Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our White House Tourist Moment

In all my previous years, I never thought I would have the opportunity to be standing in front of the most powerful house in the world, let alone to see it up close. My son, Yogi and I had only been in the U.S. for seven months when the opportunity came knocking. My SIL's sister informed me about the Notre Dame Dadiangas University's (my alma mater) Alumni Biennial Reunion in Virginia. I wasn't even aware of the organization until she told me. And part of the activities of the reunion was visiting the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

To see so many of my countrymen in a foreign country was exciting, not to mention that we all attended the same university in my hometown in the Philippines. Even more exciting was to see one of the famous landmarks of my new country, if not the most famous, made me totally giddy with excitement.

But the feeling was not only excitement when I finally saw the beauty of the famous structure. Standing right in front of it was a dream come true. It was surreal to say the least. I'd only seen the building on T.V. and magazines before and to be honest, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd see it up close and personal.

Sorry for the crooked photo. Maybe too much wine with my lunch? LOL. Just kidding. Nonetheless, you can still see the beauty of the White House. Aside from the members of the Alumnae, there were also a lot of tourists that day.

And there we are.

That's hubby right there sitting on one of the benches.

We were there in June of 2011 and it has been three years since then but I can still vividly remember what exactly happened that day and I will probably remember it for the rest of my life. You might wonder why I only talked about this now here on the blog? I was watching Transformers 3 for the nth time with my son yesterday and if you've seen it, most of the scenes were shot in D.C. I was nostalgic and I realized I hadn't shared about that trip here yet.

That is probably not the last time that we are going to visit Washington, D.C. but the first time is always memorable and special, isn't it? Besides, we didn't have enough time to explore D.C. during our visit. So when we return, we will make sure we're going to see as much as we can. I know there are a lot of things to see in D.C. other than the White House and I so look forward to that, not only by myself of course but with my boys for sure!

Monday, September 15, 2014

From Music, One Can Learn History

A piece of history

I have a great love of music. From the time I was a kid, I avidly listened to the radio, keeping track of what's hot, or not so hot. And I actually still remember the very first record I ever went looking for to buy: Petula Clark's Downtown. And that was on a 45 RPM vinyl record. Remember those. If so, you're dating yourself just as I am by telling this story...(",). Looking back on that, I'll have to say that was a laid-back pop song compared to what was to later come for that was 1965. Petula was one of the many English performers who changed the face of American music loves, following the Beatles appearance on the scene in the early 60's creating what became known as the British Invasion.

But American musicians, not to be outdone, began creating their own new style, and being a coming-of-age child in the '60 truly expanded my vision of the music I came to love, good ol' hardcore rock and roll, as my music collection would testify to, as well as my attempts at playing the guitar. However, there was another style of music popular in the '60's, what became to be known as folk music scene. One of the inspirations for this era began even earlier back in the 30's from the music of Woody Guthrie, who was one of the Okies who made the journey to California during the dust-bowl era of the Great Depression. Much of his work told the conditions faced by these people of the lower working class. Some of the early greats he inspired were Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton. And even later on such performers as Bruce Springsteen, Harry Chapin, John Mellencamp, and the Greatful Dead's Jerry Garcia spoke of Guthrie's inspiring legacy. One of his lasting legacies is his song This Land is Your Land, a song I actually learned in elementary school.

Obviously, this is not the mainstream type of music that would be chosen to be played by a charlotte dj at a wedding reception or party event. For that they would need lovey-dovey, pop-style cuts or some of my good ol' hardcore rock. Much of folk music was of a social commentary vein, speaking of the tenor of the times it came from. And even later generations of musicians, from the 80's to now, have used their music to speak of the times, using rock and pop rather than folk, yet still commenting on things going on in the world around them. Of such, I have my own personal favorites, beginning with the Red Ryder rocker Lunatic Fringe. Then there's the Lost Prophet's Wake Up (Make a Move); Eliza Gilkyson's Man of God; James McMurtry's We Can't Make it Here Anymore; and POD's Youth of the Nation.

Not only are these songs melodically beautiful, they tell a story and give a history lesson which most people are most likely unaware of. But me, having actually lived through many of the events, or having had them related to me by others who did, can't help but love them and continue to be inspired by the stories and continue the legacy of their history by sharing them.

Please note: This is a first person narrative from the words my husband shared with me, for this is his story and remembrances. Thanks for the history lesson, Hubby...(",)