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Heart-shaped candies with words of love often brought giggles from those grade school girls on the receiving end of what I often referred to as Puppy Love. And oh my, once recess time arrived, those same gals made a dash to the playground to share their treasures with their friends. Candy hearts and valentine cards gave vent to plenty of excitement. Yes, there was love in the air. It was the key ingredient leading to teasing.

A Romeo I was not. It was never a rerun of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Even if I tried to be coy in sneaking a Valentine onto the desk of the cute little gal with the pigtails when she wasn’t around, it quickly turned into a scene of finger-pointing in my direction. I may have blushed a time or two, but it was only puppy love.

I wonder how many “puppy love” romances led to life-long relationships? More so at the high school level than the K-8th grade. Just maybe, that’s when I acquired my taste for chocolate hearts rather than the white candy hearts with a verse written in red. I must admit, those were some of the fun times as I think back to pre-high school days. Pig tails and pony tails were special, but pulling on them could sure call for a trip to the principal’s office.

What a joy I discovered when a sheet of paper with the Songs of the Century fell out of one of Brother Don’s CDs. The CDs were five in number and contained more than 100 great songs written in the 20th Century. “These are the tunes that made us laugh, cry, lament and love. Styles range from Dixieland and Big Band to solo piano and light jazz.”

The Volume I CD included such hits as “Maple Leaf Rag,” “Peg O’ My Heart,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” covering 1900 to 1919. Volume II resonated with songs such as “Button Up Your Overcoat,” “Makin’ Whoopie,” “Over the Rainbow” and “My Funny Valentine.”

I would rate Volume III as my favorite. Just about every song listed was familiar to me when I could often sing along to the words that made them so popular, including “That Old Black Magic,” “When I Fall in Love,” “Mona Lisa” and “Mack the Knife.” As to instrumentals, they were all winners, including “In the Mood,” “Tuxedo Junction,” “How High the Moon”, “Love Me Tender” and “Autumn Leaves.”

The final two volumes cover 1960 to 1999. Included are “Moon River,” “Surfin’ USA,” “What a Wonderful World,” “Change the World,” “Let it Be,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Rose” and “You Are So Beautiful.” Inside of those 50 titles or so are two of my favorites. I remember seeing on stage at McDonell High School Patricia Statz singing “Send in the Clowns.” A lovely voice that would later be quieted when The Pentagon was hit by terrorists on 9/11. And my other favorite is often sung in church and on special occasions: “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” It’s hard to keep tears from falling when those songs are featured.

  • Get acquainted with the app called “Respect.” Put your phone away and pay attention to those talking with you.
  • The sad part about getting old is you stay young on the inside, but nobody can tell anymore.
  • Elective surgery is surgery that doesn’t count toward your major.
  • Never mistake asthma for passion or vice versa.
  • I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
  • I think more about running away now than I did as a kid, but by the time I put my teeth in, glasses on and find my car keys, I forget where I’m going.
  • Nothing makes
  • me feel so old as having to scroll down to find my year of birth.

Steve Henry is a former radio and TV news director, and outdoor writer and photographer. He can be reached at


Chippewa Herald editor

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