A Favorite Returns

Via BoingBoing.net: Free to Be… You and Me: the 35 Anniversary Edition: the book every kid needs

Free to Be… You and Me was, hands-down, my favorite album as a child. My brother, sister, and I listened to it constantly when we were growing up, and like Cory Doctorow in the article above, I continued to play it quite a bit when I was older, too. (In fact, I have a mix tape at home from my best friend from high school, and I know that Glad to Have a Friend Like You from Free to Be… is one of the tracks on it.)

That it was an important — even formative — part of our childhood became clear on a car ride home from my parents’ house with my sister-in-law and older nephew a few years back, when I played Free to Be… You and Me on my iPod to keep him occupied. Jen was unfamiliar with it, but I told her it was something we all had listened to constantly growing up. The album was only about halfway through when she said, in a slightly awestruck tone, something along the lines of, “This explains so much. So, so much. Not just about you, but about Brian, too.”

And it’s true. Though I hesitate to be too kind to my brother in a public forum, he does seem to me to hold up his half of household work and child rearing a lot better than many guys I know. A lot of that comes from our parents’ example, of course, but I do think a childhood filled with feminist/humanist propaganda set to catchy tunes didn’t hurt, either.

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(In the interest of full disclosure: I originally wrote some of this post as a comment on Sionna’s blog when she posted about finding her Free to Be… You and Me songbook. I remembered it — and therefore thought I had already written about my Free to Be… You and Me love — but it turned out it wasn’t on my own blog.)

6 thoughts on “A Favorite Returns

  1. Mom November 20, 2008 / 12:54 pm

    Oh, the words ring in my ears! 35 years — yup, that would me you practically cut your teeth on this!! I am so glad this is still around and “alive & well”. Loon & Susan grew up on it too — I think it was their Mom that introduced us to the albumn. Don’t you or Eileen have the original? You “five” are proof that it was an amazingly good influence 🙂

  2. common loon November 20, 2008 / 1:51 pm

    Middle nephew just watched the baby skit and wants more. The whole thing is on you-tube, should anyone crave the images. I just remember some (not all) of the songs. Might be time to revisit some of that. Yet I have any lyric ever sung by John Denver permanently imprinted in my mind.

  3. Susan November 20, 2008 / 4:47 pm

    I have the record…yes the record…and just played it on a (gasp!) record player for my third graders. It was a hit…gotta love that ol’ Agatha Fry and the saying “Ladies first”!

  4. Mom November 20, 2008 / 4:49 pm

    Ditto “JD”

    And yes, with 3 little male Loons, you will want to re-visit particularly the Carol Channing “sing-songy” reading, which as I recall goes something like this, “…little boys and little girls, when you grow up to be husbands and wives, REMEMBER when there’s housework to be done, do it together!!!”

  5. Eileen November 20, 2008 / 11:52 pm

    I have the CD, and I believe I bought Sarah one too. It used to be on my iPod, but I’m doubting that it is at this particular moment as I loaned my Pod to darling hubby and he obliterated most of its contents (is in the process of rebuilding most of my play lists which somehow got killed). Anyway, FTBY&M is a must have for all kids!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane and the reminder of one more thing that needs fixin on the Pod.

  6. Hillary November 21, 2008 / 10:35 am

    OMG. What memories that brings back. I too loved Free to be… I’ll have to see if i can dig it up when i get home.

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