By Debbie Moore-Black, RN
I know every word to every Broadway musical play from back in the 1950’s through the 1960’s and beyond. Daddy would buy the vinyl records of the latest musicals.
Our sad lives filled with anguish, anger and neglect from our mother would diminish for another shining moment with daddy and his music.
It was our moment of infused happiness with my two sisters as the music would play as dad would put another vinyl record on his record player.
The Music Man was special. We’d run around in our pajamas as we sang “Shipoopi”…. We thought this may be a naughty word but we were allowed to sing it.
We’d hold hands and dance in circles with endless giggles to the music.
We became the imaginary orchestral band with pretend trombones….. “76 trombones led the big parade.”🎶
It was those magical moments I remembered as I watched recently “The Music Man” in NYC.
I found myself tearing up with each song.
Each song that brought back those sweet memories of our innocent youth.
Eventually, dad moved up the corporate ladder with IBM and we transferred from New Jersey to the Carolinas. Away from his mom and dad who came straight from Ireland.
Far away from my mom’s parents who had landed in America from Italy.
Dad was a computer director expert. When with the birth of computers they stood as tall as a washing machine or refrigerator. With each promotion, came the bigger house on the right side of town, the private school we went to, the lake house with the matching boat. The infidelities, the gambling, and then the endless drinking.
As a teenager I watched my dad walk into the walls from too much drinking. Our so called fairy tale life had come to an end and came crashing down on us.
We were called to the kitchen table for a “family meeting”. Dad had taken an “early retirement” at 45 years old. It was just another fabrication. Because my parents lived off of lies. Dad was terminated from his big corporate job. That was the truth. Alcoholism. But that was hush hush.
The large house was just a facade as the inside told the truth. Curtains closed dark inside… and that became our life as we painfully grew up into awareness.
Every song I teared up, some tears trickled down as I remembered that once whimsical time in our lives as youngsters.
I’m not angry. I’m not really even sad anymore.
Because I’m thankful that my dad was able to give us a magical time in our youth.
For one brief shining moment…. We were in that band with 76 trombones. We were in that parade with shiny uniforms on and drums and cymbals and clarinets ….
Metaphorically…. Daddy was our music man…who left his mark of joy and spirit for us three children to last us a lifetime!!!
Photo: “The Music Man”
“The Music Man” written by: Meredith Wilson