I came across this blog and in the discussion, I had a realization that music was for my childhood what religion was in homes where the parents taught religion to their children.
My parents decided to not share their religion with or force it upon my sister and I – instead, allowing us to come to our own relationship and understanding of religion. I talked about that a bit here: https://ntrygg.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/why-i-am-not-a-beleiver/
Growing up, we all beleive that what we experience is normal and common to everyone, but it is not – and often for people, the first inkling that other people live differently is knowing that in other places in the world, people beleive different religions.
But the world was too big a concept for me at the age of 6 and my world was my family and my window on the world wasn’t religion, it was music. Most everyone I was related to listened to country music of the 40 to 60s, and to this, my parents added 60’s folk and The Beatles. I didn’t understand that this wasn;t current music in the 1970’s when I was a kid. Everyone listened to it, so it was all just there.
I think for me the seminal moment of understanding that my parents didn’t reflect the world as it was had nothing to do with religion – because my parents never pushed their religion on us – and let my sister and I learn about religion at our own pace and interest level.
For me, it was when I was 6 and we were on a family road trip – and my mom brought her song magazines so we had the lyrics of songs to sing. One of the magazines had an article about Hank Williams (Sr) and he was my favorite singer – so I was stunned to read in the magazine that he was not only dead, but dead for decades and no one told me – of course, I was only just at the age where death began to take on meaning – but as a child, my parents listened to music and my grandparents listened to the same music – so it never occurred to me that this was not current music.
For weeks, I went around, tearfully, asking all the grown ups if they had known Hank was dead – as if it was some conspiracy to hide this from me – and many said yes and thought I was cute and funny but some adults had no idea who I was talking about – they weren’t country fans or perhaps it didn’t occur to them that a 6 year old in the 1970s knew who she was talking about.
I think that was the beginning for me to realize that everyone lives in their own reality – and that they only sometimes overlap with each other to form a common frame of reference and meaning.
I graduated to being an Elvis fan, but then he died on me too. Despite being 9 at the time of Elvis’ death, I have no recollection of it, I think that my early trauma with loosing Hank must have had an effect, or I began to assume that everyone who recorded music or made movies wasn’t real people. Not sure.
In a way, paralleling the cultural shifts, but 30 years behind the times – I have long suspected this event shattered my concept of time, since while time passes and things change, with recorded reality, we can experience the events as if they are current, which to my young brain, Hank Williams Sr was current –