Perhaps the title sounds a bit familiar. The words form a phrase from the song, “Do Re Mi“from The Sound of Music.
When thinking of ways to make my blog focus more memoir-centric, I kept going back to the beginning. My beginning. When I started out in this life.
It was 1946. February 10 the day. My parents had agreed on having no more children. Between them, there were already three–my mother’s son and my father’s two daughters–from previous marriages.
A short honeymoon in Chattanooga, TN, changed the course of their lives, and I entered the world a little over nine months later.
When I was born, my parents were living in an upstairs apartment on 17th Avenue South in Nashville, TN. Not a large space, the apartment became more crowded following my birth, or so I’m told. A view of the street, as it looks today, is seen here:
The address where my family lived is now home to the RCA Victor Recording Studios. The street was renamed Music Row as part of the entertainment district in Nashville. It looks quite different from the building housing my folks’ apartment.
Sometimes I jokingly tell people I was born on Music Row. If they put a recording studio on the site where you were living immediately after birth and rename the street, you aren’t to blame, are you? And it’s my story, right?
While living there, Mama stayed home with me and Daddy went off to work as a linotype operator. His apprenticeship for a newspaper in a small town south of Nashville seeded his ongoing love of printing and publishing.
I have no idea what life was really like in that apartment and among the three of us. But I want to believe it was a happy time. Here’s a photo of Mama and me when I was about six months old. It looks as though it might be in a nearby park in the area or on the campus of Vanderbilt University.
Now you know that I hail from Nashville. You know my birthdate which means you also know how old I am. And you know that the first house I lived in was torn down and replaced by a recording studio.
Memories, even bittersweet ones, are better than nothing.
~Jennifer L. Armentrout, Onyx
These are my beginnings. As barefoot as I am in this photo, barefoot I would be every chance I got until I was much older. Wearing shoes is so un-Southern.
I hope to bring you more tales from Nashville as I move on with completing my memoir and begin the publishing journey.
What about you? Where were your beginnings? Is the first house you lived in still standing? Any memories you’d like to share? Join in below–I’d love to hear more about each of you.
Thanks, Sherrey, for sharing this. As always, my life has held strange synchronicities. My parents brought me – their first and only daughter – home from the hospital to their two-bedroom apartment at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Twenty-six years later, I would meet a tall, dark-haired stranger who lived in the apartment building next to the one where I was born and raised. That man, of course, turned out to be my husband, John Cavalieri. It’s a memoir moment I wish I had shared in “Again in a Heartbeat.” In any case, thank you for sharing your place of birth. I love the metaphors inherent in being born in a place now known as “music row”. . . . in terms of your relationship with your mother, which, I believe, is the focus of your memoir.
Susan, yes, synchronicities are prevalent in your life. I don’t know how much I share on this blog will end up appearing in my memoir, but I thought it a fun exercise in beginning a little early marketing. I wish I had been able to find images of the house my parents’ apartment was in, the property eliminated for the recording studios. But not all wishes are granted!
It occurs to me just now that your husband’s last name corresponds closely to the name of Ali MacGraw’s character (Jennifer Cavilleri) in the movie “Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.” I imagine you both would disagree with the words of that title.
Marian, Yes, her name in “Love Story” was Jennifer Cavalieri . . . same last name as John’s. Actually the phrase, “love means never having to your you’re sorry,” is a message I hoped to impart in my memoirs . . . when I wrote that John never asked for nor did he seek an apology from me. He knew long before I that my anger and confusion were rooted in my deep love for him and the horror of losing him . .. it was myself I had to forgive. Hope that makes sense.
Ah, the spelling is the same for both. And yes, your explanation makes sense to me. Thanks!
I was born in the home on Anchor Road my parents lived in until they died. “Anchor” reflects my solid, grounded upbringing in the Mennonite faith. Like you, I was a honeymoon baby.
Thank you for providing the first dot in the connect-the-dots story that is becoming your memoir. Music Row, Anchor Road – actually metaphors of our journeys.
What a joy, Marian, to live in the same home until you became an adult. “Anchor Road” paints a picture of just what home should be–a grounding, a place to hold fast to. And to think we were both honeymoon babies! I’m glad you enjoyed my little peek inside my life.
Sherrey, what fun. Like Marian, I was a honeymoon baby too. My parents were married on Valentines Day, 1942, in Elkton, Maryland, where young couples went to get married in a hurry. My Dad left the day after their marriage to fight in WWII.
We three, honeymoon babies, should write a book! LOL! We are, aren’t we?? A marriage starting on Valentine’s Day, a honeymoon baby, and Dad off to WWII. What a start for your parents.
Yes, Sherrey, it was quite a start and I’m sad to say that it wasn’t one of the worlds most successful marriages. War and life. It can hurt deeply. Parts of my memoir cover the tragedy of PTSD and how it effects family.
Joan, I’ll be particularly interested in reading that part of your memoir as our stepgrandson-in-law has some anger issues since serving in Iraq, but refuses to believe he could have PTSD.
Sherrey, what a good idea! I was almost born in New York City, but my English father, a commander in the Royal Navy, was transferred back to England and my highly pregnant mother sailed in a convoy – it was during WWII. I was born in an English seaside village during a bombing raid on the South Coast. My mother got all worked up, went into labor, and had me in an old people’s nursing home.
Hi Penny! Almost born in NYC but then not. I can’t imagine your mother sailing in a convoy at that stage of a pregnancy. You paint a bit of a comical picture of your birth, not the bombing raid but your mother getting all worked up and going into labor. Then having you born in a nursing home. This is too much for one woman to bear!
I love your ‘beginning’ story Sherrey. I was not a honeymoon baby; in fact I was the baby that lured my father into marrying my mother. 🙂
Debby, thanks for stopping in and sharing. I giggled at your “I was the baby that lured my father into marrying my mother.” 🙂
Glad you got a chuckle Sherrey. Lol, that’s me, raw and true. 🙂
Hi Sherrey, Great beginnings post! I’m wondering, what’s the name of your first memoir about your mother? Is it still available?
Hello Lynette, this is my first memoir. I have published some essays in anthologies in the past, but not a complete book. Sorry to disappoint!
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