Take This Tune

Posted: Monday, April 30, 2012 by Travis Cody in

My pal Jamie over at Duward Discussion has brought back a great meme called Take This Tune.  It's easy to play.  Jamie provides a musical prompt each week, usually a video with the song lyrics.  The task is to write something inspired by the song or something in the lyrics.

Jamie put the meme on hiatus a year ago February.  I'm glad to see it back and I hope some of you will play along once in awhile.  I've always considered this game to be a great way to combine music and writing.  Or music and photography.  Or music and more music.

You get my drift. 

The prompt for this week is Feels Like Home, a song from the Randy Newman musical Faust.  

Jamie has impeccable timing.  My grandmother passed 26 years ago...21 April 1986.  Jump in the Wayback Machine with me now and I'll tell you a little bit about my Gram.  This essay was originally posted in 2007, and again in 2011.  Oddly enough, that 2011 post was for another Take This Tune prompt. 

When I was about 10, my parents divorced and my younger sister and I were raised by our single mom.  We lived about an hour and a half from my grandmother, and so we made lots of weekend trips over to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit.  They were like mini vacations for us.  We would laugh and sing in the car during the entire drive.

I remember the time we tried to take a short cut through Hayward to get to the San Mateo Bridge.  We ended up lost!  If there was a way to lose a large body of water like a bay and a huge bridge...we found it!  But such were our little adventures.

Editor's note:  I have inherited that trait.  Just after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, while driving late at night in downtown San Francisco, I managed to lose the Bay Bridge.  But that's a story for another trip in the Wayback Machine. 

Anyway, that shortcut turned out to be the best thing because we passed right by a 7-Eleven convenience store on a side street.  Once we figured out the short cut, we almost always used it and Mom would give in to our begging and stop for Slurpees.  Not always, but more often than not.  If she didn't, we'd have to wait until we got to Gram's.

My sister and I were Slurpee-holics in those days.

Gram was the best.  She was a fireplug of a redhead and she was so much fun when I was a kid.  She'd take us down to Tanforan Mall in San Bruno.  We'd have adventures in parking.  She'd drive and drive around the side lot next to the Sears entrance to the mall, waiting for "her" spot to open up right near the front.  My sister and I would play scout from the backseat, keeping an eye on the entrance and watching for people heading to their cars.  And then, just like that, Gram's spot would open up and she'd swing the big Caddy in like a pro.

Honestly!  Can you imagine a woman all of 4'9" wrangling a huge 1970's model Cadillac around a parking lot?

After our triumph in parking, we'd walk into the mall through Sears.  This was my first experience with any large shopping mall.  Gram would always take us to the toy store and the pet store.  Sometimes she'd need to stop at a shoe store, and she always picked the one next to Waldenbooks so we could browse while she got her shoes.  Sometimes we'd get a prize for being patient...a new Hardy Boys book for me and a Trixie Belden or Bobbsey Twins for my sis.

Then we'd head over to the Walgreen's.  Now back in those days at Tanforan, the Walgreen's was more than just a place where Gram could get her necessaries, as she called them.  Once in awhile we'd get new coloring books and the small boxes of new Crayola crayons.  Of course we'd lust after the big box of 64 with the built-in sharpener, but that was always reserved for a holiday or birthday gift.

But the Walgreen's...it was a drug store like it is today, but it also had a cafe/restaurant!  My sister and I were always on our best behavior with limited fidgeting and whining during the shopping phase of our outing, because we knew that after all that good behavior we'd get grilled cheese and hot fudge sundaes at the Walgreen's cafe/restaurant.

The best thing though...the ultimate...the grandest thing about going to Gram's was that she lived around the corner from a 7-Eleven.  Can you imagine anything better for a couple of Slurpee-holics?  After a day of racing Big Wheels down the big hill, or building Legos and Tinker Toys in the backyard, or drawing and coloring on the big dining room table, Gram would hand us a dollar and send us around the corner for Slurpees.

Yeah...back then you could get 2 Slurpees for a buck. 

My grandmother has been gone for more than 25 years now.  My grandfather just sold the house this year so he could move into a smaller place with more immediate onsite care and attention.  I'm a little sad about that, but all things change.

My aunt and uncle still live one block over from that house.  So now it's a two block walk to get to that same 7-Eleven. 

So what feels like home, now that the old house is no longer part of our family?


Memories of my redheaded spitfire Gram, and Caddy wrangling in a parking lot, and Walgreen's grilled cheese and hot fudge sundaes, and Crayola crayons, and getting lost as an adventure, and Slurpees.

Memories are always home.


  1. Akelamalu says:

    What wonderful memories Trav. :)

  1. Thank you for taking part. I hope others "Tell Me A Story" and link to Take This Tune. If anyone has a suggestion for a piece of music they would like to use, just send me a note. I did a post on all the places that have NOT felt like home.

  1. What a nice tribute to you gram and good memories to boot!

  1. Jean says:

    I love this post for so many reasons. I adore your grandma. She indeed sounds like a spitfire and I can so see the Cadillac thing.

    It brought back memories of my childhood. Mom and dad dressing us up and taking us to sears. Occasionally we'd come out with some caramel corn or have a hot dog for lunch.

    And the books-- I was a nancy drew girl!

    It also brought memories of my best friend's mom, mrs Schwartz, who took us to Kmart for frozen cokes. We didn't have seven elevens in Ohio.

    Thanks for the smile... And the memories!

  1. Linda says:

    Wow, I can't tell you how much I totally enjoyed reading this post as it brought back memories of outings with my own grandparents. Granted, neither one of them lived anywhere even close to a 7-Eleven so there were no Slurpees but that brought back memories of when we lived down the road from one in New Mexico and my three brothers and I used to walk down to get Slurpees whenever we had a little extra money.

    Good times!

    Nice to see that Jamie has revived her meme, too; I'll have to see if I can fit in some time to play along one of these weeks.

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    Oh how I would love to get lost in San Fran. Never been but it's on my bucket list.
    Blue slurpy is my fave ;)

  1. Trav: My granddaughter wanted me to thank you for your slurpee post, because I took her out for one yesterday after school and told her a bit of what you said about your grandmother.

  1. TopChamp says:

    I can picture it now! Love it. Was this the start of the cars thing? It's like the leggs thing, right?