Friday, June 24, 2011

Lullabye and Goodnight

Marty and Jiggs, 1950

♫ Honey won't you look into your baby's eyes, and tell me that you love me true. ♫

Dad's melodious baritone drifted to the back of our old black Dodge and night shadows rhythmically flashed through the car window. I curled on the floor in one of two cozy nests my mom created from quilts and pillows on either side of the bump. Tommy was in the other, Polly was tucked into a tiny bed on the ledge under the back window. (These were the days before seat belts, and for some reason our car didn't have a back seat!)

The Old Black Dodge.

Dad was an optometrist in Salt Lake City, but late Friday night we'd leave for a midnight drive to Monticello, Utah where he had an eye-clinic on Saturdays. He'd sing us to sleep with medleys he created from pop-tunes of the thirties and forties, mixed with old songs his dad had sung to him.

Shine on, shine on harvest moon, up in the sky;
I ain't had no lovin' since January, February, June or July. ♫

Nothing comforted me like my dad singing lullabies in the car. Just the thought of ♫ Jada . . . jada . . . jada, jada, jing, jing, jing ♫ soothes my mind.

Any song qualifies as a lullaby if it's part of a bedtime routine. A beloved lullaby CD, ♫ Dedicated to the One I Love ♫ features baby boomer lyrics like "Be my, be my baby . . ." sung softly by Linda Ronstadt. The only problem with that album is you fight to stay awake, just to hear all the songs.

Jane Roman Pitt has recently created a new lullaby album, Midnight Lullaby. It's a collection of bedtime songs written by some of my favorite songwriters including Josh Ritter, The Dixie Chicks and Paul McCartney. These are songs they wrote for their own kids using their personal thoughts and musical styles. I was sent a copy to review, and I've listened to it over and over, hitting repeat every time I hear Forever Young written by Bob Dylan. Jane has a beautiful, tranquil voice and this is the perfect album to play in the car when you're hoping the kids will take a spontaneous nap. (It's relaxing for puttering around the house, too.)

Gentle songs act like a sweet hug just before bed.
I'm glad I was raised on lullabies.

♫ Everybody loves a baby, that's why I'm in love with you, Pretty baby, pretty baby, And I'd like to be your sister, brother, dad and mother, too, Pretty baby, pretty baby . . .

Thanks, Dad!


kenju said...

What a nice thing!! I remember all of those songs; I used to sing Pretty Baby to my babies and played Jada on the piano.

Kay Dennison said...

Lovely!!!! My dad and my grandpa always sang to me!

polly said...

dad's singing and piano playing will be forever a part of our memories. when i sing my grandbabies to sleep, jake says don't sing mammy- it's the one i always fall asleep to. i say- that's the point!

Kerry June said...

i love hearing about grandpa! i'm glad you guys were raised on littles songs so that i could be too!