Have you ever had a song become inextricably linked to a life event? Of course you have. Now, was that song’s subject matter completely unrelated to the event? That’s probably less common.
Here’s the story of how Lou Rawls’ “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” (1976) connected to one of my earliest life lessons.
As a child, I heard a wide array of opinions about race. Stereotypes, codes of conduct, historical roles…you name it! But one doctrine that was repeatedly drilled into me surrounded interracial marriages- it isn’t right to “mix the blood,” especially since “your kids won’t know what they are.” With no concrete examples for this idea, I took it at face value. But that changed when I was about nine years old.
Bizarrely, my nine-year-old self was to be the only bridesmaid in my aunt’s wedding. (Incidentally, I remember my dress very clearly: it was a spaghetti-strap gown with two shiny tan panels on the side, overlaying white fabric underneath.) As we prepared for the ceremony, I met Mariana, a close friend of my aunt’s; I thought she was very pretty and sweet, so I liked her a lot.
I hate to say it, but I was actually surprised when I realized that she was married to a black man. But…I didn’t know any better.
At the wedding reception, I went to my stepmother and expressed my confusion. To her credit, she debunked my preconceived notion in a way that made sense to a kid: “Mixed babies are often very beautiful. Look at Derek Jeter.” Satisfied with this explanation, I joined Mariana and her husband on the dance floor; the song playing at that moment was “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.”
Sixteen years later, whenever it comes on the radio, I’m instantly taken back to the dance floor that day. That day, when I took the first of many subsequent steps toward accepting people just as they are.