Thursday, February 23, 2017

Night Watch

Someone today on FB posted an article about growing up in the 50s and 60s.  I loved reading about it and how similar all our lives were back then.  Then there was the mention of the National Anthem playing when the TV stations closed down for the night, leaving nothing but static.

This made my thoughts go to a memory that I knew I needed to leave in the back of my mind or I would become a total mess.   But I had to do it, and I was right.  I just didn't know how much it would devastate me because Mike and I always treated it as a joke.

When the local radio station, WCTA in Andalusia, went off the air - I think at 10 p.m. - there was always a song that played that I've since found out was "Night Watch" and sung by Jo Stafford.  We thought it was lame and kind of mocked it at the time, if I recall.

This is an excerpt from an article by a classmate from Andalusia, Sue Wilson, in our local paper last year:  Well, it’s 10 p. m. and time to “sign off” for the night just like WCTA Radio Station did back then. I certainly remember the radio playing at our house at that hour when the lights were off with Jo Stafford’s recording of “The Night Watch,” Circa 1954. The lyrics went like this, “Bright stars are watching the world as it sleeps, Shepherds watch over the little white sheep. The lighthouse is shining for ships far at sea, As God keeps the night watch for you and for me. So sleep, sleep in peace and rest. Don’t be afraid of the darkness. All’s well far over the land and the sea, God’s keeping the night watch for you and for me.”

The whole article is good for local Andalusians, so here is the link:

Just the words brought immediate tears, but when I went to the recording of the song, I found I could only get through the first line or two.  Wow.  If I didn't know before, I now know what it is to truly grieve.

hat song was a part of our dating ritual in high school and in college when we were home.  I can't remember what my curfew was, probably 11:00, but if we were riding in the car or sitting there in front of my house or one of the places we went - Shamrock, root beer place, Dairy Queen -  we would hear that song.  I always thought it was kind of sad, but when you're young with your whole future stretching out in front of you, nothing is very sad.  Many, many times Mike would talk about who the singer was.  We didn't have Google back then, and I wasn't too interested, but the name Jo Stafford was what he settled on.  It was important to Mike to know things and know the right facts.

I'm finishing this several hours later, and the initial sadness has abated somewhat, but I know I can't hear it again - not this soon - maybe never.  The words are sweet and comforting and the thought crossed my mind to sing them to the girls as a lullaby (they don't care if you can carry a tune), but I can't do it.  

I was just mentioning to Emily and Elise yesterday that I'm a little bit stronger every day on handling the memories that just hit me all of a sudden.  I wasn't counting on this one.  

I was finishing this up and had tears in my eyes when Graysen walked over and asked why I was sad.  I tried to explain that there was a song that made me miss PopPop.  She said - with a lot of hand motions and facial expression, "I can make you happy, Mimi.  Someone died in our lives, and it makes us sad.  It hurts in our life and in our hearts (pointing to her heart).  We wish PopPop could come back and make us smile.  I think he might come back on a spaceship."  Precious girl.  What would I do without her? 

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