On Memory, Cats, and Amounting to Something

This evening Cooter and I headed up to Macon to join Aub for a special performance at Wesleyan.  It was something I really wanted to see, and Cooter really wanted to see his sister.  Our Princess had swim practice, so she and the Fella were off in that direction.

As we rode up there, I listened to the radio while Cooter read his new historical “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.  I was just listening and thinking, you know, so not really listening, until this song came on.

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How appropriate that this song stirred up so many memories for me.

How many children did my Daddy put to sleep, sitting there with him in the old burnt orange (that used to be a thing okay) recliner, while watching Cats?  Cooter was one of them.  I asked him if he remembered the song, almost willing him to.  He didn’t, and now I laugh as I realize why.  The song is not in the first third of the musical, I don’t think, so of course he doesn’t remember it.  He was never awake for it.

That Barbra Streisand sang this version was also interesting.  I remember being quite young and hearing admiration and respect in Mama and Daddy’s tones as they mentioned that Ms. Streisand refused to get plastic surgery.  I found that all intriguing, as it was the first I learned that people had the option of not accepting their looks and changing them.  I also learned at that early age that being yourself was the best way to be.  Never mind that they thought she was extremely talented, and then there was the fact that she had been in a movie with Robert Redford.  Which was really cool, because Robert Redford.

Despite the fact that I grew up with folks who respected and admired Barbra Streisand’s gift, I was thinking as I listened that there was something missing.  It just wasn’t–perfect.

What was it?

And then it hit me–

a cat costume.

Well, in a manner of speaking anyway.  Elaine Page and Veerle Casteleyn, the actresses who played Grizabella and Jemima in the recorded version, were also talented.  But I think their performance was amazing–flawless even.  More so than the very talented Barbra Streisand?

Yes.

Because not only were they singing, they were also acting while they were singing.  It took even more energy and effort to perform this powerful song than merely singing it on stage or in a recording studio.  They had their hearts wrapped around that song and its meaning, and vice versa.

I’m so impressed.

Daddy always was too. On more than one occasion, he commented on how young the actress who played Jemima was.  While he liked both actresses, he was almost awestruck by the younger one.

But then he always was one to see potential in someone and want to see them do their best and “amount to something.”

Tonight I’m thankful for the memory of Memory.  And Cats.  And of my Daddy.  And that old recliner.  I still have a button from it tucked away.  To remind me of the color as the memories begin to fade, just as the chair had begun to do.  I am grateful that they appreciated good music and good people.  And that they saw hope and promise in those around them and were always encouraging.  Most of all I’m thankful for the tears that still come when I hear this song.  From missing the ones I love and from remembering those sweet, sleepy babies curled up at their Cap’s side, as he watched and listened to the rest of the movie, saving up his own memories as they dreamed.

May this be a day of joy-filled memory making.

Love to all.

 

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