Our neighbors from across the street and a few doors down invited my sister and I for an afternoon at the beach.Their ‘56 Desoto  convertible stood, parked in front of their house,  it’s front end sloping down the driveway. Our neighbors, the Boardman’s, wanted to avoid the crowds at Jones Beach and chose a place called Zack’s Bay. We piled into the Desoto. It’s wide vinyl  seats left plenty of room for the four of us. Despite the threat of rain, we decided to take our chances and hit the road.

 My sister and I weren’t the greatest swimmers, neither were our neighbor’s daughter,Carolann and her mom, Ann. So we were glad to romp in the calm waters of the bay where we didn’t have to worry about jellyfish or a strong undertow.We just  bobbed up in down in the water while Mrs. Boardman watched from her beach chair in the distance. 

After a while, the clouds darkened to the point that Mrs. Boardman decided to  gathered us up and head back to town. As we drove back home in the Desoto convertible, we felt the cool, moist air brush against our checks Then it began to drizzle. But it didn’t rain hard enough for us to have to put the top back up. 

I  don’t recall what we were talking about on the return trip. We were probably dozing off at that point from all the fresh air and exercise. But then, for whatever reason , Ann Boardman decided to turn on the radio. And ,as  if on cue, I heard a pulsing bass line. A piano was playing chords in repeated triplet figures. And then...”Doowop-doowop”. I thought,’What’s that, some kind of bird 🎶 singing?’ No ,it was a trio of  men singing falsetto.I never heard anything quite like that! And  then, suddenly, I  burst out in uncontrolled, full- throttled laughter. I saw.Mrs. Boardman smiling in the rear view mirror. Then, there was a sort of lull in the music. This was during the chorus of the song when the ‘bird’ wasn’t chirping  but someone was singing a regular sounding melody. This gave me a chance to catch my breath.Then the ‘doowops’ returned and my laughter suddenly switched on again. I recall a feeling of pure joy as I rolled around  and around in the backseat of the Desoto while the tune played on.

Years later, I would discuss this song in my Popular Music in America course as a fine example of the Doowop style. It was the Cadillac’s one hit wonder,’ I Only Have Eyes for You’, a cover of  the old Harry Warren and Al Dubin song.

Whenever I hear it or even hear other versions of it, I think of that glorious, carefree moment years ago from my childhood back on Long Island!

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