To The Herald-Whig:
Back in the long ago 1930s, my old friend and longtime Quincy resident, Harold Ruff, lived in an apartment house on North Eighth Street, several blocks from the post office, and this sturdy, red brick dwelling, is still here today. My friend's apartment had a back porch, and on warm summer afternoons he'd often relax on his porch and play favorite phonograph records of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, the renowned singing duo who played so many well loved Hollywood movies of those times.
One August afternoon my friend turned his phonograph on and started listening to Jeanette and Nelson singing "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life," "Rose Marie," and other songs this legendary twosome made famous throughout the years. After a while my friend decided to take a walk downtown, so he turned his phonograph off and started to leave his apartment.
"Oh, please play the music a little longer," a group of ladies sitting on lawn chairs in the backyard pleaded. "We've been enjoying it so much." So my friend obliged the ladies by continuing to play his records until the evening darkness descended on his back porch.
My friend's been gone for a number of years now, but whenever I pass by his old apartment house of musical memories on North Eighth Street, I often seem to hear the spectral baritone of Nelson Eddy singing, "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp Along the Highway" from "Naughty Marietta," and then he'll be followed by the soprano voice of his ghostly musical partner, Jeanette MacDonald, giving a tender rendition of "One Kiss" from "The New Moon." The mind's dogged determination to recapture the irretrievable past is as old as time itself.
It's probably true nowadays that Jeanette and Nelson are not as well known to nostalgia buffs as the Big Band music is. Nonetheless, for all those white-haired, rapidly diminishing octogenarians like myself, who remember when Hollywood was in its heyday and a child could go to the best movie theater in town for only a thin dime, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy will always be America's Depression Era sweethearts.