A few days ago, I was going through some old cassette tapes and I came across an old tape that stirred a few sweet memories for me.
When I was a little girl…probably before Kindergarten or perhaps the same year, Fiddler on the Roof, the movie, came out. I don’t know if I saw the movie in the theater…I honestly can’t remember. However, I do remember riding with my mother in the car and listening to the music. When Tevye begins singing “If I were a Rich Man,” Mom and I would sing right along with it. Perhaps this sounds natural to most people…but honestly Mom was not one to listen to vocal music in the car. She used to say that she would get too involved with the music. We had instrumental music playing the in car all the time…but to have a vocalist singing music was different. Mom was a classically trained musician and singer who was a performer and teacher. At that time in my life, Mom had several vocal students as well and piano students. So, when Mom listened to something – she listened with a critical ear. It was hard for her to really listen to music and enjoy it.
Fiddler on the Roof was different for Mom. I don’t really remember Mom driving that much. She quit driving by the time I was 10 years old. Once my siblings started driving, she really didn’t need to and she really didn’t enjoy it. So, for me to remember riding in the car with Mom driving and singing music from the stereo was significant. Whenever I hear the music from the soundtrack, it takes me back to my childhood and singing in the car with my mother.
My niece was in Fiddler on the Roof in high school. By that point, Mom’s health was poor and she couldn’t really sit in the seats at the theater. She wanted to see it, but her health didn’t allow that. I remember Dad and I sitting there watching the opening scenes in the play. I got quite emotional listening to the familiar music. My niece wasn’t too happy that she didn’t get the role of one of the daughters…instead she played Yente, the Matchmaker. I remember telling her that no one remembers who played the daughters from the Broadway production…but everyone remembered Bea Arthurs who played Yente. Yente was scene stealer of a character, and my niece was one of the most memorable characters in that production.
I remember going home after the play and my Mother was anxiously waiting to hear how it went. After talking about the kid’s performance, I told her that the music made me a bit teary eyed. She asked me why…and I told her that I remembered riding in the car with her singing “If I were a Rich Man” along with the soundtrack. Mom smiled at me and said that she remembered that too. The next day, while we were back in the den working on our computers, I played the soundtrack on the stereo. Once again…we sat together listening and singing along to the music.