30 day song challenge, day 5: a song that reminds you of someone

Generally, songs remind me of specific places that I’ve been, or very specific times in my life, so thinking of a song that reminds me of someone was a little tricky. However, after giving it some thought, one song filtered to the top of the list above the others:

Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel.

The song reminds me of my Grandma. This requires a little explanation. For a long time, the song reminded me of standing out in front of their house in Spring Valley, NY, standing in the grass overlooking Old Nyack Turnpike and watching cars go by. It was the late ’70s, I was maybe five or six years old. I heard the song somewhere, probably the car radio and I associated it with their house. For many years, I never heard the song again, and years later, when I did hear it, I once again associated it with fond memories of my grandparent’s house.

On April 21, 1997, my Grandma died after a lightning quick battle with lung cancer. I was out in New York to be with her for her last two weeks or so. She had some pretty good days and I remember we took her to the doctor’s office one day. She went into see the doctor and I waited in the lobby. While she was in with the doctor, “Just the Way You Are” came on the radio. It was just a coincidence, of course, but it also happened that I associated that song with my grandparent’s house. It was only a few days later that my Grandma died. Ever since, I’ve associated that song with her more than their old house.

Published by Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.