by Bill Cherry
Her Daddy's '52 Ford and
the Singer Roy Hamilton
and Carolyn had known each other since their days as students at
Galveston's Lovenberg Jr. High. But while they were frequently in
school and church groups where they did things together, they had
never shown any romantic interest in each other.
In the spring
of 1953, a movie, "From Here to Eternity" with Burt Lancaster, Frank
Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Cliff and Donna Reed, was all
anyone was talking about, primarily the result of a romantic scene
where Kerr and Lancaster, in their wet bathing suits and lying in
the moonlit sand, are locked in an embrace at the water's edge.
Sammy and Carolyn had been on the committee that was putting together
the 1953 Ball High School yearbook, the "Purple Quill." It was Friday,
and a few minutes after school. The two of them and the faculty
advisor were making sure one last time that all was in order for
Making small talk, Carolyn said to Sammy, "Have you seen 'From Here
to Eternity' yet?" He said he hadn't, and they then began to piece
together the story from what friends who had seen it had told them.
And then for some reason, and neither knows why, Carolyn said to
Sammy, "I think I can borrow Daddy's car this evening, wanna go
see it with me? Dutch treat, except you buy the popcorn in exchange
for me providing the cool set of wheels." She grinned.
The feature was to start at 7:20, so about 6:45, Carolyn drove up
in front of Sammy's house and honked. They had agreed they needed
to get there early so they'd get good seats. It was sure to be a
sell-out, this being a weekend and all.
After the show was over, Carolyn drove up 21st Street to the Seawall
because they thought they may want to stop off at the Boulevard
Drive-In for French fries and a frosted mug of Triple XXX root beer.
When they got to the foot of 21st, it was like they were approaching
that same Hawaiian scene in the movie. The tide was out, the water
calm, there was a full orange moon in the east, and the gentle breeze
was cool. And don't forget the smell of the sand and saltwater.
They decided that before they went to the drive-in, they'd go the
other direction so they could drive down to the foot of the island
and see and feel that whole gorgeous expanse of nature from the
eastern tip of the island. And they did.
Naturally the car radio was on. They were listening to Rascal McCaskill's
"Night Train" on Baytown's KREL like everyone did in those days.
When Carolyn angled parked the car, they opened the front doors,
and pushed back the seat. And then, wouldn't you know, something
happened that changed their entire lives at that moment. Rascal
began playing a new song by Roy Hamilton, "Ebb Tide."
|First the tide
rushes in, plants a kiss on the shore
Then rolls out to sea, and the sea is very still once more.
he didn't speak one word, he just got out of the car's passenger side,
walked around to Carolyn's side, offered his hand, she got out and
they started to dance right there on the asphalt. Roy Hamilton continued,
|So I rush to
your side like the oncoming tide
With one burning thought, will your arms open wide?
|By now the two
of them were cheek to cheek, and their arms were around each other's
waists rather than in the dance position she had learned at Miss Mellon's
School of Dance a couple of years before.
|At last, we're
face to face, and we kiss through an embrace
I can tell, I can feel, you are love, you are really mine....
|And just like
that they were in love, a love that has now lasted for a half-century.
There have been rough times along the way for Sammy and Carolyn, but
their marriage counselor has always been to re-enact that entire scene.
They drive to the east end of the island, open both doors, and turn
on a CD of Roy Hamilton's "Ebb Tide." Sammy gets out, and without
saying so much as a word, goes around to Carolyn's side and offers
his hand. They begin to dance.
And it doesn't take either of them more than those few minutes, and
the help of the legacy Roy Hamilton left to them, to silently and
individually renew their vows.
*Words by Carl Sigman, Music by Robert Maxwell
Cherry's Galveston Memories
2 , 2007 column
Copyright William S. Cherry
All rights reserved
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your hotel here and save:
Bill Cherry, a Dallas Realtor and free lance writer was a longtime
columnist for "The Galveston County Daily News." His book, Bill
Cherry's Galveston Memories, has sold thousands, and is still
available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com and other bookstores.