Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weave Me the Sunshine

We've lost another talented performer. Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul and Mary passed away yesterday after a long battle with leukemia.

I don't often comment on the passing of well-known personalities, but this time it feels like a personal loss. I grew up on the music of Peter, Paul and Mary. Their songs are so entangled with my youth, it's almost like a soundtrack to my memories. We sang their songs around the campfire - Lemon Tree, 500 miles, If I Had a Hammer, Puff the Magic Dragon.

We often speculated on the true meaning of Puff - did it refer to marijuana smoke, perhaps? - but I was lucky enough to meet Noel "Paul" Stookey when I was in college, and got the chance to ask him. He said that it was simply a song about the bittersweet experience of growing up, and wondered why we all had become so cynical. We are proud to include Stookey as a Maine resident. He and his wife live in Blue Hill, Maine and operate a recording studio out of their converted chicken coop.

My favorite Peter, Paul and Mary song is one of my go-to songs when I need a mood adjustment: Weave Me the Sunshine. It is on my Ipod, and my kids and I sing along with great abandon whenever we hear it.

Weave, weave, weave me the sunshine out of the fallin' rain!
Weave me the hope of a new tomorrow and fill my cup again!

I loved Peter, Paul and Mary for their thoughtful lyrics and expressed convictions, which they performed with such beautiful harmony. Stookey told me that the most important ingredient in their success was their deep love and respect for each other. It showed.

Rest in peace, Mary. And thank you.


Evansmom said...

Great post. Cool that you got to speak to Paul. I got to see him a couple of times but never to talk to.

Evansmom said...

Whoops - of course, I meant that you got to speak to Peter!

claudia said...

Thank you for clearing up the mystery of "Puff". I could never figure out why everyone wanted it to be a deeper meaning than what it was.
We too are feeling the loss of Mary. The songs they sang were always my go to songs. In fact, my OD sat up until heaven knows when listening to all she could find on YouTube!

kim-d said...

Awww...that makes me sad. Patrick and Mary in one week. Very sad.

As a kid with a young Mom and two teenaged uncles, music was always playing...always. "Puff" reminds me, EVERY TIME, of going to the beach while my uncle lifeguarded. I never once thought it was about pot. As a young kid, "If I Had A Hammer" always appealed to me, was so catchy and, oh, those voices! Do you remember "I Dig Rock-N-Roll Music" from 1967-68or thereabouts? I always loved the message behind that one, and was amazed by how, for that one song, they could make themselves sound so much like The Mamas & Papas. In high school, who didn't love "Leavin' On a Jet Plane," which was also one of my Mom's favorite songs.

RIP, Mary with the lovely voice.

Reddirt Woman said...

Mary seemed to me such an ethereal waif with a beautiful voice. It's good that she doesn't have to fight that earthly battle anymore. No pain, no sorrows just music...


Barb said...

I grew up on those songs, too. And Puff was my favorite song as a child. The first time Ana listened to it, she cried.

I'm feeling pretty old at this point.

Lori Skoog said...

Sweet post Mary Ellen. Seeing that we are related, of course I grew up with Peter, Paul and Mary too.

Yes, "Danny's All Star Joint" is another song that we both love. Thanks for your comments today.

Caution Flag said...

I loved Puff and was devastated when I first heard what it "really" meant. Thanks for giving me back a little of my innocense.

Jenny said...

I've been compulsively listening to Weave Me the Sunshine all week too! I'm 27, and I was raised on tapes of their reunion tour. I can't think of a better song to help me smile in the face of sadness. On an unrelated note, I am also an adoptee. Good luck on your journey!

kanishk said...

Thank you for clearing up the mystery of "Puff"

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