She was born at the end of August, eighth in a very large family. Life was not kind to her, and she died when she was in her sixties. The best image I retain of her is that of a very beautiful woman, thin, blonde with green eyes and in her forties.
She was the one who made me love rock music. She liked all kinds of music but she used to listen to a very interesting radio programme that featured all the hottest bands of the time. It was the 1960s-70s when The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendricks and others were riding the crest of a wave with their hits.
These were the years of students and youth protests in a struggle for human rights that spread throughout the world. At that time, rock music was used to raise awareness among young people against consumerism. The famous “flower children” were born, a movement of young people who gathered in San Francisco to invite people from all over the world to participate in the so-called “Summer of Love”.
Those young people wore and distributed flowers or flower decorations to symbolize peace and love and to oppose the Vietnam War. These were the years of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival in California, followed a few years later by the famous Woodstock Rock Festival which took place, in 1969, in Bethel, New York.
I was too young to realise that my mother was an idealist, she was so sensitive to human rights and anti-war issues. And she thought that music was the right medium to make people understand the importance of peace and love.
In the early 1970s, the famous song “Here’s to You”, dedicated to Sacco and Vanzetti, the Italian immigrants in the United States who were unjustly executed in the 1920s, became so famous, thanks to Joan Baez’s voice, that all young people sang it as a symbol of the struggle against injustice. My mother and I together used to sing it all the time.
In the 1970s she seemed to really like Still, Nash and Young. It was love at first sight. Not knowing how to speak English, she decided to put a sign on the cover of the album she liked best, like Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold”. And when, years later, the number of bands she was fond of increased, I found many other signs on many albums that I kept for a very long time to remember her.
She was the one who made me love nature and made me fall in love with the most beautiful flowers: the pink lily, geraniums, red roses.
She had good taste in dressing, in pastel or dark colors, but she was always very elegant. One day she arrived with a beautiful gift: two sets of T-shirts, one light blue and the other pink. And she made me the happiest child on earth. She was my rainbow.
I like to remember her like this, her fair skin radiating from the sun, and her smiling happily. My muse of music!
© 2022 Dr Maria Sannino