Not Quite Cher! (OK, Not Even Close!)

Memory is complex. There is the layer of what actually happened. There is the event as you perceive it. Then there is the overlying stimuli of the portrayal of others. Then you combine them and they become fuzzy. Sometimes it’s difficult to separate absolute truth from a version of it. Whose to say what is correct?

I remember as children my sister and I being obsessed with Sonny and Cher. I must have been about seven or eight which put her about twelve. We had a piano that neither of us could pound out much more than “chop sticks”. Nor were we chorus material. However, we had our dreams. And for some reason, we seemed to be attracted to stars which appalled our parents. The only time we listened to what we considered their honkey tonk music was to make fun of it…unless of course, we were stuck in a car with them.

For many years a crystal punch bowl, ladle, and cups rested upon the top of the piano. I think that was my mothers assurance that it wouldn’t get broken. I mean what kids would ever think of romping over the piano? Certainly not us, yeah right! It just so happened the piano blocked the closet beneath the staircase. The staircase that held unquestionable treasures for our young imaginations. Just so you can rest easy, we never broke the bowl, and only chipped a cup or two, or maybe three or four.

Anyway, back to Sonny and Cher, and memories. I remember my sister banging at the keys while I stretched across the top of the piano in all my Cher garb. Since I didn’t have that long slinging black hair, I would fasten a towel around my head with a clothes pin in the back. I would flip my towel from shoulder to shoulder and smile really big. The closest thing we had to slinky sequined clothes were bathing suits and old prom dresses from a cousin, so I’m not quite sure what I did there. Knowing me, I probably wore a halter top and rolled up my shorts. I would scream out “Half-Breed” or “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” while I struck what I considered a sexy pose across the piano top. For a visual, be mindful that this was not a baby grand but one of those uprights. (yes, I climbed from the bench straight up the keys to the top.) We’d switch places and then we’d act out the Sonny and Cher duet “I’ve Got You, Babe.” using the microphone from our portable tape recorder.

I tried to find a you tube video of Cher on the piano….no luck. This brings me to the thought as to whether this is a real memory or one I’ve conjured in my mind. Or maybe we were copying another singing couple along with Sonny and Cher. The only other one I can think of is Captain and Tennille and if memory serves me correctly here, she was maybe not as wild (she got my mother’s approval where as Cher did not!) and I think the time reference might be a bit later.

I’ve found that many of my memories differ from my siblings, and even some of theirs differ. Maybe it was my perception since I was younger and smaller or maybe we each remember what we want to and reinvent the rest. We do get a kick out of comparing our notes of the past.

Needless to say neither my sister nor I grew up to be famous concert pianists or singers, nor do either of us sport around in skimpy sequined clothing….at least, I don’t. Maybe, I’ll have to check out what she’s doing behind my back!

Not Cher, but my sister and I all grown up!

****NOTE: After posting this my friend found the video of Cher on the piano. It is an upright piano and the song is “Vamp”. See, I didn’t make up that memory after all!

44 thoughts on “Not Quite Cher! (OK, Not Even Close!)

  1. Oh the fun in dressing up & pretending, lovely photo of you both — no sequined clothes though… the piano we had an upright , beautiful old piano — gone, but not forgotten, you have some wonderful fond memories growing up in with family,

    Joanny

    my post today has a video clip on a 52 second piano scene… you might find it very amusing,,,, I wish I would have thought of it when I was young,,, although .. .

  2. I love this photo of you.
    BTW, I know what you mean about memory, John Irving says it very well:

    “So we dream on. Thus we invent our lives. We give ourselves a sainted mother, we make our father a hero; and someone’s older brother and someone’s older sister – they become our heroes too. We invent what we love and what we fear. There is always a brave lost brother – and a little lost sister, too. We dream on and on: the best hotel, the perfect family, the resort life. And our dreams escape us almost as vividly as we can imagine them… That’s what happens, like it or not. And because that’s what happens, this is what we need: we need a good, smart bear… Coach Bob knew it all along: you’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed. You have to keep passing the open windows.”
    — John Irving (The Hotel New Hampshire)

    and:

    “Your memory is a monster; you forget – it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you – and summons them to your recall with will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!”
    — John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)

    Sorry about the long comment, but I thought you’d enjoy the quotes. xxx

  3. For as long as I can remember, as an only child, my books were my friends. Funny that such an extrovert as I am now, I was such a solitary child, living in my imagination. However that buffered much of the pain I felt as the only child of two alcoholic parents. They weren’t unkind to me, but they became strangers every time they drank.

    Still, I do remember family outings that were great fun, like the three of us going out in the cabin boat my dad built to go fishing. And my miscast catching Dad in the middle of his back. The air was blue while he got it out, but he laughed about it afterwards and gave me some much-needed rod casting lessons. I was about 8 at the time.

    I don’t have anyone to compare notes with, but I think my memory of the event was fairly accurate. What my memory does, however, is lose huge stretches of time in my life, and hardly ever reveals it to me again. Ah well, perhaps at some point I will end up with more happy memories than otherwise.

    Nice post, Suzi, and very evocative.

    • The good thing is that no one can argue with your memories! I loved reading, too. My nephew got my BIL with a hook when he was about that age…don’t think his dad was quite that calm…had to go to the doc to have it removed!

  4. Yes (everyone remembers differently, because we see from our own prespective, yes?). That is why I love those shows (like a TV sitcom) where one character tells you the story then another says, “Now this is what REALLY happened . . . ) and it is TOTALLY different.

    Thank you for telling us right away that you didn’t damage the bowl. The second I read that I thought, “Uh-oh, stress filled reading.” 🙂

    I LOVE Sonny and Cher. (We saw her in Las Vegas, she was awesome! She did a Sonny tribute.)

    What a kick. Walking down memory lane. Thanks. Fun to hear about yours!

  5. The sibling relationship is truly special, huh, Suzicate? Nobody else can empathize with us like sibs can, nobody laughs at the same jokes or understands the same secrets. And even if we remember things differently, what fun comparing notes!

    • Not unless you want to chase everyone away!!!!! We could do our Sonny and Cher routine and lip sync!!!!!! I’ll wear a towel over my head (and face!) but I refuse to wear a skimpy sequined Cher costume!!!!

  6. What a sweet post of childhood fun. I was drawn to Sonny and Cher, too. My mother liked them, too. My mom was always a kid at heart.

    It’s interesting the way our childhood memories vary from those of our siblings. My sister and I remember different things that happened. Some of my memories she doesn’t recall at all and some of hers are gone from my mind entirely. Blessings to you, Suzi…

    • One such memory I had, my sister could not recall….I kept telling her about this huge log we used to climb on and jump over…my brother brought it to my attention that it was a pipe not a log, then my sister remembered the game we used to play. I was only about five (it looked like a log to me) and my brother was seventeen so he remembered it was a pipe….and of course I thought it was way higher off the ground than it was…everything appeared much larger to me! And blessing to you, Carol.

  7. This post made me smile because I’d do the same thing.

    I’d take a huge bath towel, and wrap it around my head and fasten with long bobby pins..and I WAS CHER.

    The best part? We had black towels. (it was the 60’s)

    Thanks for the memory trigger.

  8. I loved Sonny and Cher too. I thought they were hysterical. And Cher was so glam! Of course, I’m not known in some circles for my good taste. I can see you and Peg doing this. (Even now.)

    • I guess whether the memories are real or not they can entertain us! Last night my friend did find a youtube video of Cher sprawled across the piano singing,,,so maybe I really did remember much of it!

  9. This post brought back such fun memories of my childhood. My siblings and I used to act out Tony Orlando and Dawn. I also loved the Sonny and Cher show. But no way would we have had the guts to climb all over the piano.

  10. GREAT picture of you and your sis. I remember recording my own voice on my parents’ stereo while my sister pretended to be the audience…my songs had very interesting titles like “Picture on the Wall.” It was about a picture…that hung on a wall. I remember thinking it would be a hit. My sister doesn’t quite have the same memory.

    • Childhood memories can bring back such good feelings even if they differ fromour sisters. And I”m sure your song would have been a hit if you’d climbed on the pinao to belt it out!

  11. I think your mom should have been happy you imitated Cher rather than Dolly Parton 🙂

    It is interesting how 2 people in the same situation recite very different memories of the the event. We all have different perspectives and focus on different details. Sometimes it makes me wonder if I just dreamed some of my memories up in my sleep!

    I love th picture of you and your sister – you guys look so happy.

  12. Suzi was a scamp, a camp, a tramp and a bit of a V~A~M~P! 😉

    On memories:

    When we store memories . . . we do NOT store them whole. Smells go one place, sights go into another location, sounds go into a different file.

    When we “recreate” the past from our memories, bits and pieces are missing. Since our brains don’t like incomplete jigsaw puzzles, we fill in the missing data by making it up! It happens so fast that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. 😀

    FUN post!

    • Ineresting info…didn’t not know things were stored separately…explains why my head’s all jumbled up, well maybe it doesn’t exactly explain it, but it gives me an excuse!

  13. I love that your friend found the video. Yep that makes me remember it a little more! Do you remember those red pumps that I had I think from Big Mama? Maybe you wore those? LOL

    • I remember those shoes…loved them. You got them much later when you were older. And you didn’t let me wear them…I snuck them and tried them on when you weren’t home!

  14. Pingback: Mr. Peep OUT Tom « Square Peg in a Round Hole

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