A Long, Long Time Ago

The Day The Music Died?

February 3, 1959, was a day I will forever remember. I can still see my brother Mike and me watching our Mother prepare breakfast. I cannot tell you what the weather was like. If there was snow on the ground, I could not tell you. What I do remember, though, is listening to the green Zenith radio that was up on the shelf over our refrigerator.

In those days, my Mother would often have on a rock and roll channel. It would be years later that she would turn to listen to Rambling With Gambling. So, back in 1959, she was probably listening to Herb Oscar Anderson or someone like him. On that particular day, it did not matter what channel you had tuned into, nor did it matter who the DJ or radio host was. That day it was all the same news and music. Buddy Holly had died, and that is all we heard that day. Even as an eight-year-old, I saw the irony in his most recent recording that every station was playing. ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’, written by Paul Anka, just about summed up the feeling of that day.

We also heard that Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper had died as well, in the same airplane crash as Buddy Holly. Twelve years later, Don McLean would refer to this day as The Day The Music Died. While music most certainly did not die that day in February, it was never the same. I am not sure what impact The Big Bopper would continue to have had on the course of music, but Buddy Holly and Ritchie  Valens would surely have continued to provide terrific music and, no doubt, to inspire new artists and bring new innovations to rock and roll. It is not coincidental that The Beatles recorded ‘Words Of Love’ in deference to Buddy Holly’s contribution to music.
Twenty Five Years Later
Now it is February 3, 1984. Eileen and I are expecting our second child. The plan was that we would go to the hospital that Monday, February 6th, for the birth of our child. That taught me a lesson. There are some things you can plan and some that you cannot.

It was a Friday evening. We had a nice dinner, and I was just about to put a fire on and watch the Winter Olympics. No sooner had I had the logs in the hearth than Eileen called out from the bathroom that we would need to be going to the hospital instead. My first reaction was to push my way into the bathroom and to take a shower. To this day, I cannot fathom why I thought it necessary for me to be showered and shampooed. I guess I was recalling when Sean was born and that it was going to be a long night/day.

Now we had made plans with friends to take care of Sean on Monday, but they were nowhere to be found. So, we called our friend’s mother, who promptly drove over and picked up Sean. Eileen and I then made our way to Southampton Hospital. Upon arriving at the Hospital, Eileen’s doctor came in, shaking his head, saying, “I thought we agreed this was going to happen Monday. I was just about to watch the ice skating competition.” I told him I was too but that at least I did get my shower in.

We then made our way to the OR room, and I got the chance, again, to sit next to Eileen as our baby was being born. (Let me tell you, that’s the type of sex education we need in our schools.)

The birth of your child is always amazing. One minute she wasn’t there, and the next minute she was. Before that minute had elapsed, however, we named her Jeannine. It was 9:30 PM.

She was a sight to behold. A beautiful round face trimmed with a wisp of reddish hair. We always thought she would be a redhead like her mother. The maternity nurse took her and got her ready for her crib, and then both of us walked Jeannine up to her room. Eileen was in recovery and would join us later.

When we get to the room, the nurse asked me if I wanted to hold her. So, I picked her up out of the little crib and took her in my arms. She turned her head up to me, and I swear she looked me right in the eyes, and I think she was a little miffed for being disturbed while she was napping. She had a look, and I also think she was eying me up wondering what her fate would be with this big doofus that was holding her. Her eyes were wide open and deep blue, and her lips were puckered, and the nose that I would spend most of her early years stealing and hiding, was as cute as could be.

It was then that I first sang ‘You’re Sugar….” but it was by far not the last time.

Happy Birthday, Jeannine.

Though the music may have died back in 1959, it was resurrected in 1984.

A
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