September, Jerry Orbach and Try to Remember

Well, here we are into the month of September already and there is definitely a feeling of “autumnal-ness” in the air today. There is always a slight sadness at this time of year if like me you live in the North of Scotland, as we pretty much know that summer is now behind us for another year and barring the odd exceptional day, the weather will just get that little bit colder and wetter every day now until the seasons turn again next year.

On the other hand, if like me you enjoy knitwear, coats and woollen accessories, or indeed if you manufacture and sell these items, I imagine you are quite happy that autumn is now upon us. I do have a large collection of polo neck jumpers and although I can wear some of the sleeveless and cottony ones during the summer months, my signature black polos have had to sit unworn for quite a few months now. Looking forward in a way to reacquainting myself with the rest of my wardrobe.

tilda swinton pringle fw10
Local girl Tilda Swinton – The new face of Pringle knitwear

A few years ago I set myself the challenge of taking an “interesting” photo of the natural world, every day, for a year – Unlike with this blogging malarkey that has taken up most of my free time this year, it was an excellent hobby for getting incidental exercise, as I had to do a sizeable walk every day in search of new scenes and subjects. I probably gained a bit of a reputation in the area as I didn’t have a dog to explain the walking, I tended to be on my own and at a moment’s notice I would suddenly jump down into a ditch and appear to get up close and personal with what might to others, look like a weed (good for a picture though sometimes).

Anyway, I did end up with a great set of 365 photographs that pretty much told the story of our seasons that year. Ironically it turned out to be the snowiest winter we’d had in years, so lots of brilliant snow-scenes. As we’ve meteorologically reached autumn today, I have looked back at my “365” photo for the 1st September and it turned out to be this one – My neighbour’s hydrangea shrub. I probably walked a few miles that day only to discover that the best picture came from a few yards away, in the garden next door! It looks as if I’ve “special-effectified” it as I was wont to do back then, but you can still see the signs of approaching autumn in the leaves. Sad for me too as this neighbour, who ended up being like a granny to our daughter, died later on that year so this would have been the last time she would have seen these giant flowers in the garden she so loved.

295 31st PICT3738.JPG

But this is supposed to be a blog that features songs and of course all day I had that line in my head about September, from the song Try to Remember. Having just looked it up, I discovered that it was written for a long-running musical comedy called The Fantasticks which is one I had never heard of before. It was originally performed by the show’s lead actor Jerry Orbach in 1960 and again although I didn’t recognise that name, I certainly recognised him, as it was Baby’s dad from Dirty Dancing a good few years on.

This song famously makes use of rhyming to an extreme degree and looking at the lyrics, each verse specialises in a different type of rhyming word. If it wasn’t such a melancholy sounding song it would be quite comical but the sadness in it is apt for today I think, and although I’m not sure what we’re supposed to be “following”, I suspect it’s the memory.

Here is a clip of Jerry Orbach singing his version of the song in 1982, where he appears to have just been introduced by Richie Cunningham’s dad.

And here is a really schmaltzy version of The Way We Were by Gladys Knight (seemingly without her ever-present Pips) that got to No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart in 1975, where in the preamble, she makes great use of the first line from Try to Remember. I keep having to remind myself here that although I am enjoying this nostalgic revisitation of the songs of my youth and the memories they conjure up, I mustn’t get too melancholy about it all – But you know what, on this, the first day of autumn, I think I just might.

The Way We Were / Try to Remember by Gladys Knight & The Pips:

Try To Remember Lyrics
(Song by Harvey Schmidt/Tom Jones – the other one)

Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh, so mellow
Try to remember the kind of September when grass was green and grain was yellow
Try to remember the kind of September when you were a tender and callow fellow
Try to remember and if you remember then follow

Try to remember when life was so tender that no one wept except the willow
Try to remember when life was so tender that dreams were kept beside your pillow
Try to remember when life was so tender that love was an ember about to billow
Try to remember and if you remember then follow

Deep in December it’s nice to remember although you know the snow will follow
Deep in December it’s nice to remember without the hurt the heart is hollow
Deep in December it’s nice to remember the fire of September that made us mellow
Deep in December our hearts should remember and follow

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

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