Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Every now and then when someone touches my life, deeply, there’s a song that comes on whenever I think of them.

This is one of the truest things I know. I’m so uncertain about where I stand on religion, spirituality and God. It changes. Sometimes I believe in something. Sometimes I believe in everything. Sometimes I believe in next to nothing, except myself and the power of humans. I wish I could tell you something more concrete, but I find it too difficult. It’s something that slips through my fingers and passes through my mind. Sometimes it sticks. Sometimes it doesn’t. I want to be one of those sticky people.

I want to believe. I do believe.

When I was with one of my exes, “Tainted Love” came on the radio a lot. That was a clue, huh? With Cassidy it was many things, but one was “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.” One of the most powerful was after my paternal grandmother passed away.

The constant song was “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Years before she died, we used to watch Wizard of Oz together. She gave me a whole Wizard of Oz playset that is probably now worth thousands of dollars, if I hadn’t opened every doll and had them date Barbie and Ken at my Barbie McDonald’s. And knowing me and my sick mind and the way I grew up too fast in a household of siblings and friends, my poor Wizard of Oz characters probably did some naughty, naughty things in Barbie’s silver Corvette.

Which, incidentally, I’m pretty sure I stole from my sister.

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(I kinda feel this way a lot in life. I don’t know why current photos don’t have me with that expression of bewilderment)

Anyway. It was about two weeks after she died and I had begun my ascent back up from the dark, hideous hole I had fallen (climbed) down into when I heard the bad news about her death, and I wondered so hard and so furiously and so aloud. I wondered, “Did she know? Did she know how much I loved her? Was she still potentially able to tell?” So I turned on the radio.

Elton John. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” You can make up better things than that..but why would you?

I used to hide behind the couch during the scary Wicked Witch of the West scenes. My father died soon after I first saw the movie and that heady combination gave me phobias of both lions and tornadoes later in life. In New Jersey. I had lion and tornado phobias to conquer, and conquer I did. The witch thing faded too luckily. Scarlet has recently become interested in The Wizard of Oz after we went to a faerie garden museum exhibit in Old Lyme, CT last week. When I was four, I was Dorothy for Halloween.

She’s not there yet, and she may never be there, and she may never experience the utter darkness I experienced at her age, and her fears, frights and phobias may come from totally different things at totally different times. And they’re just that – different.

She’s mapped out for a different destiny. She’s mapping out a different destiny.

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Des is too. He just doesn’t happen to be female and four, and I’m sensitive from my own experience of being female and four.

Being male and one is pretty awesome. Scrunchy-nosed smiley awesome.

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And speaking from one of my last posts about wanting to freeze time, I always feel that way when we’re with one or all of the kids’ six grandparents. They take us to really fun and beautiful places. This museum exhibit was gorgeous and worth the drive.

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Flying monkeys!

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Strange and wonderful things!

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Even this sandbox was a hit, which was originally supposed to be an exhibit, but hey! It was the favorite thing for Des.

This did lead to a wardrobe change. We forgot to pack spare clothes but we had spare pajamas that I had intended for the late night drive home! It all kinda worked out because they’re adorable pajamas and great for photos.

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And then the day ended, as all great days end, with cuddles, love and scenic backgrounds. This is all why I want to freeze time:

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This. This, this, this!

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“Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road”
— Elton John

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About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter and son in glorious western Massachusetts.


Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. — 107 Comments

  1. my friend, my dear sweet darlin' friend… my words aren't forming… this entire post from the words to the gorgeous photography is absolutely amazing, so raw & I feel your emotions & almost how I think you feel through everything, I find this post, just insanely fantastic! WOW. Chills… It is fabulous, kudos. XO, T! ~A~

    • Thanks, my friend! So happy you were the first comment. I was on a trip and not sure my post would be scheduled correctly! Sincere thanks for everything you said.

  2. I do love when you weave a song into your posts, Tamara. Photos are beautiful as always. And I laughed out loud at your comment about wondering why you don't always have that look of bewilderment on your face. I often feel that way too, but I suppose as adults we don't let the camera capture that vulnerability.

    • I often feel that bewildered and I think maybe I should wear that expression more often! It’s better than the middle finger, right??
      I love your music posts too so I often think about if you’d like my song/post choices!

  3. Both Elton John songs actually hold a very special and different place in my heart, too. It was back when I was in my early twenties and dating my ex, who truly was my first adult love. We always listened to this one Elton John CD and both songs just happened to be on them. As much as I know he was truly the wrong person, I still can't help, but be brought back to a different time in my life when I here them. So, I can relate a bit on that level. And for me the song that reminds me so much of my grandmother (miss her dearly, too) is Ave Maria (one of her favorite church hymns). I heard Michael Buble sing it shortly after she passed away and I too couldn't help thinking of her in that moment. Beautiful post Tamara and seriously got chills reading.

    • I love “Your Song.” Cassidyd vetoed it for our wedding but I think it’s so great and perfect for one!
      Music. It’s just astounding what it does to us.

  4. I can't begin to tell you the memories I have attached to "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and how far back they go. I will tell you that they go far enough back that somewhere, I used to have this album on a cassette tape, replaced by a CD, replaced by the digital version on my iPod. There are songs that light up my heart and conversely hurt me in my bones due to the memories I associate with them. Like you, this I know as truth, stronger than most things that I feel sometimes certain about.

  5. Tamara, when we finally get the chance to meet, we are going to have so much to talk about, including this idea of wanting to be sticky people. Love this post. The words, the feelings, the beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing with us!

    • I totally agree. I have that dream, and our communal house is in Sonoma, CA. And everyone lives there together and somehow it’s not intrusive or awkward.

  6. You always take us on a ride of life, living, moments, emotion, history, and a precious well served story.

    It's your 'art'. You do it so so well.

    I was yet again, in every moment with you Tamara. How can anyone NOT be?


    • Thank you, times a million. Always. It’s amazing having you in my court. It makes me believe crazy good things about myself that I hadn’t believed until this past year.

  7. This post is really comforting to me right now, Tamara. I always love your words and your photos. I have so many songs that evoke memories good and bad for me. They sort of tell the stories of our lives don't they?

  8. This post contains some of my favorite pictures yet – that sequence with Des is so incredible!!!

    I think that songs say a lot at different times – some songs make me cry every time and others have some of the happiest memories in the world. A song from Chris' mom's funeral (we were never very close) gets me every time (maybe I regret that we weren't close?).

  9. No words can really describe these photos. Just stunning. And the words woven in between? Beautiful. Love that song. I love how music can be perfectly matched to a certain time and a certain relationship.

  10. Oh I'm loving your post once again intertwined with the most amazing photos taken of the family. If only we can all freeze time. There are certain songs that I can't listen to because I associate them with things from my past that make me cry, while there are songs that bring sweet memories to the forefront. It's amazing how songs can play such a role in our lives.

    • I have songs I can’t even listen to without feeling breathless. Sometimes I’m able to and other times not, depending on the day.
      Music is the best kind of everything for me! And it does freeze time. It makes us all remember very specific moments and days. Forever.

  11. Tamara, you explained my thoughts on God, faith, and religion perfectly. It's always nice to know someone else feels the same, because it seems like everyone around me either believes or doesn't. My family is very religious, my husband is an atheist. And then there's me, drifting back and forth on the spectrum, never fully at either end, but always somewhere – varying places – in the middle.

    And! I had those same feelings about my Grandma after she died. She was the most important person, and the one I loved most, in my family of origin after my parents and sister. Did she know that? I was there when she died, and so many many many times I've wondered if there was more I could have said and done in those last moments to make sure she knew how much I loved her.

    • Thanks, Shana. It’s so hard to get into it sometimes. And I don’t much. Politics = never. Religion = sometimes. It’s touchy but I’m open-minded. Just unsure.
      I hope both of our Grandmas knew how much we loved them and if we did enough to let them know.

  12. I love Elton John. I also love the wizard of oz! and those rainbow pj’s are just perfect to crawl on the yellow brick road. I would love to see that museum exhibit.

  13. This one really hits home. I love the story about the song and your grandma. I love your attachment to Wizard of Oz, because I have my own. The boys just recently starting watching the movie and LOVE it. Afraid of the flying monkeys? Not a chance. Thank you for posting this! I had no clue this was in Old Lyme! I do hope it's still going on.

    And, the open mouth smile of Des in the last series? Priceless.

    • You know the thing about the Wicked Witch? She's awesome. Even when she's just the mean lady back in Kansas, that actress just goes above and beyond. The flying monkeys are cool!!

  14. …those little pitcher hanging by twine…my mom has that same one, right in the front. And I was terrified of the flying monkeys as a child. I just accidently spelled monkeys as monkees.

    Shows where my brain is. Off somewhere with Davey Jones.

    Much love!

  15. Oh, whew. Girl, I have a horrible cold so my nose is already stuffy and runny…so breaking out in tears isn’t helping things. The pictures at the end of this post just made me start sobbing. They are just so beautiful and perfect. And then the song. I wonder what it’s like to be able to write songs that capture life so well and mean so much to so many people. –Lisa

    • Dude, I’ve totally been crying at blog posts today. Totally. It’s that kind of day. I’m rocking a semi-cold that I may fight off, or it may be allergies, and I cried at Another Jennifer’s post so much that my family came up to check on me.
      How do I even explain it? We all care for each other!

  16. I love how you meld your innermost thoughts and reminiscences of your childhood and use them to try and make sense of this big old crazy world of ours. Spirituality, or rather what one believes to be true, is a Gordian knot. It’s hard to find the end, and then you reach a truly awful tangle and spend days, months or maybe years trying to find your way through it. I applaud you for having the bravery to write down, and publish, these thoughts that we all struggle through.

    On another note, The Wizard of Oz is my favourite film ever. I was so pleased when Lucas sat through the whole thing, enthralled, without any wriggling around or going off to find toys. One day I’ll make an Emerald City Castle cake…

    • Oh, I can’t wait to hear/see about that one! An Emerald City Castle cake sounds like perfection. We still haven’t finished the film here, but she seems more well-adjusted from the first half than I ever was!
      Thanks for your input/wisdom about spirituality. It was so refreshing.

  17. You truly share from the heart, Tamara. You invite and propel us on a journey of words and pictures that is irresistible. And thanks for giving me those lyrics from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. As a kid, I made up my own words. Seeing the right thing was an eye-opener! LOL

    • haha, I know! I still don't know them. I was just singing it while giving Des a bath and I know my lyrics were way off.

      And thank you – about the irresistible journey part.

  18. As I have watched my daughter hit certain milestones, I found myself propelled back into my past. Back to those same ages – comparing, wondering, grieving the loss of my childhood and holding on hard to hers. I feel all those emotions here in this post. Being a mom is a blessing deeper than any I ever imagined.

    That museum looks amazing! I want to go there. My Wizard of Oz loving daughter (and husband!) would like to go, too!

  19. I guess I'm a bit of an outcast here because I have never heard that song. If you had that look of "bewilderment" as you call it I would be afraid of you. Very afraid! Lol. Love the pics from the museum. Very pretty.

  20. Oh, those pictures. And the faces in the pictures. You can just see and feel the love on both young and old faces in those pictures. I absolutely love every single one of them.

  21. Oh man. I want to be one of those sticky people too. Lately I've been feeling like my beliefs and passions aren't strong enough to stick. I mean, not that I don't have them but sometimes I don't feel like they are bursting through the seams. I love when you weave music through your posts and you make me want to capture all the moments. I wish that I could have met you at the museum! And so bummed to know that it was so close and I didn't get a chance to visit. Looks beautiful.

  22. You, my beautiful heart friend. You did it again. As always and again. Letting out the deep breath that built and built with your words and your photos. You make me believe. In all of it. Especially in freezing the moments, and in scrunchy faced one-year old boys. And four-year old girls. And flying monkeys and teacups.

  23. I have probably said this at least 10 times before, but I've changed my mind again: THIS is my new favorite post of yours 🙂

    That garden is AH-mazing! And the photos! And the emotions! And Des on the yellow brick road!

  24. Isn't it something that we simply do not want our children to face any fears ESPECIALLY the ones we did growing up? If only we could control it all. I am LOVING how long des' hair is getting and I love the flowers in the garden, was that a paper mache?

    • I thought so but when I went closer, they were waterproof! Almost tarp-like material. I guess it's because the exhibit is outside for a few weeks and rain happens.

  25. You always find the coolest places to go! I grew up in the midwest (still there) and I had a tornado phobia. Funny how things can trigger other things in your life!

  26. That song totally resonates with me too! It is beautiful and just brings me back to special times. I was going to ask for a tutorial on making those beautiful flowers, but then saw you were at a museum! WOW! What a beautiful post perfectly illustrated by your moving photos

    • haha, I would NEVER know how to make those flowers. They were made of a waterproof material – probably because they don’t want to have to bring in the exhibit if it rains!

  27. I used to bury my head in the crook of my moms arm whenever those damn flying monkeys came on the screen! I still do not like them…

    The photos of your children with their grandparents are so precious. They will certainly cherish those!!

  28. thinking of someone special that passed away, I am sure the pain and tears could be hunting us sometimes, I am sorry to hear, but glad that you tried to say goodbye on the yellow brick. Life must move on….

    The place/museum had a lot of mystical things that could amaze the kids, the photos are incredibly sweet, all angles….

  29. Your song choices are always so fitting. I think I tie songs in a different way at least sometimes. I remember my grandma's favorite song and I sing it all the time. I don't care that it's a 40s big band hit. It was her favorite and it makes me happy.

    The PJs are adorable!

  30. Pingback: Tenderheart. | Tamara Like Camera

  31. What a beautiful post. As complicated as that mother-daughter relationship can be, I am mourning a little bit that I will probably never experience it from the mother end. (I think 2 kids is going to do it for me, and I got boys!) Those photos of your kids with their grandparents are absolutely wonderful. They will treasure those for their whole lives.

  32. Tamara!!! That was a beautiful post! I am not certain of the tune but I am going to have to youtube it. I was 11 when I lost my grandmother. The eerie thing is that I felt it before it happened. I knew she was sick, I knew they had called for my mother to come but there was no "when". I was in school on a Friday and I just felt overcome with emotion. My teacher asked me what was wrong and I said, "My grandmother is getting ready to die." I wasn't in school that following Monday. I was very close to her. It's amazing what you can get from someone in 11 years and we didn't even live in the same state. Anyway, that's where your yellow brick road took me. Love those pictures!

    • That’s so interesting that you just “knew.” The morning my grandmother passed, a photo of her fell off my sister’s bulletin board. So my sister said she already knew too..

  33. Those pictures of Des hugging…they are just so incredibly heartwarming! It makes me wish my Mom was still here to spend more time with the baby. I’ve also got a song that reminds me of my grandparents…though they didn’t pass away until I was in my twenties. You went through quite a bit at the age of four. I just can’t imagine. It looks like Scarlet is paving a fantastic way for herself at this age!

    • Thanks! He's such a cuddle bug hugger. It is really special and even though we have so much, I do wish my father could have met his grandkids. Scarlet is already older than how old I was when he was still alive.

  34. Dude, if it were possible to make a soundtrack of every life event that left an imprint in my soul…whew.

    Music has a way of healing and making us remember…even if it is the bad stuff.

    I'm with you on the whole believing part. Yes. No. Maybe.

    Watching our babes and connecting them with our own past is creepy and beautiful all at once. We can only hope that they do make their own path. And they will.

  35. Oh how I love your words. And the photos, oh my the photos! Love, love, love it all. I want to go to wherever those teacups and that yellow brick are.

    And Barbie and Ken got up to all kinds of inappropriate behaviour in the Barbie Camper. Even GI Joe got in on the action. Fun times.

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