Mary's musical life: The Summer of Love to glam rocking in the '70s
When you're a teenager during the Summer of Love you're sure to make some unforgettable musical memories.
Mary's dementia diagnosis
I was referred to the Memory Assessment Service in March 2022, and was seen by a nurse who then discussed my case with a consultant psychiatrist; he then requested that I had a neuropsychological assessment. This took place in June 2022.
In March 2023 I was given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia. This was based on neuropsychological testing and a brain scan. I then commenced on medication and had a telephone consultation with the consultant psychiatrist and home visits from nurses, which was most appreciated, before my case was transferred to my GP practice in June 2023.
I now have a lanyard which I wear when I may need to explain my memory and speaking problems, which informs that I have Alzheimer’s. On the other side, the lanyard has a card regarding the arrangements that have been made for me to donate my brain after I die. My attitude to this is that after I die, I will not need my brain, so if it will help medical science, all the better!
Discovering Music for My Mind
The music on my Music for my Mind playlist has lasting memories from the suggested age range of 14 years to 22-years-old. It was from the end of 1966 to the end of 1975, when I became 23.
"This – I am finding – is marvellous. I have a much better memory for the music on my ‘Music for my Mind’ playlist than I have for the recent music that I also love."
A musical journey begins
I went away to boarding school between 1964-1969 and music did mean a lot to us girls. These are the years of ‘pop culture’. We all used to watch ‘The Monkees’ on Saturday night television, and their songs bring back memories of us being crowded into the room with a TV.
‘I’m a Believer’ is on my playlist because it was No 1 in the UK charts in January and February 1967. I got a detention because I was late for a Sunday worship that started when the number 1 was played at the end of the programme.
But although we liked pop culture, a friend of mine (who hung out with motorbike lads when at home) and I more favoured music by the Rolling Stones and The Doors, which remind me of her, so I also put some early Rolling Stones on my playlist.
The Summer of Love and beyond...
1967 was the ‘Summer of Love’ and there was a big gathering of hippies in San Francisco’s neighbourhood of Haight-Ashbury. We all bought psychedelic dresses and danced to hippie music.
When I left boarding school and went to the local High School for A-levels, I have very strong memories of walking to school and my friend singing ‘Oh Chi Chi’ at the start of Mungo Jerry’s ‘In the Summertime’. It is on my playlist and always makes me smile!
When I left home to train a nurse, I missed playing the piano. You had to book in to use a piano so I bought myself an acoustic guitar that I could play in my room and remember playing an old ‘Animals’ hit ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ by ear.
I can still remember the chords I used now. But when I met my husband (when I was 23, just about to be 24 years of age), he told me that I had not quite got it right. So, I corrected it! We both still play guitar and keyboards but it is finding time!
The '70's - into the Glam Rock era
Then the 1970s saw the start of ‘Glam Rock’ and pictures of me at the time show how I was suitably dressed! I listened to David Bowie, Slade and Sweet. I had Bowie and other rock acts like Status Quo (‘Caroline’ is on my playlist) on my bedroom wall. I have Bowie’s ‘Fame’ and ‘Dimond Dogs’ on my playlist.
When my friend was 21 in 1973, we went to her party and the DJ kept playing ‘Slade’s’ ‘Merry Xmas Everyone’ again and again as it was just after Christmas. Happy memories.
I also liked Suzi Quatro (Can the Can and Devil Gate Drive), Janis Joplin (Mercedes Benz, Piece of my Heart, Me and Bobby McGee) and Kris Kristofferson and have them on my playlist. I have ‘Pilgrim Chapter 33’ on my playlist but remember my mother disliking me singing the lyrics because of words that she didn’t like!
Meeting her musical match
When I met my husband at the end of 1976, we found that we had so much in common in our taste of music and still do have. He loved suggesting tracks for Music for my Mind. ‘Sly and the Family Stone’ ‘Dance to the Music’ and ‘Golden Earring’ ‘Radar Love’ came from him and he still loves Janis Joplin’s and Bob Dylan’s music.
The first time I met him, it was in a pub and I was with my friend (still is my friend) and she was dating a lad who was with his friend. His friend watched me choose some music on the Juke Box and it was mainly Bowie. So, he put the money in. Later, he told me that if he hadn’t liked my choice – he hated ‘Disco’ – he would not have paid for the Juke Box or dated me!