From Where I Sit: They don’t write them like they used toBy: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
Way back in August of 1927, Marjorie Tschudin entered this world, not knowing that 32 years later she would become my mother.
In November of that same year Clara Ann Fowler was also born. I never met her and was not related to her. However, I was connected to Ms. Fowler in a musical way.
You see, Clara later changed her name to Patti Page and became a famous singer in the 1950s and ‘60s. In fact, she was the best selling female recording artist of the 1950s.
The songs she sang then most assuredly seem quaint today at best, if not downright corny, to the young connoisseurs of pop, rock and rap “music” today; songs like her signature tune, “Tennessee Waltz.”
I remember certain other of Page’s songs more particularly because they were the ones that I remember my mother singing. My mother loved to sing, a feat made the more interesting, and sometimes humorous, because she was nearly completely deaf.
When we were kids, my brothers, sister and I often had a laugh at her expense, but she was our mom, so it was okay. As her high school yearbook said, she was a “ray of sunshine wherever she goes.”
She sang “Mockingbird Hill” and “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?” Now when I say “sang,” I am being generous. She tried. By the way, you should have heard her trying to sing “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” You can imagine how blue that one came out.
One other Page song that Mom tried to render was titled “Detour.” Even as a little boy I heard the message of that song – “Paid no mind to what it said, ‘Detour,’ oh these bitter things I find, should have read that detour sign.”
She was singing this to me fresh off of her divorce, newly raising four of us on her own. She was singing from her life, with Patti Page’s help.
Well, it’s been five years since mom stopped singing on earth. I miss those concerts these days. All of this came back to mind because on New Year’s Day, Patti Page also passed away. No offense, but even with Wikipedia, I did not know that she was still alive.
So the past returned to my consciousness for a moment last week. As I write these words, from iTunes Patti Page serenades me like Mom used to do.
Reach Tom Rupp at email@example.com.