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Just Life: The human jukebox

March 6, 2012

My husband told me that I remind him of a jukebox. 

He says that he can say a few words to me and voila! My brain somehow pulls out a song that goes along with the sentence or words he just said out loud. 
 
Music has always been a part of my life. Usually when folks refer to something that has “always” been a part of their life they really mean since they were kids or teens or young adults. Not me. Music has REALLY been a part of me since I was conceived.
 
My mother told me that when I was in her belly she would listen to the fairly new sounds of rock and roll while she was driving and when she was cleaning the house or cooking in the kitchen she would add classical music or the Latin sounds to her musical tastes. 
 
I can picture her now: Her belly swollen with me inside, she’s fixing my dad his favorite dinner while the sounds of Bobby Darin singing, “Mack The Knife,” the Platters singing, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” or Mozart waft through the air, making their debut into my newly-forming brain. 
 
When I was five or six, we lived in Reseda and my parents had a den attached to the back of the house. They would play their 45s or 78s or their eight-track tapes after they thought us kids were asleep. I remember a few nights when I would hear the music coming from the back part of the house and on the auspice of pretending that I was thirsty or had a bad dream, I wandered into the den and loitered as long as I could before I was marched back into the bedroom I shared with my younger sister. 
 
In the late 60s and early 70s, my mother fell in love with Sergio Mendez and Brazil ’66 and Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass. Because of that I was probably the only kid at Vanalden Elementary School in Reseda who knew all the words to “The Look Of Love,” “Scarborough Fair,” and “This Guy’s In Love With You.” 
 
When I was about nine or 10, my folks took us camping to the Kern River and that is when I was introduced to a real jukebox. Tired of hot dogs roasting over an open fire, my mom suggested that we go to town one night to eat. We walked into the restaurant and right next to the front door was a jukebox. 
 
I may have mentioned in a previous column that I played “I’m Henry the Eighth” and “What’s New Pussycat” over and over again until dad stopped handing out the nickels, but I do remember asking for a record player when we got back home. 
 
For my 11th birthday, I got a 45-player along with a few 45s. I know I had an entire collection by the time I was in my teens. The ones I remember playing over and over at home were songs by Led Zeppelin and Carly Simon. The Raiders, The Rolling Stones and John Denver were also a part of my music library.
 
I buried a Fleetwood Mac album in the time capsule at my high school. I sang with bands in college, promoted bands in college, and have been working in the music industry since 1984. I currently work at a radio station. 
 
So yes, I have had music around me my entire life and because of that, I know a whole lotta songs.
 
When I overheard my husband telling some friends of ours that he was married to a walking, talking and breathing jukebox, I had to chuckle. Just to prove it, one of the friends said a few words and of course, I found a song that went with the words. It just popped into my head.
 
There is, however, a big difference between a jukebox and me. In order to listen to music coming from a jukebox you have to feed it money. If I sing something out-of-the-blue I don’t have to be fed anything; you just have to throw a few words in my direction and maybe I’ll come up with a song. Another difference between a jukebox and me is that I don’t pick the songs—the songs pick me. 
 
Maybe that comment from my husband was his way of saying that by marrying me he got more than he bargained for. Not only is he married to a walking iPod, but he also married into menopause and that, my dear readers, will be an entirely different column. 
 
Stacey Powells is a local writer and radio host. She hosts the Exhausted Parent Network Radio Show every Thursday night at 6 p.m. on KMMT. She can be reached at stacey@exhaustedparent.com. For more of her work, visit www.exhaustedparent.com. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of the Mammoth Times.
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