Intermittently over the years, I fumbled at building a website to highlight my published books. Now a more important goal has emerged – liberating several bookcases from various versions of projects onto one retrievable source – the web/cloud – and help downsize my personal footprint.

Thanks to winning a free consultation with an expert ( Jim Hill, digitalquill.com ) in a Cape Cod Writers Center raffle, I finally wordpressed georgecomeauxliterarygumbo.com !

I gumbo’ed up and created a shell website to store the various outcroppings of my brain which made it into notebook or sometimes print. This blog will announce future fillings for the shell. Major categories appear on the home page, sub-categories in drop-downs, and detailed entries three levels down.

A shell example is, under the heading of “Scripts for Musicals,” I have the titles, but not yet the content for the titles. (“Scripts” will probably be lyrics only, no dialogue.) Not only will I thus liberate bookshelf space, I should be able to find things without exhaustive bookshelf searches.

At launch, I included details on my published books. My first non-book entries were, under “Lyrics, Verses, Papers, Stories,” two high school themes I have already posted as blog entries – “Wrong Right, 1959” and “So Went the Nation, 1960” – under sub-heading “School Papers.”  Under “Verses” I added “Where Would You Be If You Were a Hammer” when it showed up in one of my files.

This post records a new filler, SONGS! Five times in my writing life, someone was available and willing to turn my poem/lyrics into songs. (I don’t do NOTES!)

In order of appearance, these composers are:

  • My college classmate Ron Nief, Emeritus Director of Public Affairs for Beloit College, (who publishes an annual compilation for incoming freshmen of things we parents know but they may never have heard of or experienced — http://themindsetlist.com ). I wrote a theme song for our Junior Week celebration – “Make Mine Manhattan” – and Ron wrote notes and played the song at a junior week gathering. Unfortunately, the group I was with went to a different gathering, and I never heard the song. When Ron called last year recruiting donations for our 50th anniversary reunion, he said he often played the tune but didn’t remember where it came from, but I was able to find my original and send words  his way. I’m not sure he ever wrote the notes down, so the lyrics are included below.
  • My brother Mike as a college student wrote notes for four of my lyrics: “The Wanderer’s Waltz,” “Dancing Snowflakes,” “Summer’s Coming,” and “How Can I Tell You?” Several years later, I wrote one song for our parish musical “Holi-Daze,” and he wrote the notes for “You Can Be Santa’s Helper,” now officially published in the book You Can Be Santa’s Helper. These are additions to the website, all but “Santa” hand-written.
  • When Director Alice Carey asked me to write transitions for a parish show “Memories,” I asked could I write them in verse, to be sung. I said all the singers could intuit the melodies. Only one of them came even close, so, under duress just before show time, Alice wrote the notes. These are now in the website, also hand-written.
  • “Holi-Daze” Music Director Anne DiSanto similarly wrote chords for “A Mother Knows,” my tribute to my Mother. I don’t think she ever wrote the notes down – she just touched her keyboard and the notes emerged. Anne sang one of her original songs in the Memorial Day and July 4 section the show – “Gettysburg” – a song she had written and sung on the battlefield site for the 150th anniversary of the battle. (Anne recently composed a tribute to survivors of the recent Boston Marathon attack, “Boston Strong” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48ZaoNeQZkQ .)
  • I never met Bradley Bowers, but his father Steve was a classmate of mine. When I fortuitously found myself standing next to Steve in the TKTS line in NYC fourteen years later, I learned he also was working for IBM. Then I at our twenty-fifth class reunion I told him I had written a romanticized version of the founding of IBM. He told me his son was majoring in music, and soon a long-distance creative exercise, since abandoned, began (to be detailed in a future post). Eventually the lyrics will be filler for the gumbo.

The melodies for the songs Mike and Alice created are now gumbo’ed under their respective sub-menus under “Songs.” Following are the lyrics (without notes) for Ron’s and Anne’s melodic assists. Eventually the lyrics for the IBM story will be under “The Adventures of Tom Watson” sub-category under the “Scripts” heading.

“Make Mine Manhattan” was the theme for our junior week festivities. I was involved as producer of the junior show, Guys and Dolls – curious because I had no previous theatrical experience, but the director/star said he would tell me what needed to be done. At the time, I was on the high end of social clumsy, and the lyric I wrote probably reflects that syndrome. (A bountiful turnaround occurred the following summer!)

MAKE MINE MANHATTAN

Make mine manhattan, I’m all alone

An empty tuxedo, a cold telephone

A dreamy apartment, where dreams only one

Make mine manhattan — I’ve just begun

 

Make mine manhattan, a kiss, and a slap

So long to romance – it’s only a trap

All of my chances, suddenly flown

Make mine manhattan – I’m all alone

 

Make mine manhattan, can’t drink this corsage

I’ll go in hiding, and wear camouflage

Mask these emotions, and act like a stone

Make mine manhattan – I’m all alone

 

Make mine manhattan, I’ll wager this bet

I’ll go on living, but I won’t forget

The smile that entranced me, from high on her throne

Make mine manhattan – I’m all alone

Copyright 1964 George Comeaux

“A Mother Knows” is included in my book Extraverses.  An obvious tribute to Mom, there is a subtlety in the title – my acknowledgment that, whenever I “fudged the facts” during some inquisition, behind her eyes was an “uh, huh, do you think I believe that?” dubiousity she held in check, sparing me from digging deeper into alibimode.

 

A MOTHER KNOWS

(student)

Momma, Momma, when I call,

You chauffeur me to every mall,

And school, and field, and concert hall …

Summer, winter, spring, and fall.

 

A Mother knows how much to play;

How much to laugh, how much to pray.

 

(young adult)

Momma, Momma, if we knew

How hard you worked to see us through …

Nine-to-five, and housework, too —

More often we’d say “I love you”.

 

A Mother knows how much to give,

And gives it all, so we can live.

 

(adult)

Momma, Momma, I recall

You were the fairest one of all.

You taught us to stand straight and tall,

And lifted us when we would fall.

 

A Mother knows, though times fly by

The love she gives us cannot die.

 

(parent)

Momma, Momma, can you see

What has become your legacy?

Faith, and hope, and family,

And love that stays always with me.

 

A Mother knows, though far away

Her love lives with me every day.

 

A Mother knows how much to give,

And gives it all, so we can live

Copyright 1997 George Comeaux

 

I count as one of my favorite all-time blessings finding someone to write melodies for my words.

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