Saturday, August 27, 2011

Free to Be... You and Me: Next Generation

A few nights ago, Donovan was in his bed, not going to sleep right away, but singing happily as he often does. Usually his song choices include "London Bridge," "Skip to My Lou" (sometimes with new words) or the blessing he learned at summer camp.

But on this particular night, I heard something way different. He was singing the chorus of a song from Free To Be... You and Me. I don't normally disturb this bedtime ritual, but I went upstairs and asked what he was singing. He was coy as usual. When I mentioned the song "Glad to Have a Friend Like You," he nodded.

"I have that song on a record downstairs."

"I would like to hear it."

It became clear that he learned the song at Waldorf and not from a secret excursion into the record stacks. But gee whiz, it blows the mind to hear your kid singing a song that you've thought you'd turn him on to, some day in the future. Free to Be... You and Me was a big album in our house. Actually, my mother got the book first for me and my sister. Then we used to check the album out of the library all the time. "My Dog is a Plumber" is a simple poem about a serious subject that can really get young minds to think with humor. Rosey Grier's calming philosophy that "It's Alright To Cry" make me do just that in appreciation.

The next morning, as he was having a waffle, I played "Glad to Have a Friend Like You" for Donovan. He seemed quietly entertained. I got choked up because I'm a sap and felt like we were bonding a bit. Pressing my luck I played him "My Dog is a Plumber." (Dick Cavett was the perfect person to read this, by the way.) He was more interested in knowing who the dog was that barked in the background.

I took a chance on thinking that he'd like Carol Channing's recitation of "Housework," with its rapid list of cleaners that keep popping up in the text. He left the room.

Save that for next year.

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