Remember when: Mooning over old songs

Published 2:23 am Saturday, November 19, 2016

“It’s only a paper moon, Sailing over a cardboard sea, But it wouldn’t be make believe if you believed in me.” This song was published in 1933 and later made popular by Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald,and Frank Sinatra.

sue_bass_wilson“Shine on, shine on harvest moon up in the sky; I ain’t had no lovin’ since January, February, June or July. Snow time,

ain’t no time to stay outdoors and spoon, So shine on, shine on harvest moon for me and my gal!” Another “moon song,” the lyrics remind us, that the nocturnal cheese in the sky has always been a romantic topic about which to sing and swoon. Making a hit among audiences when it was performed in New York’s Ziegfeld Follies of 1931,”Shine On..,” a lilting tune which sent couples spinning on the ballroom dance floors and one of the great Tin Pan Alley songs, was later recorded by Rosemary Clooney and the Four Aces.

Musicians and songwriters have invoked the moon’s charms for ages on end. Who can forget “Blue Moon” turned into a doo-wop song by a group from 1961, The Marcels? For the sake of their parents, baby boomers should always remember these words from the World War II popular tune heard on the radios in the Atlantic and Pacific Theatres, “I’ll find you in the morning sun and when the night is new, I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you!”

“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” was a 1953 musical film with stars Doris Day and Gordon MacRae singing a duet to this song.

The topic of “moon” came to mind when just this past week, we viewed the “Super Moon” in its orbit that brought it closer to this part of the earth than it had been in a while.

When I hear the song Shine on Harvest Moon” usually aired on the Lawrence Welk reruns on Saturday evenings, I am reminded of an Andalusia story that saddens me although it was about a family of the late 1950’s living the American dream, an Andalusia small town dream.

The Walter Latimer family consisting of wife, Marina, and son Walter, Jr., moved to Andalusia from Mississippi. Walter and his brother Ray both came to town to open a business, an industry, the Gulf Naval Stores. Ray’s wife was Ginny and his daughter was Lynda. Both families had homes on East Three Notch Street – Walter’s residence was on the corner of Fifth Avenue. Ray’s was closer to Hand Avenue. Walter’s side yard flower bed was lined with azaleas the entire length of the front yard from the house all the way up to the sidewalk. Ray’s yard was full of lovely camellia bushes. He must have been a camellia enthusiast !

Walter and Marina entertained quite a bit with warm and friendly get-togethers at their home. A number of young

businessmen and their children often enjoyed the Latimer’s Southern hospitality. They were the first family that I knew of back then to own a color television set. The families loved to congregate at their home to watch football games especially bowl parades and games. Walter was quite musically talented and would play his grand piano while everyone would join in singing songs such as “Shine on Harvest Moon.” The Latimers always gave us children beautiful Christmas gifts. In the summertime, their nieces and nephews from Mississippi would arrive and the children of all of their couple friends would take the visiting children swimming and to the “picture show.” There was such a great friendship among those local families and with all of the Latimers.

Their naval store business located on Highway 29 North just inside the city limits was thriving and very successful. It was a real boost to the local economy offering the needed jobs.

During the football season one year, the Latimers planned a fun weekend just for the mothers and fathers. They purchased tickets for everyone to an Alabama football game which was to be played in Mobile at Ladd Stadium. I believe that Bama was playing a Mississippi team. My parents were unable to go along since one of us children was sick. Walter rented a limousine that day down in Mobile for the ride from the hotel to the stadium.


I remember well that Saturday morning when the telephone rang and my mother answered the phone. She was quiet at first then she started crying. There had been a terrible automobile accident. At a busy intersection in Mobile, the limo and a Greyhound bus had collided. Several of the passengers in the limo were thrown out. The bus had actually run over Walter Latimer’s arm and that resulted in his arm being later amputated. It was a very sad time for all involved since Walter, a splendid fellow, husband, father, and businessman, died.

The injuries suffered by the others were not life threatening

although they were serious.

Skipping several years down the road, young Walter, Jr. who was at the time a student at Georgia Tech was tragically killed in a traffic accident coming back home to Andalusia through Brantley. For many years following that sad event, we would always see that tree that was struck as we rounded that curve and rode through Brantley on our way traveling to and from Montgomery. It was a bitter reminder of that terrible loss.

Fate is not always kind so the ending to this story is that Marina Latimer became ill with cancer. After having numerous treatments of the day in a time with fewer successes than today’s medical miracles, she passed away. Once when she returned home from a hospital stay, a small group of AHS band students played songs of “welcome home” music there in her front yard as a message of love and encouragement thanks to bandsman young Jim Krudop.

The Ray Latimer family continued to reside in Andalusia for many more years. Lynda Latimer taught drama at the

Andalusia High School, and her class and Drama Club presented the musical, Bye, Bye Birdiein the new school auditorium in the 1964-65 school year.

There are many family stories in “Our Town” so stay tuned for more as we REMEMBER WHEN. God bless the generous and kind Latimers who made Andalusia their home for a time! Visit the Andalusia Public Library Genealogy Room to access obituaries and family files. If your family does not have a file, then take the time soon to submit information to establish one with Linda Grimes Harrell, the library archivist. The Three Notch Museum and the Covington Historical Society work hand in hand with the library to preserve and publicize the history of Andalusia and Covington County.