Saturday, March 15, 2014

SOLSC 15 of 31 - Driving Songs of my Life

Join me this month as I write a slice of my life each day this March and join many others sharing slices at  My students will also be slicing this month and you can find links to their daily blogs HERE.  

I am not an audiophile, but I do appreciate music. Ask me the name or artist of the song that's playing, and I will likely have no idea, even if I'm singing along to the music. I always listen to music while in a car so there are a lot of songs connected with driving somewhere. Here are some slices of my life associated with songs I've listened to in cars over the years.

Oh What a Beautiful Morning from the musical Oklahoma. I have a strong memory of riding in my mom's old Subaru wagon, driving across the country and singing this with her and my brother.

Just the Two of Us by Grover Washington Jr. My dad would play this song, along with many others by Jimmy Buffett and Santana, while we drove to the ski areas.  I remember him, my little brother and I, sitting along the bench seat of the Toyota pickup and singing Just the Three of us. If we were lucky, we were also munching on blueberry donuts from the donut shop in Idaho Springs.

In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel. In high school, my best friend Jon and I would drive around listening to a lot of music, in his car or mine. In Your Eyes was the pivotal song in Say Anything and Jon and I spent much time discussing the romantic things we would do for our future girlfriends, when we somehow got out of the "Friend Zone" with all the girls we wanted to date. Another thing I'll always remember is how we had a case of mix tapes and Jon, who was always in charge of the music, would FF or RW the tapes to find the perfect song for the moment.  Usually by the time he found the song, the moment had passed and he'd be off on a search for the next perfect song and we'd be filling the silence with our talking and laughing. If there was ever someone who needed an iPod before it was invented, it was Jon.

If I had a Boat by Lyle Lovett. This was the first song on the first mix tape my wife gave me, titled Love 38.  We had been dating for a couple of months and my brother and I were going to visit our grandma for three weeks in Australia. I memorized each song on that tape, including more country than I'd ever listened to willingly, during that trip.

Steal my Heart Away by Van Morrison. Actually, Van Morrison songs make up a significant portion of the soundtrack in my life. Into the Mystic was the class song for my high school class. Moondance is "our song" for my wife and I and was the 'first dance' at our wedding.  We've probably never danced as well as those four-and-a-half minutes. But this slice is about car songs.  Steal my Heart Away was the song I remember most when I left my job as a science teacher at Olathe High School and moved back to the Denver area seven years ago. I taught at OHS for nine years and there is something special about small towns and the community that surrounds and supports the schools. I was excited for the upcoming transition, but I was very sad to leave what I knew was a special place and the special people there. I remember driving by the school with things packed in my truck. Steal my Heart Away came on and tears dripped down my face. It's a sad and wonderful song to me.

I get to go on extended trips with my class at The Logan School and there is often one song that becomes "The Trip Song." It's rarely a song I brought, but we end up singing it a lot, and playing it in the classroom the rest of the year will lead to extra energy, distraction and smiles (and usually some groans). These songs include: Paper Planes, Eye of the Tiger, Bulbous Bouffont,and Disco Pogo.

Now my car songs include the ones my daughter requests the most often. Bippity Boppity Boo probably leads the list of Disney songs we listen to the most. I'm looking forward to her taste in music maturing, since she would listen to it on repeat if we let her. But I also know I'll miss her requesting it as we drive down the road of life and I hope the magic of the song stays with her, like the magic of the above songs have stayed with me.

Mix Tape
photo credit: <a href="">newrambler</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>


  1. Great slice! I had an idea about writing the soundtrack of my life thus far. This is a cool way of lookign back at your memories connected to music. Some great songs listed too! In Your Eyes reminds me of times with my brother, my musical wingman.

  2. I loved reading through all your musical travels, Max, each one full of a good memory. It's a creative idea to capture small pieces of your life this way. Happy Sunday!

  3. What a great slice! I had to smile about the mixed tapes. It seemed like a rite of passage to make them for your boyfriends/girlfriends when I was in high school and college.

  4. Thanks for taking us on a musical journey with you, Max! Memories abound when we think about music, right?

    I used to love creating mix tapes. Now I create play lists. It's so much easier now, but equally as fulfilling when you listen to the end product.

  5. I really like If I had a Boat, I like how you kind o talk about each song and what memories are asocatied with it

  6. I loved this post, Max! I've been playing with writing a poem about songs and the memories they bring back for a while, and this beautifully written piece certainly is inspiring!