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    BWS Stories - NABBW and GRAND Magazine Contests Winners

    NABBW and GRAND Magazine Contests Winners - Music of the Heart - Runner Up!

    Leslie Apfelbeck is a public relations professional, who is most “on purpose” when in the presence of animals. Passionate about the well-being of the animals we share our planet with; Leslie is honored to have rescued many shelter animals in her lifetime. She and her husband recently adopted two kittens, who have become treasured family members. Leslie is a fan of 60s-era music, and jokes with punch lines included.

    Music of the Heart - Runner Up!


    Grandpa was known for telling jokes, forgetting punch lines, and playing a mean ukulele. Grandma was known for her patience.

    My grandparents lived near a large university in the Midwest, and students rented many of the stately homes in the neighborhood. During the 1960s, a group of hippies moved in across the street.

    Friends of my grandparents began to worry. Would the new neighbors’ long hair, scraggly beards, loud music, and peace symbols painted on purple vans, bother grandma and grandpa.


    On moving day, grandma walked across the street through a driving rain, to welcome her new neighbors with homemade meatloaf and root beer floats.

    The next morning, a bearded young man wearing love beads and rumpled jeans, showed up at her front door.

    "Good morning David,” she called out. “Hi, Gram,” he replied with a beaming smile. “That was some storm last night; thought you could use some help clearing your yard of those old oak tree limbs."

    Thus began a wonderful friendship with her newest neighbors, and kicked off a family tradition that has warmed my heart for years.

    The tradition was celebrated weekly. Mom and dad and my seven siblings and I piled into our station wagon every Saturday evening, and drove across town for sing-a-longs with grandpa (to this day, there are times when I can’t get the tune of “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” out of my mind). Grandpa grinning, eight young mismatched voices singing; life was good.

    Our musical gatherings soon began to include David – the free-spirited neighbor with deep blue eyes and a song in his heart. His wistful interpretation of “California Dreamin’” brought tears to the eyes of this young teenage girl.

    And his untamed rendition of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild”, played on a well-traveled guitar, rocked the house.

    On the ride home that night, my younger brother pleaded with mom and dad for a motorcycle, and talked animatedly of his plans to hit the open road – much to my mother’s chagrin.

    To this day, whenever I hear music from the 1960s, I am back -- in an instant -- in my grandma and grandpa’s parlor. The memory fills all of my senses. I hear the music and grandpa’s jokes. I feel the warmth of the Oriental rug that all of us grandkids sat upon. I see my grandpa’s grin, and David’s piercing blue eyes. And I can almost taste grandma’s homemade bread, as I remember the familiar aromas that welcomed us into her kitchen.

    And I smile as I remember my first crush, on a soulful young man, who stole my grandma’s heart – and mine.


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