So………it was 4-11 and I have just been reminded of a song I used to scream out loud in the car as I was driving with the kids.  There were many of those – Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman”; Rupert Holmes “Escape” aka “The Pina Colada Song”; Judy Collins “Both Sides Now” and “Send in the Clowns” and many Harry Chapin tunes.  On occasion I was asked to please be quiet.  Note my singing voice belongs in a shower unheard by any other human.

The song that was referred to me was “I’ve Never Been To Me” by Charlene.  I have included a you tube link as well as a lyrics link that also plays the song.  The you tube link has lovely pictures.  Your choice if you want to listen.

I’ve Never Been To Me by Charlene
Hey lady, you lady, cursing at your life
You’re a discontented mother and a regimented wife
I’ve no doubt you dream about the things you’ll never do
But, I wish someone had talked to me
Like I wanna talk to you…..

Oh, I’ve been to Georgia and California and anywhere I could run
I took the hand of a preacher man and we made love in the sun
But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free
I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me

Please lady, please lady, don’t just walk away
‘Cause I have this need to tell you why I’m all alone today
I can see so much of me still living in your eyes
Won’t you share a part of a weary heart that has lived million lies….

Oh, I’ve been to Niece and the Isle of Greece while I’ve sipped champagne on a yacht
I’ve moved like Harlow in Monte Carlo and showed ’em what I’ve got
I’ve been undressed by kings and I’ve seen some things that a woman ain’t supposed to see
I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me

Hey, you know what paradise is?
It’s a lie, a fantasy we create about people and places as we’d like them to be
But you know what truth is?
It’s that little baby you’re holding, it’s that man you fought with this morning
The same one you’re going to make love with tonight
That’s truth, that’s love……

Sometimes I’ve been to crying for unborn children that might have made me complete
But I took the sweet life, I never knew I’d be bitter from the sweet
I’ve spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that costs too much to be free
Hey lady……
I’ve been to paradise, (I’ve been to paradise)
But I’ve never been to me

(I’ve been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to Neice and the isle of Greece while I’ve sipped champagne on a yacht)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to cryin’ for unborn children that might have made me complete)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me
(I’ve been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I’ve been to paradise, never been to me

After listening to the words it took me only a minute to remember why I liked this song so much.  I was a wife and mother to two young children 7 and 11!  My husband worked and volunteered with the scouts.  I volunteered at the schools and town offices.  We had busy lives.  Somedays I loved my career and others not so much though I was ever certain of my choice to be a homemaker.  The words of this song really stopped me when it came out in the early 1980s.

The history of the song is that it was Charlene’s only hit.  She still has her own website though I am not sure how current it is as most of the interviews and info date to 2011.

She wrote an autobiography in 2009 entitled, “I’ve never Been to Me” and a children’s book “The Life and Tails of Herman Worm” and the site says she is working on a novel.

The most interesting info was in an interview she did on Healthtopia Radio Show with Bonnie Mechelle.  Charlene shares her story of being the first white woman signed to the Motown Label, reverse racism, giving up a child for adoption, domestic abuse, forced abortion, drug use and living with Lupus.   She credits faith for her pulling her through it all.

I had not ever been to the places in the song or endured any of what she did.  I think the real meaning of the song for me is that this questionably worldly woman was touting the joy of the mundane of a healthy family life.

In the 60s with the hippie revolution I did not drop out as I could not afford to do so.  I did not want to not know where I was going to sleep or from where food was coming next.  Let alone that I was a fairly grounded person in the norms of the time.  I had been shown marriage, children and mom at home.  I liked it and wanted it.  In college one time I was derided for this desire.  The comment was “Is that all you want?”  To me it seemed to be the best of everything. I was being true to me.

In the 70’s Marabel Morgan came out with her book “The Total Woman” that was written to say she was happy being a wife and mother.  Much fun was made at the passage she wrote about greeting her husband wrapped in saran wrap.  No fear – there is not enough saran in the world to cover me so that was an easy decision.  Yet I liked her priorities.  In fact got into a rather loud discussion with a dear friend over the whole issue.  We are still friends and still disagree!

In the 80’s women were still actively working for equal rights though the movement was slowing down.  In 1982 the ERA Amendment was defeated.   Despite the slowdown it was becoming increasingly obvious that a woman who chose to stay home with family was not considered a true feminist.  Yet I thought the thrust of the whole movement was choice and equal rights?  I was becoming a counter culturist with my belief that husband and children were paramount in my life.  Many of my female friends were going to work either to supplement their income or simply their kids were in school and they did not want to stay home.  I stayed home.  I was being true to me.

In the 90’s I had a lady at a church gathering ask me what I did and I said “I am a homemaker.”  She, the stock analyst, turned to talk to someone else.

I am still a homemaker in the 2000s.  This decade has little regard for mothers at home.  It is becoming more in vogue though as high powered woman choose to leave their jobs to stay home.  It seems more palatable that way I assume.  As for being a feminist with making my choice and sticking up for women to make their own, there seems to be a mentality that a conservative feminist is an oxymoron. Fine I am true to me.

For me I am still working at my chosen career.  The pay scale has never changed.  The merit raises nonexistent.  Thankfully the reviews are not there either – I am certain I would not like the marks this week.  There ARE some wonderful bonuses in the joy of grandchildren.

What I do have is happiness in this grounded life.  I have been to Paris and London and Honolulu and elsewhere.  I walked on the stars of famous people in Hollywood and Memphis and St. Louis.  I have sipped champagne on a boat.  I’ve lived a wonderful life with the man I chose at a wedding years ago.  I may have not explored the whole world or been undressed by kings or taken Charlene’s sweet life. I have been to me.

I chose another way.  At the time I chose the stereotypical way of conformity.  My conformity turned out to ultimately be nonconformity or counter cultural.  Who knew that staying grounded in knowing me and my desire for marriage and family that I would find paradise?  I am thinking God did and blessed me as I followed His (and my) choice for me!  Ps37:4…………….


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