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Jerome Kern: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

This next song was one of my grandmother’s favorites. She was an Irish Catholic girl who grew up in Pennsylvania, became a nurse and met my grandfather while working for the war effort and after getting married they started for California. She would tell the story of how they ended up living in Denver by saying “we were on the road to Hollywood so your grandfather could be an actor but we ran out of money in Denver and that was that.” 

Almost every year for the past 6 or so years, I would go to Denver and put on a recital at her assisted living facility. She was definitely the most popular girl at this place not only because she was such a warm, incredibly kind, and funny lady but also because she had a singing granddaughter that would come and sing all the hits from when her and her friends were young. It was such a joy getting to see her smiling face in the audience.

It really is amazing what music can do. My grandma had dementia and lost her ability to speak to us but she was always singing. When I was with her I would sing her favorite songs and she would hum along perfectly content to speak through music. She passed away this past August and although it was very difficult to lose her, I remember her when I hear and sing these songs that she introduced me to and know she’s singing along from above. 

From Jerome Kern’s 1933 musical Roberta, this is Dinah Shore’s version of “Smoke gets in your eyes”. 

P.S. Dinah Shore is one of my favorite singers who was actually introduced to me by Mr. Steven Blier! Thanks, Steve!!

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