I was in the kitchen peeling potatoes when I heard Dean Martin crooning, “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore!” and I was transported to the kitchen of 203 Silver St. in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
I was about 4 or 5 — a brat by my sister’s definition — and a budding chef by my own.
I had pulled the chair from our toy dining set up to the stove so I could flip the pork chops.
After drenching them with salt and pepper, I flipped them twice for good measure.
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Mother shrieked. “Another dinner ruined.” Such is the power of music.
Local PBS channels have been running “The Magical Fifties” over and over again the past few weeks — each song a magical carpet back to my childhood.
I flashed on the memory of my sister standing in the middle of her bed, belting out “The wayward wind is a restless wind, A restless wind that yearns to wander,” into our pink metal waste basket decorated with rhinestone butterflies.
Then there was Patti Page’s passionate rendition of “The Tennesee Waltz.”
To see Page again, standing on a balcony dripping with wisteria as the moon shimmered on the lake seen over her shoulder, made me realize how that scene was a snapshot in my child’s mind of what adulthood must be like.
Songs were different then.
They had melody.
The lyrics told a story.
My parents bought the lake cottage when I was 15. Show tunes from “My Fair Lady” and “South Pacific” were the rage. Our neighbors, the Steiners, had a big inboard boat named Zulu.
We would go for moonlight spins, my sister and I and the Steiners’ two sons sitting in the back, belting out our favorites.
Judge Steiner, who weighed more than 300 pounds, joined in, the Zulu tipping to starboard under his weight.
I can’t image a younger generation having the same kind of memories when today’s music is so full of violence, hate and anger.
I feel sorry they are missing so much.