Oh What a Beautiful Morning: innocence preserved forever in the Great American Songbook
From the immortal 1943 musical, Oklahoma!:
There's a bright, golden haze on the meadow There's a bright, golden haze on the meadow The corn is as high as an elephant's eye And it looks like it's climbing clear up to the sky Oh, what a beautiful mornin' Oh, what a beautiful day I've got a beautiful feelin' Everything's goin' my way
When I first heard that song on the radio, in 1943, I immediately knew it was a mirror of the best mornings of my life.
There WERE those mornings. Many of them.
In the background, as I realized much later, were my mother and father. They were the providers.
My father, living in the Bronx with his parents and brother and sister, came to grips with the death of his father when he was 11.
From that moment on, he was the breadwinner for the family. He quit school and went to work sweeping floors.
He graduated up to similar work for a firm that made and sold ties and scarves to department stores. His boss would send him out to bring back lunches for the staff.
Flash forward many years: my father was the premier salesman and design chief for the company, and a managing partner. He went out on the road with his samples for the coming season and sold them to stores from Philadelphia to Chicago to Los Angeles.
In 1943, he put a down payment on a house in White Plains and moved the family out of New York.
That’s where I remember the beautiful mornings.