Look Up: A Centennial Celebration wraps up on this very special Friday -- 100 years ago today, Sophie and Issie Eisen welcomed baby Lillian into the world.
Lillian loved music her entire life, and learned how to play the piano as a child. It was a rare day that didn't find Mom singing a song, or humming along as someone else sang. When Village Shalom, her retirement community, brought in entertainers to perform for the residents, Mom was always in the front row, singing along and clapping enthusiastically.
Matter of fact, one of her few complaints at Village Shalom was that not enough of the "old people" showed up for these weekly performances. (She also felt that those who did show up weren't nearly appreciative enough. Mom was a big believer in applauding the talents of those around her.)
Mom's love of music -- and her appreciation of talent -- drew young people to her. They'd come to Village Shalom as part of a volunteer group or with a simple desire to connect, and be captured by the magic that was Mom.
A delightful young woman named Sarah visited Mom regularly for years; Mom treasured a CD of Sarah singing some of their favorite songs. Paris Naster -- like Sarah, a musical theatre star -- met Mom back in 2017 and kindly sent an email, telling me how much she enjoyed their encounters:
"We connected almost immediately and began singing," Paris said. "I have gone to see her about three times since and each time is wonderful. She
shares with me her pride in being a Jew, her adoration of her family, and
wonderful stories that bring joy to both of us ...
my Mom to meet her the other day and she said, 'We could be famous, you
and me. We'd make a great team and an even better album!'"
|Mom and Paris. They do make a great team.|
If the video below of them singing doesn't work,
please forgive my technical
incompetence and click here.
Along with music, Mom loved children. I like to think that I top the list, followed by Harry and Eva or -- more likely -- Kate and Mary. (Ha! My blog, sibs. Write your own stories.) Put her love for music and children together and what do you have? Lullabies, of course! Mom wrote the music and lyrics for four beautiful lullabies -- one each for Harry, me, and Eva, and then the Choo Choo Song for all three of us.
Over the years, Mom sang Hello Sandman; See Me, God; It's Nighty-Night Time; and the Choo Choo Song to us, our kids, and dozens of other lucky children. And the lyrical loveliness didn't stop with Mom: My sister, who recently retired from the MU Child Development Lab, rocked countless more babies to sleep to the tune of these songs.
The lullabies are part of Mom's legacy of love, so it's only fitting that they are Mom's centennial birthday gift to you.
If you would like the sheet music to all four lullabies, leave your email address in the comments here, or send an email directly to me
. It will be my great pleasure to send you a PDF of The Lillian Sokoloff Songbook
Because, lord knows, we can all use a little more Lillian in our lives.
|Big thanks to my friend Linda Sweenie |
for translating the lullabies into sheet music!
Oh! When you get the music and lyrics, remember that the classic Choo Choo Song is adaptable. The original version says, "Three sleepy children, just got on the train ..." because there were three of us. Make it work for your family.
And, this is VERY IMPORTANT: You have to sing the Choo Choo Song last, right as your little one is drifting off. And you absolutely need to add the "Whoo! Whoo!" train whistle sound at the end. Lillian is listening for it.