Monday, February 01, 2010

Mary Black Days...or Just Rainy Days

I don't know about you but the last few -- wet and rainy -- days brought me back decades....right to 1971 when the Klang Valley experienced the longest rainy spell ever.

They called it the 1971 floods. It was that bad. Schools had to be closed because the high waters rendered so many places inaccessible.
Many parts of the federal highway were submerged in water. The federal highway - after the EPF and near Kampung Kerinchi - looked like a river.

It was raining everyday for nearly two weeks. Maybe longer.

Us kids, of course, stayed home and had to keep ourselves occupied.

Nope. There were no computers, nor the internet. No mobile phones. No...oh never mind.

What we had was good old fashioned fun.

Those days, we did a lot of things outdoors. Indoors, we would be reading, listening to records, or playing cards or board games.

When you're 15, you'd certainly be listening to music.

That was how my friends and I filled our time, those rainy days in '71.

Oh...those were carefree days. I was in form four. In my day, they called it the "honeymoon year". I'm sure that has not changed.
{Form four was snuggled in between Form 3 (LCE - lower certificate of education like the present-day PMR and Form 5 (MCE - Malaysian certificate of education like the present-day SPM).}

My (late) sister, Kak Eda and I had the same set of friends and they'd come around in the evenings to listen to records. Oh, have I mentioned that we did not have CDs back then.

(Records? For those of you born in the last few decades of the last century -- go ask your parents. or grandparents.)

We'd play James Taylor, Carole King, Simon and Garfunckel, Elton John, Three Dog Nite, Led Zeppelin and God-knows whatever else.

But, those rainy days, my particular favourite was James Taylor's "Fire And Rain".

Since then, rainy days would somehow bring me back to those days when Kak Eda and I would be lounging around our living room with our friends, just listening to music; to "Fire And Rain".

Until I discovered Mary Black.
Oh. Mary Black changed my life. More or less.
Her pioneering album "No Frontiers" touched me like no other had in a long time. There is so much depth and emotion in her voice, her songs. I had never been moved the way she moved me.

Listening to Mary Black puts me in a kind of emotional rollercoaster. In a pleasant, pleasing way.

It makes me happy when I am sad: rivets me when I am happy. It hits a higher note for me on rainy days, the way "Fire and Rain" had done, but in a more emotional way.

Nearly 40 years today, I still get the same nostalgic bumps on rainy days, and "Fire and Rain" never fails to play in my head.

But, the past few days, it's Mary Black that's playing in my head.

20 comments:

Baharudin said...

Salam Nuraina,
Yep! Fire & Rain really brings that nostalgic days of the 70's... in my case, "rainy days" would be musim tengkujuh in K'tan... with simple nasi panas with ikan kering goreng & budu asam limau... can't beat that... don't have it nowadays though... how time flies... take care sis & all the best to you.

bru99 said...

Salam Nuraina

Yes, a musical movie like the "SWALK" too, bring memories of that nostalgic days.

Anonymous said...

Fire & Rain ..and sad memories...
'Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone...'
It is going to be 3 years come March 7.

Anonymous said...

Fire and Rain was before my time but I can relate totally to nostalgic situations, that particular weather, the setting, the food, the music, that would bring back memories of yesteryears, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, bringing a smile or a tear...

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Nuraina,
James Taylor & Carole King are here! My Mama's bought some tickets to their shows. Soon we'll together, OK? Not much rain here though. purrr....meow!

Old Fart said...

Wow....Form 4 in 71...so was I! Although Sentul, PJ New Town was also a place to go whenever I wagged school!! (Oh that's what my kids call playing truant these days). So how come I never came across you? And I thougt I knew them all....errr..

January 4th. The first day of school. Well, I did make it to school alright, but I suppose more than half the school enrollment as well as teachers were not there. The waters were right up to the turning from Jalan Ipoh into Jalan Sentul in front of the police station. And walking through the waters like knee high somewhere in Kampung Kasipillai you could experience the under-curents as well. UMNO headquarters, PWTC site that is, was all under water. Can't imagine the cost now if that same kind of flood was to happen now!! But what was great at that time was the way everyone came out to help. Maybe the present political climate invites such a flood once again. Would probably do us all some good!!

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

baharudin,

i remember one time, my saudara in Kota Baru wrote letters to me during the floods -- usually hujung tahun. She was in Sek men Zainab. Her neighbourhood was flooded. She posted the letters to me after the floods subsided.

I remember writing about it in one of my compositions/essays.

baharudin, how come you can't have that simple nasi panas etc now?

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

bru99,

oh yes..i remember SWALK.

anon@9:26AM: ...whatever it is, must be sad.

anon@9:38AM: rainy days are like that..

C-I-S: James Taylor is bald. Aged. But his voice is still the same...

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Old fart: Hah! Finally someone who remembers the great flood...

How come you never bumped into me in PJ new town?

Assunta was the only girl school in PJ. (Oh...forgot, there was Taman Petaling. Sri Aman wasn't around yet.)

selampit said...

Whoa Kak Ena! I don't know you were into Led Zep. That was HEAVY STUFF back in '71.

YOU ROCK SIS!

I can't help but imagine how you must've looked like back in '71. You and Old Fart, I totally ENVY you guys for having to live the 70's, the days of bell-bottomed pants, Afro hairstyle, the age of "flower children" hippies, and some of the BEST MUSIC in existence.

By the way, Led Zep's "Stairway to Heaven" was released in '71.

"There's a lady who's sure

All that glitter is gold

And she's buying a stairway to heaven..."

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

selampit,

really? heavy stuff, huh?

you know my brother taught me to play the guitar when i was 10 years old. i could play Fire and Rain (plucking). also i could play L Zep's "A whole lotta love".

cool, huh?

in 1971, my hair was long in the beginning of the year, and kinda short in the middle of the year, and grew long until god-knows-when.

i wore "Love" and "Peace" t-shirts, and dungarees, blue denim. i also wore (on weekends) a peace sign kind-of medallion. rugged, konon.

and oh...my sister and i made lots of posters -- you know "make love not war", "peace" etc etc...and gave them away to friends or had them up on our bedroom walls.

and i was a george best (manchester united) fan. also had the Man U banner with his picture on my bedroom wall.

Baharudin said...

Salam Nuraina,
I suppose once one reached past half-century mark, things looked quite differently somehow (or rather one's outlook about life & the world?)... but on 2nd thought, looking at how the Rolling Stones keeps on rolling even in their 60's indicates that things don't necessarily need to change past that mark?! Anyway, bila balik K'tan these days, even during the rainy season, the "ambiance" somehow dah tak sama macam kecik2 dulu... of course we still have the nasi panas, ikan kering goreng & budu asam limau, but somehow... you know what I mean...

Old Fart said...

Maybe you were goody good two shoes and you could smell a Sentul rat a mile away....

halim said...

Hi Nuraina. I was in Form 3 in 1971, studying in JB. Used to listen to Carole King's Tapestry all the time, especially So Far Away. Lovely bass runs and flute solo. Sigh, those were the days ya?

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

baharudin,

oh yes...i know what you mean. indeed.

:-)

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

old fart,

i wasn't wild. with a dad like bapak, don't think that was possible. but, goody two shoes -- hmm, far from that too.

you know, we might have "met" each other without really knowing it -- there were fun fairs in schools in KL and that's how we'd meet kids from other schools.....

sentul boys...hmmmm

NURAINA A SAMAD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NURAINA A SAMAD said...

halim,

you my generation-lah. of coruse i know carole king's tapestry. i bought the album too.

you know, at that time, JB was considered happening to us PJ kids.

my brother-in-law (abang ani) is from JB. Also, my late cousin (dato kadir sameon) was a civil servant in JB. We liked visiting JB those days. Budak2 JB really happening. it was a JB friend who introduced dungarees to us. in Pj,

Old Fart said...

You see, those days, when it came to Sentul boys..all antennas went up. Some more you PJ girl!! And that alone would have been good enough reason for many a girl's dad not approving of the boy from Sentul!! Somehow he had to qualify to get out of that place...Ah...what lost opportunities!!! No la, I don't think we ever met. We'd have remembered!! Am sure I would have worked hard at making an impression, if not a bloody fool of myself!!

halim said...

JB was considered happening? Really? And I just couldnt wait to go up to PJ...heh heh.