“Sometimes I wonder how I spend the lonely nights,” hmmm mmhm, “dreaming of a song, the melody,” hm, hmmm hm, “haunts my reverie….” Hmmm hmmm hmm hm. I was trying to remember the title to this song the other night just after we had turned out the light and gotten into bed.
“Bill.” I nudged him. “Do you remember that Nat King Cole song that went…‘hm, hm, sometimes I wonder, hmmm, hmm, hm?’ It’s driving me crazy!!”
“Sure,” he answered and immediately surprised me by whistling a really beautiful rendition of “Stardust” there in the dark. “That was the first song I ever learned to play on my trumpet,” he said. Very romantic. This is the same trumpet he sold in order to buy the suit he wore to our wedding. He always tells people that he still misses that trumpet. Not romantic.
“I didn’t know that. How cool. You do know that “Stardust” is one of my all-time favorite songs, right?” I asked. No answer. He had fallen asleep, I guess, or either he was pretending because he didn’t want to hear me go on about who I danced with the first time I ever heard the song, and what the boy looked like, ya da, ya da. His name was David Pearlman and I was twelve years old and I can still smell the Brill Cream that he used on his hair because my nose was just about level with the top of his head. All us girls were taller than the guys when we were twelve. I still love the smell of hair tonic, not that I often have a chance to smell it. I guess men don’t use the same hair products these days, and not many even use shaving lotions either. I have to remind Bill to splash some on every Sunday morning. I love the stuff! I remember loving the smell of barber shops, too. Not much chance to get a whiff of that talc the barbers used to brush on the back of a man’s neck. Do they even still do that? I wonder.
Do you remember when you were a little kid and every other word out of your mouth was “wonder”? “I wonder how long till my birthday,” or “I wonder what Santa will bring me.” And as a girl in my early teens I spent most of my waking hours “wondering” which boy would ask me to the Friday night sock hop, “wondering” if I would get caught sneaking cigarettes from my parents, if I would get in trouble for coming in past curfew? Later, I wondered if my grades would be good enough to get into Beta Club, if my boyfriend was going to ask me to go steady, and if I could get an advance on my allowance to buy Elvis’s new 45 rpm record.
Then in my twenties, I wondered about much more practical things. Would we have enough money to buy groceries till pay day? Would Bill have to go overseas? Would the baby be a boy or a girl? Would we get the loan on our first house ($16,000)? Could we afford the brand new Pinto, the first car we owned that didn’t already have 50,000 miles on it?
When we were in our thirties, we wondered mostly about our two girls. Were they well? Were they safe? How did they get so smart! And before we turned around twice, we were wondering how to pay for college and then questioning the cost of weddings. Sometimes we wondered who these grown women were, our daughters. Who these men were they chose to spend their lives with, and who these babies were that called us Granddaddy and Grandmother?
I wonder today where has all the time gone and how did it go so quickly? How is it possible that I have spent more than fifty years with this man who still can whistle a mean tune in my ear at bedtime! And I wonder how it is that every day I learn something new and different and wonderful about him. My Bill.
I just wonder. I can’t help but wonder what the next ten years will bring. We are still making new plans and new friends almost every week. Learning new things every day. Visiting new places each year that excite us…well, me anyway. Looking for new things to do. Bill just put up a new picket fence out back. It is darling! And I just joined a new gym. First time in over thirty years! Snap Fitness. I love it!
I wonder if I should dig my Italian tapes out and get back to my language lessons? Will there be enough time left for me to also learn to speak conversational French? Should I drag my art supplies out of mothballs and dust off my canvasses; see if I can turn out a couple of Grandma Moses-like paintings before Gabriel blows his trumpet?
I wonder if Gabriel knows “Stardust”?
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
Tells his fairytale
Of paradise, where roses grew
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love’s refrain
Nat King Cole. “Stardust”