What do these three songs have in common? Ruby Tuesday, Time After Time, and California Dreamin‘?

Ruby Tuesday and California Dreamin’ were both written in the 1960’s (like me), but it would be 20 years before Time After Time would be released. All were released during the winter. The artists have nothing in common that I know of (Rolling Stones, Cyndi Lauper, and The Mamas and the Papas, respectively.) The lyrics do have some commonality though, in my opinion, and that would be that the songs are reflections (musings) on the past and something that was lost. Ruby Tuesday is perhaps that elusive woman who defies categorization, and comes into your life only briefly – yet leaves this indelible imprint and a wistful longing for something intangible. Time After Time absolutely tells a story of the past and what it’s like to cling to that. Finally, California Dreamin’ has a similar theme of longing for something once known but no longer a part of the current reality. It must also be pointed out that all three of these songs inhabited my subconsciousness on a do loop for too long, plaguing me endlessly and ultimately causing me to question myself (hence the preceding post).

It occurred to me, as things often do in that background program that runs while I perform my duties at work, that these songs and the images that accompanied them have everything to do with my own past. Anybody who says “duh” at this juncture needs to hush right now! How many of you can honestly state you are 100% switched on to self awareness mode at every single moment of every single day, hmm? I’m probably more “switched on” than most people I know  Still, this realization was rather an epiphany for me, and one that (while disturbing on a level) made me feel somewhat comforted. I am a half-century old, plus a bit more, and that means there is a lot of past back there, trailing behind me like a cargo train. The only time we ever get to step into the past is through a dream state or meditation. It’s all there, in the brain’s memory banks. I would dearly love to know if memories are stored in individual honeycomb-like cells or if they are layered one on top of another like sheaves of paper. A topic for another day perhaps.

“How much longer can you hold on?” I asked of that shadow person who was cold, alone and sad. “Is it too late to save you?” These questions, when put into the context of looking at my own self, left me feeling a little anxious. Did my old self really need to be pulled out of the obscure past and into the present?  In attempting to answer this question, I found that the order of the lyrics is possibly significant. You see, when I was barely an adult (20, and technically little more than a child) I got married. After 16 years of that marriage-and dramatic personal changes- I left it behind, loading up a truck and moving away. “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, Who could hang a name on you? When you change with every new day, Still I’m going to miss you…” My ex husband has always been there, keeping the light on in a manner of speaking, if I ever wanted to come home. “If you’re lost you can look and you will find me, Time after time…” But, I had headed West to California. “All the leaves are brown, And the sky is grey, California Dreamin’ on such a winter’s day…”

Is there still some part of me that looks back to who and where I used to be, longing for the past, or is something much stranger at play?