Daily Archives: May 14, 2007

80. How could I help if tears were starting

I’ve mentioned my parents’ Mitch Miller Album in another post. It had sheets of paper with the songs written on it attached to the middle of the cover — like the pages of a book. I’m thinking there were several copies of the songs — so you could have your friends over, put the song on the Hi-Fi and have your own Sing-Along with Mitch.

The only other song I can remember from the album always made me think of my Uncle Dick and his wife, Jean. They divorced when I was young, but old enough to know they didn’t like each other much. I remember once sitting in their living room — they were babysitting my brother and me — and out of the blue Aunt Jean yelled “what are you looking at?” to Uncle Dick. Even so, when they got divorced I was sad for them, and imagined they were just drifting apart — but really still in love.

The song Harbor Lights seems to be about a sailor whose ship is getting ready to sail off somewhere and his love is on shore. The tune is melancholy and the words end on a bitter note. I used to imagine my Uncle Dick singing this song to his ex-wife as she departed from his life.

Funny – my dad was in the Navy when he met and became engaged to my (very young) mother. I never of thought them when I heard Mitch Miller and his “gang” sing this song.

I saw the harbor lights
They only told me we were parting
The same old harbor lights that once brought you to me
I watched the harbor lights
How could I help if tears were starting
Goodbye to tender nights beside the silv’ry sea

Jimmy Kennedy 1937