It’s the memory that hung fragrant on my mind as I heard of her death. A lady who always doubted herself and never felt she was good enough, yet who inspired a generation. Maybe that was the reason we loved her, humble and self-effacing. Maybe we recognised something of our own feelings of inadequacy in her. Maybe she helped us believe anything was possible.
What would The Seekers have been without her? It was only together that the band found its way into the hearts of people worldwide.
Since her death, I’ve discovered there was a fifth member of the band, Tom Springfield, brother of Dusty Springfield. Tom was an English musician and songwriter, responsible for writing many of the songs that made The Seekers famous. Tom died just 10 days before Judith.
In a tribute to Tom, Athol, Bruce and Keith wrote, “We have heard reports that Tom Springfield has died. Tom was our fifth Seeker and we could not have done it without him. He was our creative heart and soul. A truly gifted songwriter, guiding light and powerhouse.”
Tom was a very private man and his story is intriguing. It was during Tom’s stint in National Service, that he was assigned to the Joint Services School for Linguistics. The school was known as “the Russian Course” to train conscripts in intelligence techniques and provided exposure to the Russian language. They were trained by studying Russian literature, film and song. One of those songs was a Russian folksong from 1880s called Stenka Razin, and 12 years later Tom used its melody as the basis for the very song, The Carnival is Over.
What a snapshot of all our lives. A tapestry of all the people and experiences that have made us who we are. Like a thousand colourful threads being woven together, imperceivable in the moment, but creating the shape and texture of who we’ve become.
Where would The Seekers have been without Tom? Who would we be without the myriad of people who have wandered in and out of our lives?
I think of all the wisdom gleaned from people who chose to invest in my life. All the knowledge that’s come from people who didn’t just live life but shared their lives in often costly ways. Those willing to be vulnerable enough to let me meet their real, raw, authentic self and challenge me to do the same.
Words were spoken that still come to me in unexpected moments, often when I need them most, words that have shaped a part of me and still continue to guide me. Echoing voices of the past that bring back rich memories, confronting at the time but spoken in love. And comforting words, as warm and encouraging as the day they were spoken.
I remember a woman I only met three times, for the shortest of times, 40 years ago. She introduced me to Remedial Massage. I don’t even recall her name but among the many other things she taught me was the best and safest way to get out of bed. Rarely do I get up of a morning without thinking of her and how a passing comment has stayed with me.
It reminds me that investing in someone’s life is about moments. Living with a generosity of spirit and a sharing mindset because we never know when a moment that passes between us might be life shaping. We leave a little piece of ourselves behind us in each connection.
Photos: Alan Warren Wikimedia Commons