have to wait. Your brain has a very important message for you… about… bathrobes and rocking chairs? You shrug and go along with the sudden and unexpected trip down memory lane. Which is good because your brain wasn’t really about to take no for an answer. 🙂
Today’s trip down memory lane is brought to you by The Beatles, Yellow Submarine.
The sun has set and the living room curtains are drawn shut. A little girl drags a wooden rocking chair across a carpeted room, settling in front of a delicately carved credenza with a glass top. She gives the chair a sample rock and then drags the chair a few inches closer to the credenza. Perfect. She stands on tiptoe and very deliberately pushes the play button of a black stereo on the center of the delicately carved credenza. She softly gasps and scurries to crawl into the rocking chair. The music begins to play and the little girl smiles widely. She pulls her bathrobe tightly around her and closes her eyes as the rocking chair bobs along.
For the life of me, I have never been able to figure out why I have such a strong memory tied to that particular song. It could have been that I was interested in submarines (wouldn’t have been my strangest interest). Or it could have been my deep idolization of my dad since he was the one who first played the Beatles for me. Or, perhaps it was just that the song was always intended to be a children’s song and my little self was enjoying it as it had been intended. I don’t really know.
What I do know is, oddly enough, my childhood was full of tales of oceanic wonder. Those tales were not limited to musical styling either. Outside of school we’d often go feed the ducks or visit the aquarium. We took day trips to lake beaches. At bed time my grandmother used to read to us from Jules Verne novels. When we tired of those she made up her own stories about “Captain Nemo”. I’m pretty sure 3 yr old me assumed my grandmother was the one who had written 20,000 leagues under the sea and that Mr. Jules Verne had just been nice enough to turn it into a book for her.
As I got older I developed a fascination for sea creatures and mermaids. I memorized all of The Little Mermaid songs and would wish on shooting stars that I could meet the little mermaid and be turned into a mermaid just like her. In school I read about dolphins, pirates, and great sea voyages. I absolutely loved learning about Thanksgiving and the three iconic ships that delivered the pilgrims. Even things like scurvy intrigued me. As did squid and sharks (the hammerhead was my favorite). I just couldn’t seem to get enough of the strange world that existed within and around the water that makes up so much of our planet.
Last year my husband and I went LA and we took a detour to the Santa Monica Pier. That was a place I had dreamed of going to for a very long time (a shout out to fellow Savage Garden listeners). This summer we unknowingly?, subconsciously? continued the tradition of satiating my waterlust. We spent a week in Seattle. We took a boat tour, spent afternoons at an international [water airport] and saw wild Jellyfish. Did you know there are just jellyfish… in the water??! Just blurbing about as jellyfish do. I am so thankful to my husband for spending literally hours staring into that murky water just so I could have “just one more minute” with the jellyfish. He’s a good sport.
Great! You say. How wonderful! But why is this weird? What makes these things so odd?
You see, for all watery fun of my childhood, I had NEVER seen the ocean before. Never. I had never seen jellyfish or anything like that before. Aside from trips to the beach and a school kayaking trip at a nature preserve, my life was lived solely on the land. I’ve never even learned to swim.
Perhaps that is why I remember the song so fondly.
As we live a life of ease (A life of ease)
Everyone of us (Everyone of us) has all we need (Has all we need)
Sky of blue (Sky of blue) and sea of green (Sea of green)
In our yellow (In our yellow) submarine (Submarine, ha, ha)