Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Old Lamp-Lighter

As a child, how I loved to open the piano bench and look through all the old sheet music. I liked seeing the old price marks (sometimes as little as 15 or 25 cents!), the romantic artwork, the long ago photographs of the musicians, and my mother's signature on the songs she had collected. One of my favorites was "The Old Lamp-Lighter," which I often begged her to play:

The Old Lamp-Lighter
He made the night a little brighter
Wherever he would go
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago.

His snowy hair was so much whiter
Beneath the candle glow
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago

You'd hear the patter of his feet
As he came toddling down the street
His smile would hide a lonely heart you see
If there were sweethearts in the park
He'd pass a lamp and leave it dark
Remembering the days that used to be.

For he recalls when dreams were new
he loves someone who loves him too
Who walks with him alone in memory

He made the night a little brighter
wherever he would go
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago.

Now if you look up at the sky
You'll understand the reason why
The little stars at night are all aglow
He turns them on when night is here
He turns them off when dawn is near
The little man we loved of long ago.

He made the night a little brighter
wherever he would go
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago


by Charles Tobias (lyrics)
and Nat Simon (music)
in 1946

A few Christmases ago, in a used book store in Frederick, Maryland, my sister Peg and I discovered a forgotten treasure on the floor -- boxes and boxes of sheet music, much of it marked down nearly to its original price -- maybe a dollar or so per song, a steal in the 1990s! Talk about kids in a candy shop!

We looked through every page, finding many that we remembered from the recesses of our grandparents' piano benches. We took away as much as we could carry! Some pieces have since been framed for display, some given away as nostalgic gifts, and others once again stored in the piano bench for someone else to find one day. Here is the picture, exactly as I remember, from my mother's copy of "The Old Lamp-Lighter":


Listen to the Browns sing their popular 1960 rendition,
found on the album Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 60's Vol. 2

3 comments:

  1. You're right, this is so appropriate. I still remember the day we went to that store and found the sheet music. I've been back a few times and didn't see such a find again.

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  2. Dear Peg,

    You inspired me! I knew this lamp post picture needed a story, but I just hadn't put my mind to it. Hope you like what I came up with! Love, Kit

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