Sunday, June 21, 2009

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

On Mother's Day, I talked of the music that reminded me of Mom. Today, it's Dad's turn.

My dad was the designated chauffeur for Giggles and I, driving us all over Long Island for our varied activities, mall shopping, to see movies at the best screen (in his opinion) and out for many enjoyable meals. Then you add vacations and weekend escapes and we were in that car a lot.

This meant one thing: we were going to hear a LOT of music.

Yes, we would check the news, but primarily, that radio was tuned to one of the dozens of music offerings that we had in listening distance of Manhattan. As a result, we were exposed to a large variety of genres: Jazz, Big Band, Show Tunes, Rock, Golden Oldies. Thankfully, it was rare that Dad wanted to listen to the elevator music stations.

There are songs that remind me of trips taken:
Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven" and Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now" remind me of a trip to Connecticut and upstate NY that was cut short because Ramada screwed up our reservations and made them for Charlottesville VA, not Newburgh, NY.

Amy Grant's "Next Time I Fall" and Debbie Gibson's "Shake Your Love" remind me of a trip to Pennsylvania with Dad and Giggles to visit Legacy after she wrecked her car and her leg. Debbie was a classmate of Giggles, and Dad was teasing her that she should have auditioned to blow the whistle. (Giggles was not the best singer...)

Show tunes would inspire many debates and trivia questions for the two of us, since I was involved in theatre. For years, we'd hear "The Gentleman is A Dope" a sultry, languid vocal and Dad would Insist it was from Pal Joey. I disagreed, but he said it'd been cut from the movie version.

Finally, when I became a Technical Theatre major, I took Theatre History. We got to the unit on musicals and I asked what show the song was from. The answer: Allegro. Oscar Hammerstein's most autobiographical work, it only had a run of 315 shows and never was made into a movie. Dad had seen it during that brief time and had seen Pal Joey a few years later.

I loved discussing the Broadway musicals with him, but even better were the times that we saw them together. For the quantity of shows I've seen, Dad and I never took in a straight play together-it was always musicals.

Now that he's gone, it's always nice to hear something from one of the shows we'd seen together or one of those songs we'd debate in the car while driving. Those journeys should have been forgettable, but they're not because the music lives on.

Thanks, Dad.

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