Sunday, February 27, 2011



WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER, MY FATHER HIRED me one summer as a secretary at his construction company office. He also took himself two business partners. One of them was a Frenchman. This Frenchman would take a call from a supplier, get hot under the collar,* slam down the phone while releasing a stream of words with which Madame LaBelle had not acquainted me in my high school French class. He'd then pace the floor, smoking a cigarette to calm his nerves.

The other partner was a man I'll call Marvin M. Marvin had a wife and lots of daughters (younger than myself) and was part of a large Jewish synagogue. My parents were invited to his daughters' Bat Mitzvahs, and occasionally Marvin would ask them to events at the Jewish Community Center.

When I looked at this one cassette tape that came from the box, I saw "Allan Sherman's Nutty Songs" was penned on the side in a hand I did not recognize. Allan Sherman was not anyone I knew of or remembered, and neither did The Yard Man. So I popped the tape into the player as he and I traveled steadily northward through the night.

I didn't recognize the first song that played, but Marvin M. popped immediately into my mind. And I set up this little scenario in my head: Allan Sherman must have been someone who came to perform at the Jewish Community Center back in the sixties. Marvin, knowing my dad would get a big kick out of his nutty songs, made this tape for my dad. This was the story I gave to The Yard Man, and he thought it sounded believable, though he never met Marvin.

Well, so we waited to hear more. After a song about how Pop hates the Beatles, and several more that had a certain kind of humor to them, but were nothing familiar, or anything we cared to listen to again, we pulled into a rest area. That chauffeur of mine was making such terrifically good time--he was reluctant to stop, but I vowed we'd only be there a few minutes and we should stretch a little.

Back in the car, the tape starting playing again...

Hey...wait a minute!
Now this song I knew! (how many times had I heard it pouring forth from a transistor radio all those years ago! [Uh, yes, Dear Listener, go ahead and believe me--it was a hit tune back in the sixties! (Didn't I tell you some of these tapes are old!)])

Hello Muddah...Hello I am at..Camp Granada..Camp is very..entertaining..and they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining!

So it turns out Allan Sherman was somebody famous.
I'm still sticking by my story of Marvin M. and the tape for my dad, however.

*Late shipments of building supplies would hold up entire projects!
It never failed to throw the monsieur into a tailspin!

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