The Songs That Take Us Back


Game night is a tradition here. Our son picks the game. Usually, it is chess, which means that I have to sit that out while my husband and son play (not that I’m complaining). What I always partake in, though, is the music part. Sometimes we’ll play computer song playlists, sometimes we’ll play classical music, and at other times we’ll listen to Delilah.

I don’t remember what song it was that came on last night – the one that had me singing so loud that I could not be bothered with my next Bananagrams move.

My son stared at me, and I knew that he didn’t get it; he doesn’t yet grasp how certain songs occupy square inches in your mind and memory, and will do so for all time.

I just remembered what it was! It was Torn by Natalie Imbruglia.

Torn – Natalie Imbruglia

It took me back to 1997. I was stationed on an ammunition supply ship out of Oakland, California. I was young, 21, and learning that I could find my way out of relationships and not be torn up if they didn’t go my way.  So impressed was I by Natalie Imbruglia’s acoustic starting song and honest lyrics, that I even had all of my hair cut off, just like her hair had been at the time. I was growing up.

I’m Like a Bird – Nelly Furtado

This one takes me back to Everett, Washington in the year 2000. After work, I’d pick up my daughter from daycare and would drive us home to our little apartment. (I’d downloaded this song from Napster, and burned it to a CD.) When the song started with its violin intro, I’d look into my rear view mirror to see my daughter’s expression. Her eyes would widen, she would smile and would start laughing. I’d sing it, and she would mumble along. She’s gone now, not unlike a bird, but this song reminds me of that precious time in my life.

Superman – Five for Fighting

This song takes me to late 2001, when I knew that my daughter would not vanquish the neurological disorder that had overtaken her. There would be no Superman moments. When it came on the radio, my husband and I would quiet so that we could better hear it.

Whenever the lead singer got to the lyric that says, “Up up and  away, away from me,” I’d belt it along with him. I wanted to fly up, up, and away, away from me, away from the time in my life that I knew would be the most heartbreaking I’d ever experience.

Saturday In the Park – Chicago

This one takes me back to 1994 – US Navy Boot Camp in Great Lakes, Illinois. My Company Commander, HT1 (SW) Golden, would put this song on while we PTd. I didn’t get it. Why the heck would this be a good song to work out to? Some of the other females in my company got it, though. They’d croon away to this tune while running in place. Apparently, this song had taken them back to another time. Now, this song takes me back to that time in Boot Camp.

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

This song brings a big smile to my face. In my opinion, there’s nothing remarkable about the lyrics or musicality of it. However, it is a song that my husband dislikes. Its video is one that he despises. In 2008, my husband deployed to Iraq, leaving me and his son at home in Maryland. We missed him something fierce. I’d sadly push my shopping cart through the aisles of the Navy Exchange, remembering times that we’d done it together as a family. Then this song would come over the speakers of the store. I’d laugh, as I remembered the scowl on his face that this song would inspire. I’d go from feeling sad to feeling amused. And I was okay.

I like to think that I’ve inspired musicality in my son. He’s taken up a guitar. He’s said that he wants to be the best musician that ever was. Some of his song titles are: “Don’t Take Showers in Lava,” “Whoosh the Rain,” and “Etcetera.” They make my husband smile, and they make me laugh at the top of my lungs. Maybe he’ll make it big one day. If he does, his songs will remind me of this time in my life – a time that I am so happy to be living in.


Cyndia Rios-Myers

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Jeanette July 9, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    You’ve got her in your pocket- White Stripes. Takes me back to when I was 17, dealing with my first heartbreak. Sitting in my garage headphones in, crying.

    • Reply Cyndia Rios-Myers July 9, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Now I’m going to have to listen to that one!

    Leave a Reply