Sunday Kind of LoveFebruary 1, 2011

When I was fourteen my brother Skippy gave me a crystal radio for Christmas. He made it himself and handed it to me with nonchalance like it was nothing. He was like that and he taught me that understating is a gratifying manner.

Anyway, in order to acquire a channel I had to gently move a little copper wire along a crystal. The radio had a small antenna but no power source and no speaker. They weren’t needed. My brother was a genius with things like that. The sound was faint but my hearing was good, especially if I held the little set close to my ear. I put it under my covers at night when it was cold and listened into the wee hours. When there were no clouds I could sometimes get two stations.

Well, the first night I discovered Fran Warren. She had a thirty-minute program that came on late at night. At the first sound of her voice I quickly tweaked the little copper wire until it was exactly on frequency. Her voice was foggy-smooth as she sang the great old torch songs from the 30s and 40s. My favorite was “Sunday Kind of Love.” As she moved from one slow song to another I just knew that she was a comely, brunet, teenager, with buttercup eyes, forlorn in love, and being mistreated by the whole world. I dreamed of riding a white horse adorned with colorful garlands as I charged through the night and swept her to safety. It was so romantic.

Many years later I was in the Air Force driving down the strip in Las Vegas when I saw on a marquee, “FRAN WARREN.” She was singing in the lounge at the Flamingo Hotel, a prelude to Tony Bennett, who was the main attraction. It was sad because only a few tables were occupied. I sat close to the stage and kept ordering Cokes as the bartender leered. Fran’s songs brought back wonderful memories from my youth that had been resting dormant in the back of my mind for so long.
When her show ended she walked into one of the hotel restaurants and sat in a booth. I couldn’t stand it so I went over and introduced myself and said how much I liked her music, and that I’d been in love with her for twenty years. She asked me to sit down. We had dinner and laughed at my story about the crystal radio. She didn’t even know what it was. We talked about her career and I learned that she had recorded “Sunday Kind of Love” with Claude Thornhill’s band when she was nineteen years old. That’s the year I was fourteen and listening to it under my covers. I never saw her again but I sure remember the thrill of that meeting. How can you not love stories like that?

Google Fran Warren
Google crystal radio

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