When my sister and I were little, we had a bunch of records that my mom gave us to play on our Fisher Price record player. (Yes, vinyl records. Yes, I know, I'm old.) She had singles. On vinyl.
One of them was American Pie.
Here's a face that you might not know, unless you spent a lot of time with my sister and me when we were just wee ones: American Pie is SO LONG that the single took up both sides of the record. You had to flip it over halfway through.
We listened to it a lot. I don't know if we understood it, but we loved it. To this day, though, if I am singing along -- and because of our love for it, I know all of the words -- I pause at the place where we would flip the record over.
Memory is a tricky thing. I'm occasionally surprised by what has stayed with me all of this time. My best friend's phone number from when we were children. The way my grandmother's house smelled. Playing on a felled tree in our yard (we called it Danger Bridge) with my sister and my cousins until my father broke it down into firewood.
Sitting on the goldenrod shag carpet in my sister's room, the sunlight slanting in through the window that faced the backyard, and listening to American Pie on our Fisher Price record player.
And singing. Always singing.
When I sing along, now, it's usually by myself. No one else seems to know all of the words, for one thing. My sister lives on the other end of the country. Every time I sing it, though, I think of her, and that little plastic record player. When the song asks, "Do you believe in rock n roll?" I always think, yes, yes I do.
Because music is memory.
And memory is love.