By M.F. Baker
Last night I called my mom since I hadn’t talked to her in a week or two. She was in the midst of writing and illustrating a children’s book, papers strewn around the living room, no one home to bother her. Neither her husband nor any of her four adult children around to disturb her creativity; allowing her to bask in a rare luxury. She recently got a mini grant from the elementary school she teaches kindergarten at to create this book, the school my three younger siblings and I attended.
“Tell me what’s going on in
My response, “Mom,
I changed the subject, “I’m going to a Stevie Wonder party this weekend.” I chose this non sequitur because I knew the halcyon response it would generate. Without fail, every time I mention Stevie she says, “You know I saw him perform when he was 12 and I was in the 8th grade? He came to Cincinnati and performed during this hay-ride we were on.” A hay-ride? I thought, how 1960’s middle-America, “You mean he performed in a barn?”
“Yeah”, she said, “I remember him playing the harmonica. It was crazy because we were practically the same age, but he was this rising star.” I asked her if she remembers any of the songs he sang/played. We burst into laughter again, realizing that the likelihood of her remembering anything more about the event than she had already shared was unfathomable. Thirty-plus years of smoking weed will do that to you, I guess. My mom doesn’t remember much, including the time of day I was born, but she remembers when Stevie played harmonica in a barn in
Despite her early exposure to the man, I didn’t grow up listening to Stevie. She married my Jamaican father and reggae was the music of my childhood. Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh, Freddy McGregor, Bunny Wailer and of course the rising star of my childhood, Bob Marley. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I was exposed to the range of Stevie’s music. Peers introduced me to his music, the music they grew up listening too with their mothers and fathers.
The one Stevie Wonder song that resonates with me most from my childhood and that reminds me of my parents when we lived in
On mother’s day, or better yet, whenever the moment strikes you, don’t forget to call just to say “I love you.”