Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jupiter Symphony

Raphaela's obsession for the last month has been classical music and the philharmonic.  She can now name most instruments on her own, and identify them by sound as part of a musical piece without seeing them.  "Look Mommy, a Bassoon!" she will say in her little girl's voice, as we are driving in the car, as the radio is now permanently set to the Israeli classical music station, rather than my preferred classic rock station.

This morning on the way to Gan, the featured musical piece happened to be Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, that masterpiece that was the soundtrack of my college years at Barnard/Columbia.  It was the music that programmed information into my brain when I studied for every exam, and I kept it on in the background while a group of us simply hung out together.  This symphony is forever burned into the hard drive of my cortex.

When I heard it on the radio this morning, it suddenly brought back a flood of memories, of my amazing college friends with whom I am close to this day; of the adventures we had getting lost on the subway and ending up in Conney Island at midnight; of the time spent exploring our true selves away from our families and out of the house; of shopping and late-night movies and food runs and pool games;  the boyfriends, lots of them and lots to choose from;  hacking into the ROLM system ("Fred, you and the Little Mermaid..."); of Ultimate Frisbee and Monty Python Marathons; of the professors who challenged me and opened my mind to a world of art and music and philosophy; of the only time in my life when I felt truly connected spiritually and religiously to a Jewish community which accepted  all with joy and without judgement.

My best friend from college married her high school sweetheart, I was the Maid of Honor at her beautiful wedding on the beach at sunset.  They have three children together and they bought a house in Long Island, right near her parents and his parents.  He is a successful lawyer, she runs her own graphic design business, as well as being highly involved in the PTA. 

She is living that life I always imagined I would have at this age.

I would experience all this suburbia of course after I had seen myself becoming President of the United States and saving Israel from itself. (Poli Sci major, naturally...) After all that I have gladly given up to live in Israel, that picture of the husband, the large back yard and being surrounded by nature and quiet at the end of the day; that vision remains in my head and I cannot seem to give it up, no matter how far away or unrealistic it seems. I want that for myself, and I want that for Raphaela, a sense of open space and privacy and freedom to choose.

And I miss for myself being surrounded by a group of people who challenge me intellectually and personally, who love and support me in this search for the essential Me to tell me when I have strayed off the path and when I have succeeded.

Hearing that music on the radio this morning, I burst into tears, and then my memories and imagination took me back to the concert at the majestic and almost overwhelming Lincoln Center concert with my friend David, showcasing Mozart's Symphony No. 40 and No. 41, my Jupiter Symphony. That sweet mixture of notes and instruments, the conversation and negotiation they have until the last movement, when they blend into a perfect melody and announce their harmony with strength and passion.


Amy Charles said...

Oh, I had to stop reading after a certain line, Doc, because I was laughing too hard -- I'd forgotten about that voice mail. For those who haven't experienced its full glory:

(warning: expletive)

I'm glad you're feeling better and that RR has such good taste in music.

Amy Charles said...

Or here, you can get the whole story with Ira Glass in possibly my favorite TAL segment ever:

Doc said...

Fred's brother was in my Art Hum class, a real jock and a man's man, and he could not look people in the eye for weeks. I particularly liked the dance remix.