by Harriette J. Schwartz

© 2006 Article By Harriette J. Schwartz aka HJSWritergal

In the late 1940s when my father proposed to my mother, he decided to do it the best way he knew how - with a song. Dad had a beautiful voice, something none of us unfortunately inherited (though I can sing a little, I am NOT quitting my day job.) He chose one of his Sinatra favorites, I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Dad sang it to my mom in a taxicab on the way home from a date. It must have been the magic charm because she agreed to marry him.

Soon afterward I arrived and by 1955, they had three girls: Harriette, Deena and Esta. In 1974, at almost age nineteen, Esta, the youngest met and fell in love with a young man named Scott, while both were working at a McDonald’s in Queens New York. My dad was not too thrilled for many reasons, not the least of which was their plan to get married where they met (i.e. that infamous burger joint.) He was upset by the idea he might be serving the guests Big Macs and the fact that they had no liquor license (still a major factor at weddings in the 1970s.) There was also the issue of my sister’s tender age. My parents were in total agreement that this union was destined for failure. Suffice to say, it did not paint a very pretty family picture at the time.

After much ado, the happy couple was convinced McDonald’s was not going to be the venue of choice and plans were rolled out to have their wedding at a place called the Royal Manor, also in Queens. Now we were all off and running to plan the very first wedding in the family. Scott, my then brother-in-law to be was a fan of the version the Four Seasons had recorded of I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Without knowing that it was my parent’s “song,” he asked Esta if they could use this as their wedding song. So it came to be that a second generation of the family chose the same tune. I’m pretty sure my dad was pleased with the choice and that it brought him and Scott closer.

Esta turned nineteen on August 15, 1974 and she and Scott married on August 18th. Their wedding was lovely and Esta was a beautiful bride. Deena and I served as bridesmaids and Esta’s best friend Randy was her maid of honor. All of us wearing pale blue, everyone looked wonderful and happy. The most cherished moment of the event was when my dad sang I’ve Got You Under My Skin, as Scott and Esta had their first dance. Dad only got that one go round to give away a daughter’s hand in marriage and Esta was the fortunate one to have him there. We lost him in August of 1978 to cancer. Deena married in September and I married in November of that same year. Still we all were there for the magic of that moment, a very special one to us all. I am pleased to report that my parents were wrong about Scott and Esta because 31 years later, they are still very much in love and happily married.

I spent many years working in television syndication and distribution, attending many conventions here and abroad. These affairs are usually quite lavish and laden with the talent the distributors are trying to sell. On one such occasion, a friend of mine who was working for Group W at the time introduced me to Toni Tennille. Toni was there to promote a new show, The Music Of Your Life. Group W spared no expense and even had a mini orchestra there for Toni to perform with. The premise of the program was for everyday people to come on the show and explain the significance of certain tunes to their lives. I was telling Toni the story of I’ve Got You Under My Skin and was just about done when without prompting the orchestra started playing it! Unable to believe the karma of the moment or contain our excitement we shrieked and laughed like two crazy women. Back then I had no way of knowing it, but it was a sign; a message from my daddy in spirit. I know it now.

So there you have it. I personally believe that music plays a very significant part in life. My family was raised with a great appreciation of all kinds of music because both our parents passed that on to all three of us girls. We have passed the story and the love to our children and I know they will do the same. Certain songs, this one in particular have more meaning and connection than perhaps the composers intended or ever dreamed they might. All I know is this particular one seems to have gotten deep under our skin.

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