Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Memories - On The Radio...

We had no TV. Florence was worried we wouldn't practice our violins if there was a TV in the house. Instead, we had lots of books, two record players, a small but substantial record collection and many, many radios. There were radios in the kitchen, living room, their bedroom and ours. There may have been even one in the bathroom.

Books were gotten at the library, but records were rare purchases. Besides, I was too little to travel to places that might have had record stores. And even if there had been one in the neighborhood, I had no money, my skill at stealing cash from my father to come much later. So if there was a song I wanted to hear, I'd have to wait to hear it on the radio.

So I clung to the little radio by my bed. Like some of my favorite books it was a portal out, even if I couldn't leave. Late at night it pressed to my ear I'd tune that dial so carefully, bring in WABC AM, my favorite station and wait as long as I could stay awake for the song I needed to hear.

And one summer The Edwin Hawkin Singers sang Oh Happy Day. And night after night I waited to hear a song about something so far from any thing I could recognize, yet singing something I heard in my heart, what I thought was a sound of joy and hope. Years later, like last night, in reading the lyrics I wonder how a little kid's brain could have understood the deeper lesson of watching, fighting and praying.


He taught me how
He taught me
Taught me how to watch
He taught me how to watch
and fight and pray
fight and pray
yes, fight and pray

And he'll rejoice
and He'll, and He'll
rejoice in things we say
and He'll rejoice in things we say
things we say
yes, things we say

Oh happy day, Oh happy day
Oh happy day, Oh happy day
Oh happy day
Oh happy day