Friday, March 11, 2011


    There are many things that will evoke memories of, shall we say, the good old days.  We all have memories of little things that bring on a smile, perhaps unimportant by today’s standards, but still important to us nevertheless.
     It doesn’t take much to bring those memories to the surface, perhaps a song, a smell, or a fleeting glance of someone that looks familiar.  Whatever it takes, it’s sweet to remember.
     Each morning I turn on the television, not to watch a program, but to listen to the music.  I love the Big Band sound and that’s what gets me started each day.  Music is soothing, especially good music.  
     I’m not saying that today’s music isn’t good; it just isn’t what I was brought up on.  In the thirty’s and forty’s it was the big bands, with Doris Day, the Modernaires, Frank Sinatra, Margaret Whiting, and all the rest of the favorites of that era.  
     One of my favorites was Johnny Mathis.  I remember his first movie at the age of seventeen, and his melodious voice has stayed popular all through the years.  His voice has mellowed with time, but it still conjures up visions of my teen years.  There was nothing like dancing cheek-to-cheek at the high school sock hop, with one of his records playing on the phonograph.
     I was brought up on all types of music.  My dad liked western music, mom was into opera, my brothers didn’t care as long as they could dance to it, and grandmother liked gospel music.  
     We were a musical family.  My older brother played the drums, which drove everybody nuts, my little brother played the violin, that was more like a cat yowling than music, and mom was on the piano, with me on the xylophone.  We made music all right, but it wasn’t the kind on the radio, although we loved doing it.  At least we were playing as a family.  Too bad we weren’t good.
     Music has always been a part of my life.  When I was little…really little…I tap- danced and sang on The Children’s Hour, on WWJ radio in Detroit, MI.  When I grew up I sang in church, operettas, radio, and finally on television in the early years.  Music was an important part of my life    
     I was excited when I had a guest spot with Tex Williams band.  His deep voice rumbled when he sang, “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette.”  An experience I will never forget.
     One day I was at a friend’s house, when Jack Russell came to visit.  He was a dancer and wrote some beautiful music that he encouraged me to sing.  Jack and I became a song and dance team and did guest spots on television in the early ‘50’s.    
     My favorite memories of family music were on Sunday evenings, gathered around the piano, when mom and dad sang duets for us.  They loved Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy and sang many of their songs.  They harmonized beautifully.    
     Now, I sit on my deck in the evening, trying to teach myself how to play a guitar that is too big for my short arms.  I’m sure I can learn, with some help, given a few years of practice and a lot of determination.  At least, I can still make music and that’s all that matters. 
     Music will always be a part of my life.  It’s the first thing I hear in the morning and the last thing I hear at night.
     My memories will continue to come streaming back, every time I hear the strains of a romantic old song.  

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