December 22, 2020

I’m A Broadway Baby

By Paul Bieber

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, at a time when Cleveland was in a different time zone; it was approximately five years behind the rest of our country. I grew up in a wonderful home, loving baseball above all else along with my second love, Broadway musicals. My mom had the recordings of the early Rodgers and Hammerstein shows and played them constantly on our record player. I can still sing the entire score of South Pacific.

There is one song in South Pacific that needs to be heard over and over again in these trying times. It is sung by Nurse Nellie Forbush (Mary Martin) after a tough day at the hospital where she worked. Here are the first and last lines of the lyrics:

When the sky is a bright canary yellow
I forget ev’ry cloud I’ve ever seen,
So they called me a cockeyed optimist
Immature and incurably green.

I could say life is just a bowl of Jello
And appear more intelligent and smart,
But I’m stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope,
And I can get it out of my heart!

Not this heart…

My mom would play this song almost daily and I would sing along. I didn’t understand it for a long time. In fact, it came to mind a month or so ago, and now I really understand the lyrics written in the 1940s. Now, there are science, politics and the economy. Let’s be optimistic that these forces will work for the betterment of all. During this time of holidays, even with limited family contact, I have hope that we will weather the storms of illness and hatred.

I wish, for all of my readers, that you have a healthy and optimistic holiday.