All the leaves are brown
and the sky is grey...
The lyrics may talk about winter, but California Dreamin' always makes me think of summer...the summer of '66, to be exact. I grew up on the East Coast, not the West. I remember standing in the kitchen on a summer morning, washing dishes and singing along with the Mamas and the Papas as California Dreamin' played on the radio. I was 13, and I hated doing the dishes. (Still do.) But the singing helped.
God, how my brother and I bickered. We fought so much that my mother made us do the dishes in shifts. One would wash and stack clean dishes on the drainer, then it was the dryer's turn. It seems stupid now, but we managed not to kill each other that way.
I've been for a walk
On a winter's day.
The Mamas and the Papas had problems with bickering too. It probably didn't help that both the men in the group, John Phillips and Denny Doherty, were enamored of the willowy Michelle, who married John and had an affair with Denny. And then there was Cass Eliott, the big woman with the big voice, who also loved Denny. She died of a heart attack in 1974.
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
I read in the newspaper this morning that Doherty had died. He was 66. John died in 2001, so Michelle is now the only one left of the original foursome. I don't think she sings anymore. But sometimes I do, and I still remember most of the words to...
On such a winter's day.
I never could have guessed, in 1966, that I'd end up living in California. But I do. And I'm still California Dreamin'.