Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Days Were Long

The Trees That Watched Us Grow

Just Over the Brooklyn Bridge
A world of its own,
The streets where we played,
The friends on every corner were the best we ever made.
The backyards, and the school yards
And the trees that watched us grow,
The days of love when dinner time was all you had to know.
Whenever I think of yesterday,
I close my eyes and see,
That place Just Over The Brooklyn Bridge
That will always be home to me.
It'll always be home to me.

--performed by Art Garfunkel
--music by Marvin Hamlisch
--lyrics by Marilyn & Alan Bergman


Sometimes, I'm not so sure that there really is a hometown for everybody, but I guess when I close my eyes and think of yesterday, I see Neosho, Missouri (photo above). That's where I lived between the ages of 5 and 10, attending Kindergarten thru 4th grade at Eugene Field Elementary.

As a matter of fact, my parents helped us kids plant a tiny little evergreen in the yard there, back in 1965; and when I drove past the house 25 years later, I missed it, crying out in dismay, "Where is the little tree?"

Towering high above the house, that's where it was! But I hadn't even thought to glance up; I was searching at eye-level. I suppose if we had continued on in that house, that would have been the tree "that watched us grow."

Here's the funny thing about Art Garfunkel's song, which was the theme tune for the sweet little Emmy Award winning television series Brooklyn Bridge (1991 - 93): the funny thing is that until just a couple of days ago when I checked the lyrics on google before posting them on my Fortnightly Blog, I always thought that Art was singing, "the days were long when dinner time was all we had to know." Doesn't that make more sense? Kids don't thing about "days of love." They think about days being long -- not long and tiring, but long in a good way, the fun going on and on, not having to stop, not having to come in yet or come up from the basement where the video games are played.

Days of love? No. My way is much better. Usually we come to find out that really there is a rational meaning for the senseless phrases and nonsense syllables we have been singing right out loud or murmuring under our breath, as in

"We kings from Orientar" = Orient are. *

"Oh say can you see by the dawns or-le-li" (long a mystery to me!)
= dawn's early light.

"Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is butter beans"
= life is but a dream.*

Every now and then, I've noticed that the mistaken version improves upon the original. And "Just Over the Brooklyn Bridge" is one of those times. My way is far superior (sorry Bergmans). "Days were long" beats "days of love" . . . any day.

I feel the same way about Hall & Oates song, "Kiss On My List." Remember:

(Because your kiss) your kiss is on my list
(Because your kiss) your kiss is on my list
Because your kiss is on my list of the best things in life.


Well, shut me up, but I spent years singing:

"Your kiss is on my lips when I turn out the light."

Isn't that about a million times better? Please! Kisses don't belong on lists, do they? What, like a "To Do" List? No, of course not! Kisses belong on your lips . . . when you turn out the light. Way more romantic!

What are some of your best mix - ups? Post them below, and I promise to change over and start singing the songs YOUR WAY!

* For more on "Orientar," see previous posts on this blog:
January 6, 2010: Feast of the Three Kings
January 18, 2010: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

*P.S.
~ 3 April 2014 ~
The "butter beans" mix - up is courtesy of dear Charlotte Stewart (b 25 November 1938 - d 29 March 2014), with whom I worked for a brief time at the James Joyce Quarterly. I've never forgotten her telling me that when she was little, she thought that the last line of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" was "life is butter beans" (rather than "life is but a dream"). Sometime after that, she drew me a little card with those words & a smiling butter bean. A happy memory.
On the back, it says "From Charlotte ~ October 11, 1982"

1 comment:

  1. Oh golly. I have so many and I'm still making them! My friend Michael Brown just wrote me and said "I give good quote." ha, ha. Lynn knows some of mine. But when I'm found out, or when I find out, like you, I'm always more pleased with my brain's way of hearing - and I always say, "Yeah, that too."
    A list! Pulleese. No thank you. Don't be putting these lips on any list!

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