When I was seven our choir was selected for the State championships at a place called Hona Lea.
We had rehearsed a really cool song to sing, by a guy named John Lennon. It was called “Let It Be.” Two days before the trials the principal ran in and said that “Mother Mary comes to me” meant marijuana, and we were not allowed to sing it.
We rehearsed Panis Angelicus and came out in second place. A teeny school in a big state. Bravo! I remembered the exact spot that I stood and sat there whenever I could, audience or none, as that was my memory and my family made a home there.
I was a kid in the 60’s and had never heard of marijuana or Mary Jane or anything. I could have sung John Lennon’s Let It Be until the cows came home. Administration scared us into being afraid of music.
Similar was Puff (The Magic Dragon) by Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton as sung by Peter, Paul and Mary. I thought John Lennon had a poem to sing, just as did PPM. They were about life stories, and I loved the dragon. They were not about drugs, at least to me.
This admistrivia taught me about drugs very young, something I would have never known if adults hadn’t put their skinny tie and suit stamp on something we were unable to read or sing. No, I never did drugs (Ok I inhaled once or twice late in college but didn’t like it so demurred) but have always cherished the First Amendment.
Rebellion is in my nature. Administrivia stunting my growth made it come along later in life. If there is a cause I believe in, I’ll take it. I got a crosswalk in our neighborhood with curb cuts between a bad relationship with city and county on either side of the street. No-one stops at it. It took six months. Every year I have to call and have them paint the lines.
Puff was a magic dragon to me, a phantasm that only ephemeral creatures can inhabit, along with unicorns and perhaps many others such as elf lords and Hobbits. I took up guitar at age 50 and will do so again. Puff was probably the fifth song I ever learned. Now I get a kick from cooking veg popsicles for teething babies (not mine) and their mothers and singing a song. I’m certain Ms. M will not mind my bad guitar, guitar good, my bad chords, singing Puff to her six month-old. Luckily baby G loves my guitar and voice. Score one for Aunt Dee! Dee