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How a Father Built a Home With Only His Hands

By the title, you might imagine that I am about to tell you about the hard laboring, weathered hands of the man I call Daddy. You’re right. My father earned a living with his hands but not as a carpenter or builder, as you may think. He was, and still is to this day, a professional musician, singer and songwriter. He provided for our family by touring the east coast playing everywhere from fancy venues to seedy nightclubs. Music is his life and, in turn, the core of our family.

Our series of posts on how music shapes a home brings us to the following post from my co-worker, Renee Savoy, who not only works for Coldwell Banker but also knows how to work a microphone like few others I’ve met. 

By the title, you might imagine that I am about to tell you about the hard laboring, weathered hands of the man I call Daddy. You’re right. My father earned a living with his hands but not as a carpenter or builder, as you may think. He was, and still is to this day, a professional musician, singer and songwriter. He provided for our family by touring the east coast playing everywhere from fancy venues to seedy nightclubs. Music is his life and, in turn, the core of our family.

This lifestyle often came at a high price. It meant he wasn’t home for long stretches of time. I can remember from as young as the age of four, running into my Daddy’s arms when he burst through the door of our house with his guitar case in hand! That case seemed enormous to me then and it had his initials, S W, in gold script lettering on it. That case meant Daddy was home. And it wouldn’t be very long before he would pull that guitar out of its magical case and play for and with us, filling our home with music and laughter.

My most vivid and heart-warming memories of my childhood home are of the music that filled it and overflowed from it. Daddy could write songs on the fly about any topic at all. But he also wrote serious songs about life and morality, as well as passionate love songs. He wrote a special song for each of his four children that bring tears to the eyes. Now this may sound like a love fest for my Dad and it may well be, but what makes him even cooler was his desire to expose me to all genres and types of music and artists. His vinyl (you kids can Google that) collection was extensive, diverse and downright eclectic.

I remember Dad sending me to the local music store to buy “needles” for the “record player”. Yeah, I’m showing my age but it’s worth it in this case. I was fortunate enough to live practically next door to my grammar school and my most favorite thing was coming home for lunch each day when Dad wasn’t on the road and having him play me a new piece of music. Monday: the Eagles. Tuesday: Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. Wednesday: Larry Carlton. Thursday: Earth Wind & Fire. Friday: The Beatles. You get the picture? What made this exercise truly inspiring was he would have me sit with my eyes closed and really listen. Then he would ask me how the song made me “feel”.  No matter what I heard, it always made me feel. And those feelings will forever mean home to me.

And then there is Christmas – the most musically holy of holidays in my family. I have not missed a single Christmas Eve sing along with my family in my entire life. Dad sets up “his equipment” and records the entire evening. Just this past Christmas Eve, we listened back to our Christmas of 1973. All of us gathered around Daddy and his guitar singing every wonderful Christmas song. It was apparent then, that I had been bitten by the performing bug as my voice is all over that tape! Yes, that’s right, I said tape because it was originally recorded on a Teac reel to reel tape recorder and later transferred to digital.

The sound of those original recordings is so warm and it brings me right back to my childhood home and the smells of the tree and candles and tangerines. Music has that unique ability to transcend time and allows us to close our eyes and be children again in our living rooms of the homes we grew up in.

Today, my own family is rooted in music. I am a singer, my husband a drummer and my son an aspiring guitar hero! We have an extensive, diverse and downright eclectic iTunes collection. The technology may have changed, but the music will always be at the heart of our home. Someday, when he builds his own home, I will write about my son’s hands.

Husband. Father. Socializer. Mets Lifer. TV Afficianado. Consumer Engager.

David Marine is the Vice President of Brand Engagement for Coldwell Banker where he oversees the brand’s content strategy including acting as managing editor for the Coldwell Banker blog and heading up video production efforts. While Vice President by day, David runs a three ring circus at night as he is the father of 4 boys. He also happens to be married to Wonder Woman. True story.

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