They say music can unlock memories. A familiar tune, even a single note, can send you back in time.
Imagine if you could hold that memory in your hands.
That’s exactly what happened when Madeline Forman, 94, stumbled on a box of long-forgotten songs she had recorded in the 1940’s.
Madeline, a child of poor immigrants, grew up in Depression era Newark, NJ. Money was scarce but Madeline was gifted with a beautiful singing voice. A gift she dreamt of sharing on the radio, like her idols, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland.
As a young girl, she says, “I would sing anywhere, anytime.”
Her parents couldn’t afford music lessons or formal training but in 1946, after skipping class and sneaking off to enter and win a talent contest at the Adams Theatre in Newark, NJ, Madeline scraped together enough prize money to record a few tunes.
But as so often happens, life got in the way. To help out the family, Madeline trained as a secretary and went to work. She met and married Joseph Forman, a WWII veteran, (now 98), and built a business and a family of her own. Her dreams of a singing career all but faded away.
Until three quarters of a century later, in the midst of a move, Madeline found the dusty old 78s she’d made so many years ago: Jazz standards like “Nobody's Baby” and “Can't Help Loving That Man of Mine”, “Begin the Beguine” and Yiddish classics like “Oy Mama!” recorded at her wedding reception in 1953.
When Madeline shared the discovery with her son, he reached out to a cousin in the recording industry who artfully restored and digitized her songs, then posted them to social media. “Madeline” has since been downloaded over 400 time and praised by accomplished musicians, vocalists and producers in the music industry.
Madeline Forman beams as she pores over the complimentary messages and listens to the golden-voiced girl she once was.
A dream of a lifetime ago has finally come true. Now her gift can be shared.