Thursday, October 29, 2009

Songs My Mother Taught Me . . . Que Sera, Sera

There probably aren't many women who were little girls in the 1950s who didn't learn this song, and I'd venture to guess that most learned it from their mothers.....or at least sang it with their mothers.

My mother always tried to keep life up beat. She was into positivity long before it was a movement. But I could tell that this song made her a bit sad and it made me sad too.  It all seemed a little too loosey-goosey to me, the concept of having little or no self-determination. Even back then I had a strong sense that the final verse about having "children of my own" didn't apply to me and I didn't like the constraints set up in the song. If it was about the future happening as it will then why did the verses seem like a blueprint?

I didn't realize until I began thinking about this song to post, and paying attention to the feelings it stirred inside me, how little I cared for Que Sera, Sera ......even if it was one of the songs my mother taught me.

Que Sera, Sera
from The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
words by Ray Evans and music by Jay Livingston

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother
What will I be?
Will I be pretty?
Will I be rich?
Here's what she said to me:

Que sera, sera.
Whatever will be, will be.
The future's not ours to see.
Que sera, sera.
What will be, will be.

When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart
What lies ahead?
Will we have rainbows
Day after day?
Here's what my sweetheart said:

Que sera, sera.
Whatever will be, will be.
The future's not ours to see.
Que sera, sera.
What will be, will be.

Now I have children of my own.
They ask their mother,
What will I be?
Will I be handsome?
Will I be rich?
I tell them tenderly:

Que sera, sera.
Whatever will be, will be.
The future's not ours to see.
Que sera, sera.
What will be, will be.
Que sera, sera.

I find the video below, with quasi-version of Que Sera and hint of Doris Day's voice filtering around it, both frightening and invigorating at once. The line towards the end of the video: "It's your responsibility to do something about it" is more along my way of thinking. If I see something that needs to be done and I can do it, then I must do it. If I see where I can make a difference, large or small, then I must commit to make that difference. I shouldn't think manana regarding a responsibility, unless sleeping on an idea will bring more clarity and therefore a better result. The word endangered should send me into action, and it usually does. Just tossing it all to the wind and saying whatever will be will be doesn't work and we should see that by now.

Que Sera by Wax Tailor, aka JC Le Saout

{This is the 14th in an undetermined number of songs my mother taught me I'm posting this month in her memory. For background, please visit the post containing the first song, Ivory Tower.} 

art: Escher, Crystal Ball

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources RED LIST OF THREATENED SPECIES  (Don't sing Que Sera, Sera to any of these!)


Erika C. said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and also for your thoughts on your blog. My mother also gave me a lot of music that lives on in me.

My sisters and I used to sing all kinds of songs, including the German rounds that our mother taught us, on the weekly six hour car ride we used to take to my father's summer house on Lake Ontario from NYC. We prided ourselves on our voices. We even had a little show that we would perform at my father's parties. (The memories of my mother and father together were from when I was very young since they divorced when I was 10.)

I just noticed that you do yoga too. A love of mine. What kind of yoga do you practice?


lakeviewer said...

I'm new here, stumbling around blogland, landing at your conservatory. I love this song and it was one that my mother also sang. I think I need to return and share more.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

You reminded me this lovely, old song in the best way! Thank you Lydia and hugs from Cyprus!

YogaforCynics said...

Somewhere in between the two versions you give is my favorite: the Sly and the Family Stone version...

Darlene said...

U never really cared much for Que, Sera, Sera. It was cute and singable, but never spoke to me. Oddly enough, it sticks with you and I find myself singing it once in awhile.

Jason said...

I love the site. You have a lot of good posts here. I have a site as well that provides inspiration and guidance to people around the world. I was wondering if we could do a link exchange, so we can tell our visitors about both of our sites. Let me know.


Rhiannon said...


I couldn't agree with what you said in this post more. Yet, when young I used to love and sing that song a lot...not sure why.

Now, like you there are things that I know I must not just let them pass me by. I must "act" on them. I find myself going through a lot in standing up and speaking up for myself in the situation here at the apartment complex I live in. The manager has tried to intimidate me with the "serious issue" and lied to the county housing I am in the middle of a "battle" which I must continue on and "finish" to the end. Then I can say I tried everything I could to not be trampled on intimidated by fear. Though it's not easy as I've got two women using their jobs to lie, scare people into keeping their mouths shut "or else"...I guess their learning that with me that won't work..but it isn't easy to keep facing the fear of "intimdation"...I'm doing what's right and wish more people would not be so afraid to speak up.

So there is no "Que Sera Sera" for me here...though it might be nice once in a while to not keep "battling" with the people in power or who think they order to just protect myself against such deceptions. I hope in the long run what I do will help others that have been too afraid to speak up here. I now call management and the housing authority people here "the little Mafia"...scare by intimidation. It does seem to work and I am not having fun...>Joan of arc here...yes you were right..that is what my poem was about..I am going through a very difficult time in standing up for myself...and others here.

Now I ask myself "What will I be"? Que Sera Sera? I just don't know.

I loved Doris Day though...something about her always made me feel happy when I was a kid...don't know why.

Have a Happy "Spooky" Halloween Lydia and don't forget to change your clocks back on the night of Halloween.

Love and Blessings,


Looking to the Stars said...

Oddly enough, I always liked this song. My mother was french canadian and she always spoke french, this song has always reminded me of her, why I don't know. I don't remember her ever singing it.

I don't care for the meaning of it, either :)

Lydia said...

@Erika- The story of your musical house is fascinating. I had a friend in high school who, along with her mother and three sisters, performed entire programs for her father. I know this because I was an overnight guest who had a costume and cues given me as a surprised participant.:) What fun.
I practice Iyengar yoga, and I say this with some guilt because I've let my practice slide...although lately I've been doing better. I wonder if you are consistent with your practice...

@lakeviewer- I'm so glad you found your way here and feel this blog is a place you'd return to. You have made me curious about your own blog, and the background to the name lakeviewer, which I think is beautiful.

@Phivos- Did you hum this song to yourself today? I did! Hums and hugs from Oregon.

@YogaforCynics- Sly? What a surprise to learn he had done Que Sera Sera. I took the link immediately and listened to the version. You describe it well as being in between the two versions here. It really is very fine.

@Darlene- Exactly! I find myself singing it lightly to myself every once in awhile. That's one reason I just had to include it in this month-long song tribute to my mom.

@Jason- I appreciate your visit and thoughts. However, link exchanges aren't the way I build my blogroll. It is a list of the blogs I find most creative and hold most dear. This does not mean that I won't thoroughly enjoy visiting your blog and that is something I intend to do soon. :)

@Rhi- It is a lilting tune that you just don't forget, even if the message doesn't exactly click. seems to me you need something lilting and positive in your life about now, much more than a song. I thought your living arrangement was the beginning of happiness for you and I'm so sorry to read that you have a struggle there. Couldn't imagine what "serious issue" the manager might believe exists regarding your tenancy (I hope it's not that you have a cat). In your standing up for yourself I think you might also seek an advocate; perhaps your police department has a community liaison who could meet with you and the manager to see if you couldn't find resolution. The situation just doesn't sound right at all.
Thanks for the reminder about setting our clocks - I wasn't aware that it was this weekend. Happy Halloween to you too, Rhi.

@Looking to the Stars- French Canadian...ooh sounds exotic to me. It's interesting how the song reminds you of her, given that you don't recall her singing it. Maybe she sang it to you while you slept...

Rhiannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hattie said...

I'm kind of a que sera sera person myself ;)
Most of the most delightful things in my life have been complete surprises.

Lydia said...

@Hattie- Many of the great things in my life have been complete surprises too. You'd think I'd have more trust in the song!



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