Steve Eighinger

Lifelong crush now just a memory

By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 21, 2019 12:00 pm

I'm still sad.

When news arrived last week that Doris Day had died, part of my heart passed away, too.

My first crush was not Debbie Wickham in first grade, Lynn Marie Parr in junior high or even Kathy Eighinger. (Sorry, Kath. I've loved you for almost 25 years, but I hadn't met you yet in the early 1960s.)

At some point around 1960 or 1961, at what was one of the heights of Doris Day's popularity, I saw her on television for the first time, and even as a young boy growing up in north central Ohio I was completely smitten.

At that point in my life, I had not yet discovered the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns or Ohio State Buckeyes. My heart belonged solely to Doris Day.

I would comb through the TV Guide to see when one of her movies was scheduled, or on what show she might be making a guest appearance. My parents would even take me to the theater if one of her films found its way to our local complex.

Maybe it was her bubbly, almost sassy personality that attracted me, but I always remember thinking to myself that she seemed like such a nice person. OK, she was pretty, too. And she always seemed to have fun.

To me, she was simply mesmerizing.

A few years later, when she starred in a sitcom on CBS I found myself glued to the screen when her program, "The Doris Day Show," aired on Monday evenings.

Even as I advanced in years -- through elementary, junior high and senior high -- and my interests branched out, there was always a part of me that felt attached to Doris Day, who was 97 at the time of her death.

Doris Day was regarded as the No. 1 female box office attraction for much of the 1960s, and as that decade wound down, she turned to television. In all honesty, "The Doris Day Show" was mostly regarded as a second-string version of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and I can't really argue with that.

Doris Day gradually faded from the public eye, content with retirement. She became active with various causes, particularly the humane treatment of animals.

As the years moved on, my "crush" on Doris Day became more of an admiration. I could always tell by what I read about her she was a lady of tremendous character.

How big of a star was Doris Day in her prime? She received top billing in movies that also featured the likes of Cary Grant, James Garner, Rock Hudson, James Stewart, Tony Randall, Rod Taylor and other film giants of their time.

Along with being an accomplished actress, Doris Day was also a major recording artist. The song she will be forever linked to was her famous rendition of "Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)," from the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film "The Man Who Knew Too Much." The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Doris Day brought a lot of joy to a lot of lives, mine included. I think what I'll always remember most about her might be the following words.

"I love to laugh," she once said in an interview. "It's the only way to live. Enjoy each day -- it's not coming back again!"

And to that I say, que sera sera.