(also featuring Edith Piaf, Juliette Gréco & Melody Gardot)
An Open Letter to My Summer Romance
To my summer boyfriend,
We started out as friends. You were always there for me when I needed to get out of my house or when I was too stressed to think. We’d meet in a nearby park and throw a Frisbee around until the sun had long disappeared behind the hills. But, then we went hiking and everything changed. We came to a clearing on the mountain where we could look out over a beautiful view when you turned, wrapped your arm around my back and kissed me.
From that point on we were inseparable. I wanted you to experience the world with me and all it had to offer. Everything was an adventure. You took me on a picnic by a lake on a beautiful windy day. We went out for dinner in the city and stumbled upon a concert in the park. One night you swung me over your shoulder and threw me into your pool. My favorite memory by far is watching the meteor shower with you from the back of your dad’s truck. Each day was wonderfully spontaneous and overall magical.
But our summer together came to a very hasty close. We tried to stay together during school, but that only lasted a week. You drove up to my school the Sunday before labor day to break up with me. I just can’t help but wonder what was going on in your head that day.
What’s going on in your head now? Do you miss me? Do you just miss the classic rock we sang together with all the windows rolled down? Do you miss the relationship we had or just the way I looked at you? Either way, you gave me an incredible time that I could never repeat. You taught me to cherish the memories as much as the warmth of the season and the later sunsets.
I know you loved me, even though you never said you did. I could see it in your eyes when you looked at me or in your smile whenever I looked at you.
Of course, I hope you’re doing well and you’re happy with your life. I would give anything to repeat one of those wild summer days, but I know it’s best to leave the past as a simple golden shimmer of a memory.
Your summer girlfriend
(From Odyssey, Nov. 16, 2015)
‘Sous le ciel de Paris,’ Edith Piaf (1954), from the film of the same name, written and directed by Julien Duviver. The title song was written for the film by Hubert Giraud (music) and Jean Dréjac (lyrics). Jean Bretonnière sang the song in the film, but Edith Piaf’s 1954 recording became the first hit version and the gold standard by which others are judged. Other notable versions in French were recorded by Yves Montand, Mireille Mathieu and, in 1962, Juliette Gréco, the Lady of Saint-Germain-des-Près. English language versions have been recorded by Andy Williams (1960), Bing Crosby (1962) and Jane Morgan (1964), among others.
A Tribute to All the Summer Romances I’ve Ever Had In My Head
Every year, in the week before summer holidays began, I would spent a lot of time plotting out my summer. There would be time at the beach, of course. A bonfire with my friends. There would be jumping on trampolines with sprinklers underneath them. There would be ice cream and fresh fruit and tan lines that grew more pronounced each day.
And there would, of course, be a romance.
I don’t know where I got this idea from, but I’m guessing it was from Grease.
This idea that no summer holiday was complete without someone to spend those lo-o-ong summer nights with took root and turned into one of my favorite daydreams. Whenever my parents took me anywhere during the summer holidays, I would imagine my summer romance unfolding. He would be Greek or French or Italian. He would forget to put connectives into sentences so his compliments would come out as: “You so funny” or “I want spend more time you.” He would teach me how to dance the salsa even though he wasn’t Cuban, because despite never having danced a salsa or being 100 percent sure what it involves, I deemed it the most romantic style of dancing (an opinion I still hold today).
He would have black curly hair that was just this side of greasy, dark brown eyes that lit up whenever he saw me and a crooked tooth that made his otherwise perfect face a little bit more accessible. We would meet on the beach and make out until our tongues got so tired that we had to give them a Lucozade just so they didn’t start spasming with fatigue.
My holiday romance dream guy was the polar opposite from my everyday dream guy: the blue eyed, book-obsessed, tall but sort of chubby guy who made me laugh all the time. But that’s the point of holiday romances that you have in your head. They’re not real life, they’re not even close to real life–partly because, well, they’re completely fictional, but also because you give yourself the freedom to be someone else completely different too. You don’t care about chipped nail polish or your essay on Greek and Roman mythology. She doesn’t give a crap about whether Amber and Poppy are going to fall out over their joint birthday party or if your netball team is going to make it into the semi-finals. All she cares about is the sunshine and delicious food and the saltwater in her hair and where her next ice cream is coming from.
And maybe it’s a good thing to be able to get away from yourself sometimes, even if it’s just for the few weeks you’re on summer holiday or just in your imagination. To dream up a whole different life for yourself and cast supporting characters that don’t even exist.
I never had a holiday romance. Well, not like the ones in my head anyway. My real life holiday romances were conducted with various people around my neighborhood, and even when they were happening part of me was already mentally preparing for the eventual awkward run-ins I’d have with them for the rest of my life. In a lot of ways, I preferred the summer romances I had in my head–sure they were short-lived and entirely fictional but that didn’t stop them from being fun to dream up… and isn’t that all that matters?
Posted at Betty, June 9, 2017
‘Chanson des Vieux Amants’ (‘Song of Old Lovers’), Juliette Gréco (1967)
I was 18 and I was staying with a detached aunt and uncle in their San Fransisco home. I was there to help care for their two daughters ages four and six while their home was being remodeled. I wasn’t allowed to be left alone for more than 24 hours.
The first time both parents left was two weeks into my summer. I wake and start dressing myself when in walks the 27-year-old Czech babysitter, a girl with the figure of every teen’s wet dreams. She doesn’t knock, just walks right into the room. I’m standing there naked, one leg in and one leg out of my pants. Shock and awe? I froze in place and, apologizing, she quickly closed the door.
That was the first time I met this grown woman who would shake my reality down to its core.
A little over a month later things are going fine. The house has advanced to a state that is uninhabitable. We’re relocated into a condo with all the fixings. Not long after they announce they’re going to be taking another trip. This time they’re going away for a full week. In comes the babysitter and out goes the parental supervision.
We take the kids to the condo’s public pool for the day. First time I saw her in a bikini. OMG. I tried so hard to impress this girl that I must have made a complete fool of myself. I swear I was walking around with chest pumped out to the max pretending to be the alpha male I wasn’t.
Later that night, kids are in bed, I’m in my room, doing what I can’t remember now. In walks the babysitter. I’m standing there, mind frozen in place and out of nowhere she compliments me on my pants. That was all I could handle. I lost it. I don’t know what happened but all self-restraint went out the window and I launched myself at her. Next thing you know we’re tumbling around under the sheets.
‘La Vie en Rose,’ Melody Gardot. Recorded exclusively for Piaget jewelers, this recording is available only on the deluxe edition of the artist’s 2012 Deep Roots Album of the Year, The Absence. Click here for the Deep Roots review, ‘Dietrich. Deneuve. Garbo. Gardot.’
The weekend went on much in the same way. Before the parental supervision returned home she sat me down and we had a conversation about how no one can know about what happened. It was an effort; I wanted to tell anyone who would listen, but I restrained myself.
There was also a week-long vacation we all took together at Lake Tahoe.
The night before I was set to return home they left again and in came the babysitter. I was horrified. It was all coming to an end. We mingled twice more that night and the following morning, not long before I was set to leave, I couldn’t help myself: I told her I was in love.
I can still remember her facial expression. It was a mixture of confusion, flattery and pity. She quickly recovered her composure and explained to me that what happened was beautiful but it ends with my trip. After the conversation we had one last romp in the sack and she drove me to the airport.
We never saw each other or spoke again but I learned a great deal about myself during that summer. I owe her a lot and can’t thank her enough. It shaped my world at that age and help turn me into the man I am today. My opinion of myself and my self identity were both scrambled in those days and having someone like that take an interest changed how I perceived myself. It was a pivotal point in my life when I went from feeling like a boy to a man. I wasn’t the same person when I returned home.
(Posted at Girls Ask Guys)
Carole King: ‘I Didn’t Have Any Summer Romance’
They’re always writing songs about a summer love
That never seems to last beyond the fall
But I’ve a different reason for crying this season
The reason that can hurt you most of all
I didn’t have any summer romance
Nobody bothered to break my heart in two
While others were fooled by the sweet words someone vowed
I was the one who made company a crowd
I didn’t walk down the beach in a trance
Or listen to little white lies that sounded true
And no one could be as blue as I was in the fall
‘Cause I didn’t have any summer romance at all
No one could be as blue as I was in the fall
‘Cause I didn’t have any summer romance at all
Lyrics by Gerry Goffin and Carole King
B side of Dimension Records single 1004, “School Bells Are Ringing” (Goffin-King), produced by Gerry Goffin and released in 1962. “I Didn’t Have Any Summer Romance” also was recorded in 1966 by The Satisfactions, a group of session singers lead by Gracia Nietzsche and likely being known otherwise as the Blossoms. As Anthony Richard notes on the YouTube clip of the Satisfactions’ version, “an album’s worth of material was recorded and originally intended for release on Nitzsche’s own new label but when that deal fell through, only ‘Daddy, You Just Gotta Let Him In’ b/w ‘Bring It All Down’ were released in 1966 as a single on the Imperial label. With no master tapes to be found, only one side of a planned Satisfactions LP survives on an old Sunset Sound acetate.” The YouTube video shows the Sunset Sound Recorders acetate listing four other songs in addition to “I Didn’t Have Any Summer Romance,” including “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby,” “Until It’s Time For You to Go,” “A Woman in Love” and “Baby, I’m So Glad It’s Raining.” Click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2xVZSUnTwo for the Satisfactions’ 1966 version of “I Didn’t Have Any Summer Romance,” complete with a Nietzsche-arranged Wall of Sound production.
Your Voice Was The Soundtrack Of My Summer
By Alexis Tiffany
“Your voice was the soundtrack of my summer. Do you know you’re unlike any other? You’ll always be my thunder, and I said, Your eyes are the brightest of all the colors. I don’t wanna ever love another” -Boys Like Girls
I caught his glance as the sun was setting on that mid-summer night. They started the bonfire and you came and sat right next to me and handed me a Coors. I thought you were cocky but somehow you still seemed to make me smile.
You convinced me to stay longer that night. We went to the parking lot and you placed your hand in mine. You held the nape of my neck and pulled me in for a soft kiss.
I looked into your eyes and the light of the moon reflected back. In that moment I knew you were going to be the highlight of my summer.
And it was a summer romance like no other. It was two months of passion and recklessness. We didn’t care what anyone had to say or how long it would last. To you and I we didn’t care what tomorrow had in store. What meant most was right now.
‘Déshabillez-moi’ (‘Undress Me’), Juliette Gréco (1967)
He somehow made me face all my fears while he took me on every summer adventure for those couple months. It was crazy to put all my time and my love into someone who I knew wasn’t going to make it in the fall.
We both had different lives but even if it was just for that summer our paths crossed for a reason.
We would get drunk and walk around. We drove till the sun set and we didn’t know where we were anymore. We danced in the car. We took a road trip to the beach and fell asleep in the car. We fell in love between the long kisses and the endless laughter.
They say summer romances never make it to the fall. They say once September comes we have to face the reality again. Maybe this is the last night we have. Maybe we have to say goodbye.
My heart will break but one thing I know for sure is you took my summer and made it the best yet. You changed me to let go and fall in love.
You helped me face my fears. You made me believe in love again. You taught me how someone should love me. Maybe it’s not the right time but I sincerely hope we meet again.
(Posted at Pucker Mob)
‘Sous Les Ponts de Paris’ (‘Under the Bridges of Paris’), duet by Juliette Gréco and Melody Gardot on Ms. Gréco’s 2012 album, Ça Se Traverse et C’est Beau