Watching Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher singing in Bright Lights brought a flood of memories… You too?

bright-lightsI watched Bright Lights last night and every time Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher spontaneously broke into song together it reminded me of my grandparents and great uncles and aunts in Los Angeles, who often seemed to do that when I was kid.

great-aunt-mirel-carl-w-popa-and-aunt-esther
My grandfather Sol Baer Fielding with his sister Esther and their aunt Mirel in Denver, late 1950s.

It was as if they all knew the same songs from decades ago, and now and again they would sing a line or two, and then whomever they were with would join in. This always made for a lighter mood, though I could never figure out what inspired randomly singing a hit from the 1940s, but obviously something triggered it.

I particularly remember my grandfather Sol singing like this with his sister, Esther, my angel of a great aunt. I was also very lucky that both of them would sing songs to me when I was falling off to sleep and always a little homesick during my visits. I have a feeling these were actually much older, possibly from their own youth.

Other than reminding me of Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton singing “Those Were the Days” in All in the Family, it also makes me think about that amazing documentary Alive Inside, which features an unresponsive elderly man in a nursing home, who responds dramatically when his favorite jazz from the 1930s and 40s is played. Here’s the trailer if you’re interested.

Anyone else remember the ‘oldies’ in their life singing like this? I’d love to hear about it so please feel free to comment.

Copyright 2017 Alicia Mayer.

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