HOW I ANNOYED MY KIDS

This all started way back when life consisted of wiping dirty hands, making finger jello and sweeping up Play-Doh.

Back when we lived in Des Plaines and didn’t have a televsion – well, we had one, but you couldn’t get a picture unless you stood exactly forty degrees east and arranged the antenna forty degrees west. We really didn’t care – except when the Cubs were on. We didn’t want our kids to grow up on a cartoon diet but wanted them to learn to use their imaginations to develop quirky, imaginative brains.

(That’s one goal in life that certainly got accomplished.)

Anyhow, we did listen to the radio a lot. This was the era of Carter (not any Carter I’m personally related to), but the Carter that “fixed” our economy by making us wait in line for gas and making even a trip to the grocery store an adventure in poverty – the Carter who is still attempting to fix things. (Really think he should retire to that peanut farm. Seriously. OK, not a political blog.)

Like now, I listened to WGN and WMBI.  I have a lot of loyalty to WMBI considering they paid me to write for them and in doing so, I had the  money to get  through college.

Again, I digress.

Lots of songs during this time seemed to be slow-moving songs about troubles and trials. As an example (a song you seemed to hear every five minutes during the Watergate/Ford/Carter years)  – THROUGH IT ALL.  “I’ve had many tears and sorrows, I’ve had questions for tomorrow …” song in Doug Oldham’s booming voice.

In the  midst of all this – was Evie.  My favorite songs are not usually (but there are several exceptions) song by female singers, Evie was an all-time super exception. My daughter (who of course, lived through that time with me) has decided that it’s because Evie sang happy music and I have always been a big proponent of happy.

So, we had her records (those round, vinyl black discs that spin around on a turntable) – I think all of them. And I wiped little sticky hands, made finger jello and swept up Play-Doh pieces to them.  In fact, for a long time, I put several of Evie’s songs on my self-made jump rope cassette (and yes, willingly jumped rope 15 minutes every day). My two children put them on their roller skating cassette and skated around the basement to them.  And we all (especially Ken) made up our own words to the all-time classic Christian song, “I’m only four-foot-eleven, but I’m going to heaven and that makes me feel ten feet tall.”

But there was one Evie song that out-popularized any of the others we listened to – because I used to sing it to my kids all the time.  Annoying them way too much. As Kelli told Evie last night. “Everytime we complained about anything, Mom would sing that song.”  Then again, according to my loving family, any song I sing would be annoying.

Anyhow – this all ends up with last night.

Evie got married and joined her husband in ministry and her songs faded into the distance. (Although, you still sometimes heard  “Come on, Ring those Bells …”)

A couple months ago Kelli said, “Mom, there’s a SHE event at church with Rebecca St. James and Evie. So, OF COURSE, we’re going.”

And last night we went. Evie,  who recorded those first songs as a teen – is now a mom of married children. But, amazingly, or maybe not so amazingly, we knew all the words to all the songs. Me, because I played those songs over and over and Kelli because, since she lived in the same house as I did, had to listen to them.

She is just as bubbly as ever. (Of course, this is the first time I saw her in person so I can’t really vouch that she was all that bubbly in person before, but I’m guessing she was.) Afterwards we had an opportunity to talk with her. She told us that the “annoying” song I sang to my kids was a Swedish folk song and then told the 9yo munchkin how important it is to live for Jesus.

So, thanks, Evie for the happy (and sometimes corny) music.  And thanks, too, for the songs with great meaning such as Give Them All to Jesus and Mirror, Mirror.

——

The entire SHE event was enjoyable – with Rebecca St. James and her two brothers: Joel and Luke. They’re doing these across the country, so if you have opportunity, take advantage of it and spend an evening with some good music and good thoughts.

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