Celebrating the Music
in Our Lives


By Jeanne Hollabaugh, Arizona H&V (AZHV)

I was cleaning out the junk that makes up the bottom of my closet. I found my planner from 2003 but just couldn’t throw it out; there could be something really important in there that I hadn’t needed for the past eight years! Indeed, I found a note reminding me to send Eric’s speech therapist the lyrics to the songs from The Wizard of Oz and a journal entry at that time.

Jan 12, 2003

Eric performing in the
Wizard of Oz

“When I found out at two weeks old that Eric had a profound hearing loss, I had no idea what to expect. At seven years old, he is obsessed with watching The Wizard of Oz and reads all the captions. He memorizes the songs and wants all the lyrics so he can work on them in speech class. He stands and performs “Come out, come out, wherever you are. And meet the young lady who fell from a star.” And when I hear that song, I know that the sky is the limit for Eric. I feel so proud of him.”

“My husband, Jim, and I have always loved music.  He bought a guitar in Spain before we were married and in those early dreams of a bride-to-be, I envisioned my future kids being as much into music as we were as kids. That dream took a dramatic hairpin turn when I found out that Michael, at 18 months, couldn’t hear. Shortly after that, our choir was singing Christmas carols under the snow in downtown Ellensburg. Then came “Silent Night.” A power outside myself moved me to step forward and sign the song in ASL as Jim held our swaddled son in the audience. That would be the way baby Michael might appreciate music. Twelve years later, Michael sings along with his favorite Broadway musicals. I’m so happy and proud of him. And I can go to my grave in peace knowing that I won’t have to hear “Good Morning, Baltimore” again. “

“Sweet Baby James was my first album. I came to find out that it had been Jim’s first album as well. How wondrous is that connection to the music of our youth. We got married, had kids, and the busy-ness of life had me listening less and less to James Taylor. Just the other day, our first born son (now a teenager) was signing along to “Fire and Rain” on his computer and asked if I knew this song. James Taylor was back full force in my life. We three went to hear JT in concert. It was joyous to be with my son and my husband enjoying the same music.”

Flash forward to 2011. Our oldest son sang “Fire and Rain” and dedicated it to Jim and me at his college graduation. Michael is currently a senior at the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University and still into musicals. Eric, a junior in high school, is a prolific poet, writer and performer. The von Trapp family we are not, but music has a bond that we share as a family.

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