Friday, June 20, 2014

Oh, Just Write A Letter To Your Mother

There have been a number of songs written about Maine and  a few written by Maine residents.  I thought I would put them all together an write a little on each one, but that is too much at once, and doesn't give each of them the blog they deserve.

I don't know much about the writer of this piece of music except that he was a resident of West Baldwin, and as it happened in that small town there were several males who shared the same first name.  For privacy's sake I won't list them, but one of them was the husband of  my good friend Joyce.  And Joyce is the person who donated this piece of music for my collection.

OH, JUST WRITE A LINE TO YOUR MOTHER (Wherever You Are To-night) was written by Elwood S. Harris who lived in West Baldwin, Maine.   West Baldwin is a small community a little north and west of Portland, Maine (which is Maine's largest city, but not it's capitol).   Mr. Harris wrote his song,  both words and music in 1941,  the year so many of our Maine brave hearts were far from home in the service.  The cover art is of a window with ruffled cottage curtains, a side table with a basket of  knitting, and a vase with a bouquet of flowers.  A bespectacled lady with her hair properly pulled into a very obedient bun, is sitting in a high backed rocking chart with her feet on a low stool.    She has a pair of very prim pumps with an ankle strap, and her dress, with sleeves to her forearms has a "ruching" around the neck.
She is holding a page of a letter in her left hand dangling beside the chair, and in her right hand she has the envelope.  She is contemplative in mood.

The cover is printed in monochromatic green.  Of course, it's a bit faded now, but even in its best day it was a bit drab.   Mr. Harris published it himself under the title "The Harris Publishing Co., West Baldwin, Me; and claims copyright 1941.    His instructions are "MODto  (with expression).  And it's written in four flats.    I could not find any information on Mr. Harris, but I have to assume he was an accomplished piano player.   I am hoping to find someone to help me put appropriate chords for organ in it for me.  On a copy, of course, as I NEVER write on original music.   Writing in books and on music is practically a sin in my mind.


Remember your promise to Mother
That you made her when you went away.
And the letters you promised to write her
As she kissed you good bye that day.
But the  time has gone by
There are tears in her eyes
You have broken your promise to write.
Oh have you forgotten your Mother
Back at Home Sweet Home tonight?

Where ever you are tonight
Just think how she'd love to see you
As she wonders why you never write,
For she will not always be with you
Back where the home fires burn bright.
But as long as she  lives you are welcome
Back at Home Sweet Home tonight.

No matter whatever befalls you
And your promise to Mother untrue,
It will make no difference to Mother
She will be the same Mother to you.
But there'll come a time but it may be too late
For the letters you promised to write,
So just write a line to your Mother
Back at Home Sweet Home tonight.

etc. etc.

I feel very privileged to have so many old pieces of music.   I have no idea what my kids will do with it all when I am gone, but for now it is in my care and I really do love going through it, reading the words and thinking about the time when it was written.  It tells a history, just as family albums do, and old diaries.   

If you like reading these blogs, post a comment or just drop me a line at janice.major@iCloud. com and put "music" in the subject line.   If you're looking for a piece of music, try me.   And whatever you do, don't throw away old printed  music!   I heard some one was buying up old sheet music to make wrapping paper for gifts.  I was horrified!   Some of the old covers are so beautiful.   Some indicate the dress mode of the times, and some have photos of long gone soloists, and some have pictures of whole bands.   Sometimes there are artist credits, sometimes not.  There is no signature on this particular piece, maybe the talented Mr. Harris drew it himself.   

With respect for the composer and thanks to my friend Joyce for donating it,
Janice Major
Scarborugh, Maine

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