Thursday, April 30, 2009

Les Miserables

Afrer seeing the YouTube video about the British singer singing "I had a Dream," that song has been on my mind day and night. Strangely, even though I haven't heard it in 15 years or so, I know every word. That soundtrack played in the background of our lives for months and months (years?), and it became a part of almost everything we did.

It began when Mike brought home a cassette just out of the blue, not something he usually did. He had been hearing one of the songs on the car radio and liked it, I think. We played it here and there and didn't really like it one way or another, but various tunes started growing on us. At that time, we had given Emily the little dining room as her bedroom because of having more children than bedrooms, and her little stereo could be heard in the kitchen and den, and she played it constantly. We all started to hum along and sing along, and pretty soon we knew a lot of the songs. But Emily completely immersed herself in that musical. She soon had her friends knowing the words and videotaping themselves singing it. I believe she finally knew the words to every song on the soundtrack, and because of being the driver on most of her outings, it was always playing in the car, so I memorized it too.

Once Mike had a business trip to Kentucky, and Emily and I went along for the ride. I turned on the video camera as we drove through Tennessee and Chattanooga and south on I-75 because of my missing my mountains, and wanting to remember them. Les Miserables was playing in the background - rather loudly - and Emily was bouncing around the back seat singing along. Her favorite at that point was "Little People," and she had the Cockney accent down pat. It never failed to make us laugh. Good memory!

Anywhere they were, riding down the road, at the beach, at school, the girl - and some of the guys - would just burst out with Do you Hear the People Sing or this sweet little ditty with a few words bleeped out even the sad ones like Fantine's death.

I'm not sure exactly when it was (I need to get dates and times for all this), but we found out the play was going to be in Atlanta, and we were beside ourselves with excitement. Well, maybe Mike was just a little glad. After all, he was the one who had to get us to Atlanta to the Fox and then get us home. But we headed out one Sunday, the 3 of us plus Emily's friend Laura, all dressed up with high expectations. And we were not disappointed (except I think Emily and Laura were disappointed the champagne they served at intermission was not for them; they just wanted to hold the glasses). It was a wonderful cast, and pretty close to what we were used to, although we've always preferred the London version. The Fox is always exciting, just to be there. Half the time we had to sit with our hands over their mouths to keep them from singing along, but we did have a good time.

I think that was the pinnacle of our Les Miserables fascination though. I don't remember it much after that. Emily was beginning to go out more with her friends, and somehow we just didn't listen to it as much. We did buy the CD, though, and it kicked around the house, but when I was looking for it last week, it was nowhere to be found. So I treated myself to a CD of the Original London Cast, and I can't wait for it to get here. I've found some pretty good videos on line, and it sure does bring back memories.

I'll try to catch up on my past week pretty soon. Sadly, my sweet Aunt Merle died Sunday night. It wasn't totally unexpected, but she was thought to have been getting better. She was Daddy's sister and was 83. She was widowed while all 5 of her children were still very young, and lost the oldest one and only son in a car accident when he was a young man. I'm sure it was never easy, but she was not a complainer and to me always seemed to be laughing. She did a wonderful job of raising the daughters, and it was good to see them yesterday at the funeral - 2 of them with many grandchildren! She was so proud of them.

Now there's just my mother and one more of Daddy's sisters left of that generation in our family. We haven't done a good job, our generation, of keeping in touch, and we always lament that we never see each other except at funerals. We don't know each other's children, and that's sad. Maybe we'll do something about it.

It's been a busy week and is not over yet. I'll try to keep up better.


  1. There is something funny about the good songs: Sometimes you have a good song in the head and you can´t take it away,at the point you don´t want to have it; so you have to listen that song again to shake it off.

    About your auntie:I´m really sorry about your lost, it is always sad to say goodbye to someone so graceful and loved.

  2. Thanks, Gaby. It seems like we're doing that a lot lately.

  3. I always loved the musical too! I remember going to see the play in Tallahassee with my high school class. I really enjoyed it and remember having the CD too! I think I was a little disappointed at the play, because we had read the book first in school. Glad we all have appreciation of the "fine arts!"