My parents had a song, “Deep Night,” Charles Henderson’s 1929 love song sung by Rudy Vallee. I still love it.

JFK and Jackie had “Camelot.” I don’t know what The Trump and Melania have. Your guess is as good as mine.

You and yours surely have your own song that tied you together from the senior prom on, and whenever you heard it for the rest of your life, it brought back sweet memories.


She and I have been together for 55 years. We’ve been through storm and sunshine from New York to Hollywood to Maine. And we don’t have a song. I thought everyone had a song. But we don’t.

At least once a year — it used to be more before I gave up — I would ask She who loves music, romantic movies and claims to adore me, if we ever have had a song.

“Not that I remember.”

What? You can’t be in love in your teens or 20s, make out in the moonlight in the car to a song and forget it.

“Excuse me,” she hissed. “I never made out in a car or anywhere else. I was a nice girl in high school.”

She had a point. We never made out in the car or in the moonlight. We met in Manhattan in our 20s, way past proms and moonlit cars, while prepping a scene for the Actor’s Studio. We took buses and subways, very unromantic.

“OK,” I finally said to her one day. “You were a popular girl in high school. Pine trees, lakes, moonlight. I know you had moonlight in Waterville. I’ve seen pictures. You must have had a song with a guy.”

“Not that I recall.”

I sat her down at dinner one night this winter and ran through YouTube’s collection of ’50s hits.

“‘Love Letters in the Sand’?”


“‘I Only Have Eyes for You’?”

“The Flamingos, right?”


“No, not really.”

“Jerry Simpson told me you were one of the most popular girls in your class, and no song?”

“None that I can remember.”

I think she’s hiding something, someone. I can remember every girl I was in love with, and we all had a song.

I told her about Laura Wharton, with whom I shared Doris Day’s “It’s Magic.”

Whenever that came on the juke box at the Velvet Freeze, we’d leave our burgers and Cokes and start dancing, lips inches apart, eyes frozen on one another.

“You sigh, a song begins / You speak and I hear violins / It’s magic.”

Oh brother, I can smell her favorite perfume now, “White Shoulders.”

She shrugged and kept eating. I continued.

I played Nat King Cole’s “They Tried to Tell Us We’re Too Young.”

She dabbed her mouth with her napkin. “Katie Hawkins,” she said. She remembers everything.

I reminded her of Rosemary DeBranco, she of the one thousand and one pastel angora sweaters and a simple strand of pearls, who selected and patented Tony Bennett’s “Because of You.”

She cleared the dishes from the table.

“How many times do I have to hear about Rosemary and her fake pearls?”

“They were real,” I protested.

“That’s all that was real on Rosemary.”

I rattled through a few more and continued, thinking how unnerving it was to love someone this long without a song.

“Did I tell you about the Kappa Delta girl at school in Louisiana?”

“Let me see,” she shouted back. “Tony Bennett’s ‘Blue Velvet,’ Nat Cole’s ‘Unforgettable.'”

I know she’s hiding something, and that makes me nervous.

I ran through the romantic hits of the ’40s and ’50s and scanned her face as each one played for a smile, or worse, a tear. Nothing.

Before bed, she came up behind me and whispered, “You’re my song.” Very sweet, but no cigar.

Nostalgia, I’m told, is overrated, and that it’s wrong to live in the past when one has so much in the present.

But I think it’s sad and disloyal to those gone by the way, with whom you shared the spring of youth, to dismiss memories. And I know how potent it can be.

1953. My buddies and I were in the middle of the South Pacific on our way to Japan. It was a warm, moonlit night with a soft breeze and a starry sky, when the ship’s DJ put on a record, Doris Day’s “It’s Magic.”

Chatter stopped. There was only the sound of the engine and the water lapping at the ship.

There, on the deck full of young airmen, everyone suddenly leaned back and looked longingly up at the moon.

Jeez! How many guys, I wondered, did Laura Wharton date after me?

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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