Author’s program note.
Remember your first crush? The heat! The intensity! The euphoric ups
and despondent downs? Of course you do… because while it lasted, we all
felt vital! Alive! Complete…. for all that the parents told us, over and
over again, that this was nothing but “puppy love” and wouldn’t last.
But it did last, didn’t it, in your mind and heart… to the point where
you must find this well remembered person and see how they turned out
and whether they still remember you, too, and the special song that was
your signature and which even today causes reverie and the sharp,
bittersweet pangs of remembrance and a bad case of the “what ifs”…
And so, for the fortieth time, you sit down at the keyboard and
search the ‘net and its social networks for intelligence… intelligence
that will enable you to rediscover your lost love, your youth, and the
life you might have had if only… if only…
To put yourself in the mood, go to any search engine and find
“Goodnight, sweetheart” written by Calvin Carter and James “Pookie”
Hudson in 1953. I recommend the original version by The Spaniels (1954).
It was bubble-gum music, a tune that signalled you’d better snuggle up
fast and close since your evening and its possibilities were about to
end…. Whatever you planned to do needed to be done and done now… You
know its lyrics so well… you know just how much time you’ve got left…
and you’ve got something important to say and do.
“Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go…. I hate to leave you, I really must say, Oh Goodnight, sweet heart, goodnight.”
This is a moment that determines fate… for in this moment the
ultimate words of destiny pour out… hot, fast, insistent…. every word of
consequence, every word packed with meaning… words of love… desire….
commitment… eternity. You cannot say where these words originate; you
didn’t even know they were in you… but they are present now, urgent,
eloquent, raw, powerful motivating words delivered in a powerful
“Mother oh and your father, Might hear if I stay here too long, One
kiss and we’ll part, And I’ll be going You know I hate to go.”
And so, at last, reluctantly, you did part… only to hurry home and
call the object of your affections … who might be someone entirely
different …thereby continuing the night, its emotions, its
It was all a game, an enticing, exhilarating marvel… and you loved every difficult, contorted, thwarted moment of it.
No one more than Doyle Taylor.
In 1955 and for many years to come, Doyle Taylor was a recognized
“catch”. Cute, funny, charismatic, Doyle played the dating game with the
same manic intensity he brought to the football game. His manifest
personal advantages brought him followers, an entourage particularly of
the female variety. He liked girls… girls liked him… and these two facts
made for exciting, explosive, entirely thrilling times.
Doyle delighted in the messy contortions of his young life;
scheduling multiple dates with multiple people; testing his skills, his
powers of persuasion and of escape; seeing how far he could push the
envelope. Being Doyle, he could always push it just a little bit more….
then a little bit more again. Life was good! Packed with possibilities
that caused him to jump up of a brilliant California morning, glad to be
Then he saw Casey… and he knows in the way one does (even if one has
never known it before) that this is the person who offers you more in
one complete, captivating package than all the others put together, no
matter how attractive. And all of a sudden you experience a flood of
emotions that weren’t there yesterday: tenderness, compassion, wonder…
and in an instant this confusing life becomes more confusing still, more
confusing and infinitely more important. Life is no longer just about
you and what you can get; life is now about what you can give. And Casey
was a girl you wanted to give to… without asking for anything but her
love in return.
Blocked by Dad.
But as every novel reader knows, the path of true love is never
smooth. And so it was with Casey, whose father was strict and knew the
insinuating ways of boys. Doyle was not welcome in his house… and so
school with all its limitations became the only place they could meet.
Little did they suspect that its very restrictions were precisely what
their love needed to flourish; from obstruction grew determination…
enhanced at the Friday sock hops they never missed… and which ended with
their anthem “Goodnight, sweetheart.”
But this wouldn’t be much of a story if it ended here, two young
people captivated by each other who decide to venture forever together.
What makes this story a tale worth the telling is what happened next…
and what happened after that. Like millions of starry-eyed couples, they
split up in high school and went their very separate ways…
… ways that led them to marry others, have children and lives which
would only have been dislocated had they connected too early. And so
these one-time fierce lovers grew old, apart, and lonely… existing, not
living, without love or its magic. And this, too, is the fate of
millions. And it might have been their fate, too… but for the fact that
out of loneliness they began to think of each other and what had each,
so long ago, been for the other. Thus, apart, they began the process of
rediscovering each other, beholden to a fate benevolent to them.
One day Casey’s computer crashed; all her personal data obliterated.
She called a friend to begin the recovery process and asked if this
friend remembered Doyle and possibly knew how to find him. The friend
did…. and within minutes Casey with excitement and trepidation had
emailed Doyle… who answered her at once… and so two once kindred spirits
connected… and found that the excitement they had shared so long ago
existed still… this time forever.
They met, as so many long ago lovers have met, compliments of the
Internet… and at once, in the very first moment, they knew their long
ago destiny was at last to be fulfilled.
And so it was. Two people, now married, forever young in the eyes of
their beloved, committed to just one thing: loving each other,
everything else insignificant and insubstantial. No more “Goodnight,
sweetheart” and separation, but “Could I have this dance for the rest of
my life?” No need to ask…they know the answer only too well, and
To put this touching tune sung by Anne Murray in 1980 to work for
you, go to any search engine. As you listen to what Wayland Holyfield
and Bob House wrote, think… for isn’t there a very special person you’d
like to dance with for the rest of your life? Go ahead… ask them now,
before another day is lost forever.