The Search for a Theme Song

Before I had children, back when I was a twenty-something elementary school teacher in New York City and had just started dating my future husband, I used to watch the quirky television sitcom Ally McBeal. Though most of that show has sunk into the mists of my past, one moment sticks with me: the episode when Ally’s therapist tells her to pick a theme song for her life (and Ally spends the rest of the episode bopping along to “Tell Him.”)

This episode confirmed what I’d always felt to be true: Life had a soundtrack.

My life, at least, always seemed to have a soundtrack. As an only child, records (the kind that spun on a record player) filled the silence instead of siblings: Some of my earliest memories are of playing alone while listening to records of classic musicals – My Fair Lady, Annie, The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls, The King and I. Later, the musicals were replaced by my parents’ old Cat Stevens and Beatles albums.

There were cassette tapes, too, especially after I started school. My first cassette was Michael Jackson’s Thriller. By middle school, we were making and exchanging mix tapes (lots of Billy Joel, as I recall.)

My first CD was the soundtrack to Disney’s The Little Mermaid. CDs remained the primary music media into my Ally McBealdays: We’d buy the latest album by U2 or Sting at Tower Records or Barnes & Noble and listen to it on our stereo or portable CD player. As a newlywed graduate student, I traversed Manhattan to a soundtrack of Tori Amos and Counting Crows.

The Dixie Chicks will forever be the soundtrack of my first pregnancy; Mumford & Sons accompanied my second.

But I worry that I’ve deprived my own children of a soundtrack for their lives.

Click here to continue reading this week’s “Faith in Vermont” column in The Addison Independent. 

One thought on “The Search for a Theme Song

  1. Uncle Chris

    I just drove the last of my CDs to Goodwill over the weekend, as it turns out. My 160 GB iPod Classic is no longer in production but I defiantly refuse to move on (it’s been returned not once but twice from airport lost-and-founds and had to be replaced by my last law firm when it was stolen from our holiday party, but I digress…) because I have no idea when I’ll listen to MY music other than in the car or on flights (not much Metro these days). Feeling you on this one.

    But yeah, Lauren and I will stumble upon particularly great Pandora stations sometimes, and… maybe songs get improvised on the spot about the cat… usually by me… don’t tell…. Nana and Boom at least…

    Also, someday I’ll forgive you for “(apparently the stereo just didn’t want to “Let It Go.”)” 😉

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