For the Many Brown Eyed Girls Out There by
10
(22 Stories)

Prompted By Songs We Sang

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The original brown eyed girl teaching high school English circa 1968

When Van Morrison released the song Brown Eyed Girl back in 1967, it felt like he had written it for me. My future husband and I were spending our senior year at the University of Michigan zooming all over campus on his mighty Honda 90, listening to music on transistor radios, and taking romantic treks through the Arb (Nichols Arboretum). Yes, that was definitely our song and I was the star – the brown eyed girl.

When the song came out we all took it as a tribute to brown eyed girls who were in love, and later to brown eyed girls in general.

I’m sure every other brown eyed girl, back then and to the present, has loved the images of young love.

Laughing and a-running, hey, hey
Skipping and a-jumping
In the misty morning fog with
Our, our hearts a-thumping…
Slipping and a-sliding
All along the waterfall…
Making love in the green grass
Behind the stadium
With you, my brown-eyed girl
You, my brown-eyed girl

Even though the lyrics told a slightly different story, when the song came out we all took it as a tribute to brown eyed girls who were in love, and later to brown eyed girls in general. Plus, it was really fun to sing along to its catchy tune and dance to its great beat.

There were so many other songs that were woven into the tapestry of my life back then. I also thought Happy Together by the Turtles was written for me and my guy.

I can’t see me lovin’ nobody but you
For all my life
When you’re with me, baby the skies’ll be blue
For all my life

Me and you and you and me
No matter how they toss the dice, it had to be
The only one for me is you, and you for me
So happy together

I was so young and free of all responsibilities in 1967. Just having a blast singing aloud while I danced to Respect by Aretha Franklin, Ruby Tuesday by the Stones, All You Need is Love and Penny Lane by the Beatles, Somebody to Love and White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane, and  Light my Fire by The Doors. While graduation loomed, I preferred to enjoy these last carefree months of my life, and the music was the perfect sound track to those special days.

With no specific plan in mind, I guessed I would follow my future husband to Chicago where he would start medical school in the fall. We would find some kind of summer employment, and I would try to get a teaching job for September. Eventually, actually in August of 1968, we would get married. Eventually, in June of 1971, we would start a family. Yep, by then the brown eyed girl was no longer laughing, running, or skipping unless she was chasing a child. At least we were still happy together.

Lest you think 1967 was the height of great music, other hit songs that year included To Sir With Love by Lulu, Somethin’ Stupid by Frank and Nancy Sinatra, It Must Be Him by Vicki Carr, Release Me by Engelbert Humperdinck, Up, Up and Away by The Fifth Dimension, The Beat Goes On by Sonny and Cher, Green Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones, and tons of catchy nonsense by The Monkees. I didn’t sing or dance to those.

Recently at a wedding, the band played Brown Eyed Girl and the older folks joined the friends of the bride and groom on the dance floor. I guess there are brown eyed girls of all ages who love that song. As I danced, along with many others I sang those lyrics that seemed to be meant just for me over 50 years ago.

Do you remember when we used to sing
Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah

I still do.

I invite you to read my book Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real and join my Facebook community.

 

 

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Tags: brown eyed girl, van morrison, 1967
Characterizations: been there, moving, well written

Comments

  1. Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau says:

    Laurie, though I am younger than you, I listened to all the same music, I was just at a different point in my life. While I wrote about singing classical music, I loved pop music too, as I LOVE to dance and party and that was the music of my generation, os it has all sorts of memories for me (as I mentioned with Elton John’s song). Thanks for reminding me of all that, even the silly stuff (Monkees, and such). Brown Eyed Girl is a classic.

  2. Profile photo of Suzy Suzy says:

    Laurie, I’m a brown-eyed girl too, and that song certainly had the same effect on me. Still one of my favorites, as are the other songs from 1967 that were woven into your tapestry (love the phrase!). However I do also like The Beat Goes On, and Up, Up, and Away, which you mention with disdain. And The Monkees! To me they were so great! Maybe my perspective was different from yours because I was still in high school and you were practically a grown-up. Anyway, I enjoyed your story, thanks for sharing it!

  3. Profile photo of John Zussman John Zussman says:

    I love the way music permeates this story. You’ve got me rocking out, skipping and a-jumping, even though I am neither brown-eyed nor a girl (or even a boy at this point). It’s amazing how, even at our advanced age, Van Morrison still makes us want to get up and dance.

  4. Profile photo of Risa Nye Risa Nye says:

    Oh, to have a song that is so definitely “yours.” What great memories it inspired! The closest I ever came was “Lovely Rita Meter Maid,” which isn’t really fair. Keep singing your song. It never gets old.

  5. Profile photo of gsbate gsbate says:

    “Eventually, actually in August of 1968, we would married. Eventually, in June of 1971, we would start a family. Yep, by then the brown eyed girl was no longer laughing, running, or skipping unless she was chasing a child. At least we were still happy together.

    I read the entire paragraph three times. I’m a retired creative writing teacher, and I want you to change two verbs: 1. we married, 2. we started. Think about taking out eventually both times.

    I love what you have written. I’m suggesting verbs that stop uncertainties. I made choices that stopped possibilities, too. Eventually. What do you think? Was it longer or shorter then? That paragraph touched me.

    • Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy says:

      Thanks for your suggestions. What I wrote was:
      “We would find some kind of summer employment, and I would try to get a teaching job for September. Eventually, actually in August of 1968, we would get married. Eventually, in June of 1971, we would start a family. Yep, by then the brown eyed girl was no longer laughing, running, or skipping unless she was chasing a child. At least we were still happy together.”
      I guess I don’t need the “eventually,” although I was trying to convey how non-planned our life was at that stage. You are right about the verbs. It reads better the way you suggested. If I publish it again, I will make some edits. So glad you liked my piece.

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