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JUST A THOUGHT - Music Makes The World Go 'Round!
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You might say that music shapes our lives or is it actually that our lives shape music? What is happening in the world at the time vibrates through a song writer's mind as they try to please us by touching us with their songs.

I remember events in my life as being defined by music that was played on the radio. As a small child, my memories are filled with music playing throughout our house every day due to my mother's love of the pleasantries of present day masterpieces. She also was a self-taught honky tonk player on the piano and entertained us with her talented fingers. To this day when I hear Cole Porter songs or the old country western style songs with yodelers like "I'm an Old Cowhand" I am happily reminded of those times.

While in high school, we jitter bugged our brains out to records that played swing music by the big bands such as Harry James, Harry Karle and Benny Goodman. Frank Sinatra made girls swoon. I was skeptical and didn't know if I thought that he was that cute. He was skinny as daylight but did have a great voice. During World War II, as our young boys went off to fight, songs like "I'll be seeing you" played over and over on the radio. The song, "I'll be home for Christmas" also brings me back to that time with a feeling of sadness mixed with hope for the future. My first prom was a dilemma for me since I did not have a date and my mother insisted that I take my cousin....embarrassing to say the least. But once we started dancing I really didn't care who I was there with as long as there was music and they loved to dance. That was the last time I didn't have a date, thank goodness.

When I was a little older, my friends and I would travel to Stockton from Sonora to dance to the big bands that played at the Civic Auditorium. We danced until we were exhausted and when we danced slow dances we were so sweaty that our faces stuck together...great fun. Although the dance music allowed us to enjoy ourselves and feel free for a few hours my all-time favorite song is "Ave Maria" which was played at my wedding. During the ceremony the song filled the church with what sounded to me like heaven. Pete and I both loved to dance so after we married our weekends sometimes consisted of trips to the ballroom in Santa Cruz to dance the night away.

Musicians through the years have always worn crazy outfits and hairstyles to single themselves out from others. Our kids were high school age and I remember Pete having a fit over the Beatles and their long hair. Our oldest son spent many hours following their every trend. I have to laugh at us now when I think of how the Beatles actually looked and how short their hair really was. As our daughter was beginning high school the hippies were well in control of the world. Long hair for guys and girls, burn your bra and living by the goal of wearing the most raggedy jeans they could find came into style. Little did we know that the Beatles would eventually seem clean cut. I think the "Grateful Dead" and other bands from the Woodstock era just about threw Pete into cardiac arrest.

In time, age has changed us and loosened up our opinions to the point that I actually enjoy watching and listening to hip-hop music although if I danced to it, I'd probably break a hip, but I can watch. After all of our panic over the Beatles' so called ruining of society, we actually enjoy their music and I realize that some of it has helped to shape our tolerance for all types of music.

Every year to get our dose of reliving the past and remembering the many nights of dancing until dawn, we attend the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee and remember. Music makes the world go 'round and even if we don't understand certain eras, we should always be open so that we don't miss out on anything ... life is too short!

Sheila Arellano is a retired reporter for The Escalon Times and a longtime local resident. She continues to contribute a monthly column.