From the series: Life on Dog Hill

There is a tune I love; one that prompts me to reflect lovingly on my past, gratefully on my present and inspirationally on my future. It’s a tune that, once in my head, echoes on for hours. It’s a tune that in 1975 made Stephanie Mills famous when she sang it at the Majestic Theater on Broadway at the age of 18.

“Home”… from the musical The Wiz.

I never saw The Wiz but in the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I had the chance to be in a small-town traveling musical version of it. I wasn’t Dorothy. Nor was I Scarecrow. Nor Lion. Nor the Tin Man. I was a groveling slave-animal of some sort; creative license by the company directors to give me a spot with my best friend Suzy, who played Lion. I didn’t mind being a groveling whatever and wearing that ridiculous rag costume that I made from a pair of old curtains. I didn’t mind attending all the rehearsals even though my part required no practice.

Groveling whatever: Act frightened, shrinking in the presence of the Wicked Witch

I didn’t mind any of it because I loved being there to hear the music; especially the one song that never got old.

Wind that makes the tall trees bend into leaning
Suddenly the snowflakes that fall have a meaning

What is it about some songs that enable them to penetrate our inner psyche and stir our emotions? Maybe it’s a combination of time and words… at least for me and this particular song. After all, I was 17 years old with one more year left before launching out on my own. I was, like most kids that age, searching. I wanted to understand the meaning of life. Pretty idealist, no?

Today the song just popped into my mind. I have no idea why. I haven’t heard it since the last time it popped into my head and I played it on my computer repeatedly. But sure enough, there it was…

When I think of home
I think of a place where there’s love overflowing

And now I am thinking about it. Again. This time wondering what I can do to ensure our children think of home as “love overflowing” instead of “chaos overflowing.”

Breathe. Listen. Love. Reflect. Learn. Move forward. Love. Hug. Smile. Tears. Love.

Maybe it’s because my twin sons will be heading off to college soon. They’ll be leaving home and making a new life. Their adult life. Eventually, a new home. Their respective homes.

Ugg. Early empty nest syndrome.

Still, I dare you to listen to these words without feeling some twinge of something! Let it be a good something though; a kindling of a warm memory — perhaps a smile or an embrace. Let it be an inspirational something; the hope of good things to come.

Go on, listen to this 1989 version of Stephanie Mills singing Home. Once you get past her stunning physical beauty and the mesmerizing resonance of her voice, just listen. Maybe even twice, for kicks.

Now go back to 1975 and listen to a recording of the original soundtrack. You hear the young Stephanie playing Dorothy. Her spoken words sounding so child-like; until she begins to sing. A.Maz.Ing!

Lyrics to Home

Think of home
When I think of home
I think of a place where there’s love overflowing
I wish I was home
I wish I was back there with the things I been knowing
Wind that makes the tall trees bend into leaning
Suddenly the snowflakes that fall have a meaning
Sprinklin’ the scene, makes it all clean
Maybe there’s a chance for me to go back there
Now that I have some direction
It would sure be nice to be back home
Where there’s love and affection
And just maybe I can convince time to slow up
Giving me enough time in my life to grow up
Time be my friend, let me start again
Suddenly my world has changed it’s face
But I still know where I’m going
I have had my mind spun around in space
And yet I’ve watched it growing
If you’re list’ning God
Please don’t make it hard to know
If we should believe in the things that we see
Tell us, should we run away
Should we try and stay
Or would it be better just to let things be?
Living here, in this brand new world
Might be a fantasy
But it taught me to love
So it’s real, real to me
And I’ve learned
That we must look inside our hearts
To find a world full of love
Like yours
Like me
Like home…

Note: The soundtrack to The Wiz was composed by Charlie Smalls (October 25, 1043 – August 27, 1987).

(*Wipes tears *Sniffs *Sighs deeply *Ah, home.)

Image found here.

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