Sunday, January 3, 2016

To Jennifer, Wherever She Is

Thirty-four years ago as a freshman in college I made some amazing friends. Some I still have (thankfully!) and some I've lost. One I lost is Jennifer. She lived on my floor, was a musician -- a singer and guitarist. She had long red hair and a bold personality, but also a sad depth in her soul. I liked her a lot. On September 2, 1981, I sat in my room with the window open. She sat in her room a few doors down, playing her guitar and singing. I wrote this (very bad, but normal for a 17 year old) poem:

A Few Doors Down

Your haunting notes flowed through my window
On the back of the chilling mist.
There was a mellow warmth in your tone;
I knew you were singing all alone.

I took in all those lines you'd kissed
And blown out to the world.
You stopped, but I still heard them
For I'd taken them as my own.

I  don't know what Jenny was singing that day, but it was probably something she'd written. I probably shared the poem with her, a kind of reciprocal gift, and I imagine I was silly enough think it worth sharing, and she was silly enough to think it good. And if you were ever a student at Covenant College, you probably know exactly what kind of day it was, when that cloudy mist that shrouds the campus and blots out the world slides through your window and begins to take over your room. I loved that school, but the weather was formidable.

Jennifer graduated that May and I lost touch with her. The one time I saw her after that, while I was still at the college, she seemed distant and changed. Angry, lost. And as we often do with people who change on us, I held onto the Jenny I'd known, and I did that by keeping her music.

One evening we two sat in the dilapidated wooden building that passed for the college's practice rooms, looking over a song she'd written called "Moonbeam."
Jenny wasn't a great music writer but she had heart. Most of the piece is clunky and poorly written. She wanted me (a pianist of sorts) to embellish and improve it, which was way beyond me. But I kept the piece because I keep things. I've had it for thirty-four years. I pull it out every few years and play through it. It has one especially beautiful portion that (for me) redeems all the rest.
The only way to share it with you is with a recording, which I will attempt to do. If I succeed in posting it here, please forgive its poor quality. I hope you can hear the lovely interplay of piano and vocal lines. It's simple, but really lovely. The poem is by Wm. Zieglar. I can find nothing of him online. Jenny wrote the music.
video

To Jennifer, wherever you are, I want you to know that your music made a deep impression and continues to do so. Music does that. Poetry does that.

Moonbeam

If I were the sunlight
Through your window in the morning I'd shine.
But then I'd miss you in the night,
And that's my favorite time.
If I were a moonbeam
Glowing from above,
I'd shine my way into your dreams
And offer you my love. 
Offer you my love.
Love is all I have to give.

5 comments:

  1. What a lovely voice you have, and what a beautiful, haunting piece of music and words that Jennifer wrote.

    Thank you for sharing ~ FlowerLady

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  2. You sing very nice. : ) Jennifer's song is lovely and haunting.

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  3. I love it! It has a beautiful flow and lilt to it! It's really lovely to hear your voice!x

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  4. So cool! I hope she hears it somehow. It brought back memories of my late teens, composing Jesus songs on my guitar. :)

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  5. This is a powerful post. We lose touch with people too frequently. I am believing that our Heavenly Daddy will help you find Jennifer again and that it will be the renewal of something special in both of you. For those like her who seemed, as you put it, distant and changed, it becomes even more important to reach out again. My college roommate at MSU during our freshman and sophomore years is still a good friend; we communicate now via e mail and Facebook.

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Hello! I hope you leave a word ~ I will get back to it as soon as I can!