Saturday, May 18, 2024

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Tunnel of Love (1958)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this week's song, Doris Day tries to convince her lover to share a kiss in the Tunnel of Love. What's your favorite amusement park ride?


2) In the 1950s, when Doris recorded this song, Tunnel of Love rides were popular in the US. Couples would climb into small boats that only seat two and float through a dark tunnel, accompanied by romantic music. Today less than 100 of these rides still exist. Have you ever taken a ride through the Tunnel of Love? I have a very vague recollection of being a little girl, getting into one of those boats with my older sister, and we were dressed alike.

3) This week's featured artist, Doris Day, made approximately 40 films and a TV series. She said one of her favorite things about being an actress was the clothes. She loved collaborating with the experts who created her wardrobe. Her contemporary, Betty Grable, found all the fittings boring and just let the wardrobe department do their job without offering much input. Imagine you are a performer: Would you be more like Doris or Betty? Betty. I'd love to see what the pros in hair, makeup and wardrobe could do with me.

4) There was persistent rumor that, after Doris appeared on Bob Hope's radio show, the two had an affair. She always denied it. Have you ever been the subject of workplace gossip? Of course. I think everyone who ever gone to work, school, or the local grocery store has been the victim of gossip. It's not a good thing, but it's human. BTW, I predict that the people who decry "gossip" the loudest are the same ones who willingly give oxygen to conspiracy theories about everything from Dr. Fauci to the Kennedy assassination to the Lindbergh baby. To a sanctimonious hypocrite, it's only "gossip" if someone else does it.

5) Doris never liked to fly and her fear increased as she got older. After she retired, she refused to fly at all. This caused her to decline lifetime achievement awards and other events in her honor. Have you more recently extended, accepted or declined an invitation? Extended. I let my friends Nancy and Paul know I'd be in their neck of the woods today and we're meeting for lunch.

6) After show biz, Doris devoted herself animal welfare. She used to say that we should be more sensitive to the loneliness and sadness people feel when they lose a pet. Think of a time when you were grieving. What words or gestures helped you get through the difficult time? I love sympathy cards. The artwork, the message, the signature in someone's hand ...

7) In 1958, when this song was on the Billboard chart, "The Purple People Eater" was also popular. It's a silly song about a creature from another planet. Have you ever seen a UFO (unidentified flying object)? Nope. I know it's small-minded to dismiss them out of hand -- after all, the universe is infinite -- but I simply don't believe in them.

8) Also in 1958, Americans were watching 77 Sunset Strip. The show revolved around the LA-based private investigators whose office was at that address. Who is your favorite TV PI?

I can hear the theme song in my head right now.

9) Random question -- In the 1950s, stewardesses used to famously ask passengers, "Coffee, tea, or milk?" If asked that right now, which of these three beverages would you prefer? Milk.


Emerging like a cicada

All anyone seems to be talking about here these days is the upcoming/any-day-now cicada invasion. Bugs don't bother me, and I barely remember their appearnce in 2007. But I am paying attention to the conversation and stories swirling around because it seems I'm rather like a cicada these days. 

They emerge from their lives underground, sing and shed their shells. I feel like I'm emerging from grief and I'm ready to sing and face the past and the future with something other than loneliness and regret. 

I'm back at the card shop, and interacting with our customers has done me good. I especially enjoyed working with a proud grandma celebrating a Kindergarten graduation. She came in for a card and left with a card, a book, a gift bag, a pair of fun pens (her granddaughter will be using ballpoints for the first time come fall and now she can practice). Because she was paying cash and spent so much more than she intended she couldn't afford $4.50 for tissue for the gift bag. I slipped some of the store tissue -- the stuff we use when someone buys something breakable -- into the gift bag. I was whispered that even though the store's logo is printed on it, the color works. I lowered my voice because I didn't want her to feel embarrassed, but she thought I was extending myself in a way that would get me in trouble. I'm quite sure my boss, Ceecee, would have done the same thing in my position. The customer was spending more than $60 and was running low on cash. Anyway, Grandma was so grateful that I spent so much time listening about her granddaughter, helping her find the perfect card and gift, and then (in her mind) breaking the rules by slipping her a freebie and she kept using my name when she thanked me over and over. Similarly, I helped a young woman put together a very pretty and impressive gift bag for her wine-loving friend. Getting it just right was important to her because she'd missed her friend's birthday. Anyway, helping others gets me out of my own head, and I'm lucky this job gives me that opportunity.

I wrote Postcards to Voters. Again, doing good gets me out of my own head, and losing my friends does not mitigate my duty as a citizen to be involved.

I'm back at yoga. My back is so creaky without it. It's time to accept that Henry and John may not be with me but I'm still here and I need to do this.

I went to lunch with John. Yes, he's still dead and no, I haven't lost my mind. It's just that I decided to honor his memory by revisiting his favorite bars and restaurants and raising a glass in his honor. I started with Italian Village. 

One of Chicago's great Italian restaurants, it's been in the same spot for nearly 100 years and the owners simply cannot install an elevator. Doing so would compromise the structural integrity of the building. And so John, with his limited mobility, was no longer able to enjoy, in his words, "a big slab of pasta" at one of his favorite places. 

I returned with my friend Elaine and told her stories about him. As I would with John, I stopped and reviewed the signed photos of celebrities on the wall and thought of the jokes he'd make about Frank Sinatra's unfortunate toupee. 

It all made me feel better.  

I'm blessed that way. God has given me the ways to emerge from my grief. It's time to avail myself of them.

 PS Thank you, Country Dew, for saying that you see me and hear me. That was perceptive and it really helped.