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I Got You Babe, 1965

‘They say we’re young and we don’t know, we won’t find out until we grow…’

Heading out to the Rock Point where I would play my music.

These are the first few words of the song written by Sonny Bono, sung by Sonny and Cher and released in 1965. Well, I loved that song, and went crazy singing it every time I heard it on the radio, or played the little 45 record I had. I was 10 years old at the time, and going to the lake meant I was going to have to sneak listening to this music somehow, which is very hard to do with 2 parents and a younger brother living in a one-room cabin.

Naturally, this was the time before iPods and little ear buds. This was the time of full record players and a hi-fi electrical stereo system, which clearly was not going to happen at the lake. Firstly, I should mention I am from a very musically inclined family. My father was a pianist, and was asked to do the professional circuit, which I think he would have excelled at if he had had the drive and commitment to do so, he played beautifully.

I grew up with two pianos in the house, an upright and a baby grand. The upright was down in the basement rec room, where I was banished to play, and where my practising would not ‘bother’ my parents. The baby grand was my father’s instrument, proudly front and centre in the formal living room of our house. I play it, I loved the sound of it, but only when my father was out, and my mother busy either in the upstairs bedrooms or bathrooms doing something or rather, or possibly doing laundry in the basement or maybe outside tinkering in the gardens.

My father had quite a hi-fi stereo set up, which was another ‘out of bounds’ touchable for us kids. However, when he was at work and Mom was looking the other way, I snuck into the living room, sat in the oversized, purple velvet wing chair of my father’s, and put on those massive headphones with a dangling cord and listened to the forbidden Rock and Roll on his hi-fi system. I listened to the radio in my glory, but had to remember to put the nation back to the ‘proper music’ station, and the head phones to their spot on the top of the wing chair. There would be hell to pay if I got caught there, playing that ‘drivel’ Rock and Roll. I was raised on classical music, Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, and the like, which I did love, Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’being my favourite of all time song, which I could play. Occasionally, my parents would listen to their ‘pop’ music, and I remember it being the Rat Pack, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra. I remembered my mother liked Peggy Lee, (Mom said she sang very sexy), and they listened to Nat King Cole. I remember my father thinking that Liberace was not a ‘real’ musician, although he and I did go to a Liberace concert once at the QE theatre. I was amazed by the bling and spectacular rhinestone-studded car and his spectacularly glittery cape and jumpsuit. My father tried not to show that he was actually enjoying the show. Funny how I remember we both winced at a wrong note, and looked at each other during the performance. I find that to be such a silly vivid memory of that moment. I did love the show, however. It was fabulous in my eyes.

In the city, I remember I would try to listen to the few 45 records I managed to have. I had a little record player of my own down in the rec room, ‘the best place for children to play and make noise’ I remember them saying. So that is where I played the songs over and over, but to be at the lake meant no power, and so I remember I was ecstatic to have managed to receive a battery-operated, portable, little brown, plastic record player. Obviously, the way my parents where I could not play my records in the cabin, or within earshot really, so off I snuck to the little Rock Point out the front of our property. I sat behind the tall grasses on the edge of the water near to my neighbour’s property by a tiny shallow water pond. I played I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher over and over. I knew my Mother could most likely hear me, (otherwise, what kind of mother would she be), and she could pretty much see me through the grasses from the deck and inside by the kitchen window, but to me, I was all alone and in my glory. Thankfully, back then, the neighbours in that nearby cabin were rarely ever there, and so no one was next door. They finally did sell, and now I have the nicest people who come there, such ‘newbies’ as they have only been coming to the lake for about 25 years now, not like me, here at my cabin since I was a ‘Babe in the Woods’, which I kind of was!

I remember these beautiful memories of being so happy, being at my lake as a child, and listening to my music and singing. Like the first few lyrics of Sonny and Cher’s song, ‘they say we’re young and we don’t know, we won’t find out until we grow…’ Well I’ve grown up at my lake and I realize now how truly blessed I have been.

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