Whenever there’s a fine fall day in Cramer Hill and the leaves fall on our little front yard and down the block on Von Neida Park, I think of Miss Wyatt, the music teacher at Vets. She taught us the song, “Autumn Leaves.” I loved that song when she taught it to us in the Sixties and wished we could sing it again and again…
Later, I heard it in French and I love it in French, too. When I played it this afternoon on my computer, I was thrilled that it was as wonderful as I remembered. The original song is French and came out after WWII. Johnny Mercer wrote different lyrics in English, different, but equally haunting.
If you look up this phrase online, Autumn Leaves, the Story of a Song, you can find the original French words, the literal translation in English and Johnny Mercer’s lyrics and you can read about the history of this song.
Want to have a few beautiful minutes today? Go to YouTube and hear Nat King Cole singing this song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gnp58oepHUQ Your heart will flip over.
Then, if you’d like to hear it in French, click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo1C6E7jbPw and hear Yves Montand speak 45 seconds in French (skip ahead if you like!) and then he will sing, Les Feuilles Mortes. Another flip for your heart.
Like a lot of the French I learned, I forgot Miss Wyatt’s first name. Was it Dorothy? Maybe. I was in awe of her. She rarely smiled, but when she conducted the choruses for the Spring Concert, she did smile and her face became beautiful.
I wish I could tell my Cramer Hill music teacher how I remember her every fall and I would like to thank her for the song she taught us about the autumn leaves of red and gold.
Love from Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra
Photo by Lori Nguyen, my daughter’s goddaughter