The girls in the photos

Published 7:28 pm Wednesday, August 5, 2015

By Frank Roberts

Back in the ’30s, Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach had a hit called “Yesterday.” A few decades later, John, Paul, George, and Ringo had a hit called “Yesterday.”

One of the songs notes that yesterday seems so far away. At 86, it seems distant planets away.

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Among the photographs on my desk are one of Reba and I and one of the The Judds, each kissing a cheek. I was smiling nonchalantly.

The last one was taken in Rome, N.Y., where I DJ’d for a couple of years in the ’50s. I had my hair. I did not have my wrinkles or the annoying mustache I grew later.

I was about 25 at the time. When you are but a quarter of a century old, you don’t think about being a senior citizen yet. When you reach senior citizenry and look at your past, it’s like looking at another person, another life.

Gazing at old photographs (all in living black and white), I look at your past and try to recall as much as I can about each event, each person, each memory.

While I was moaning, inwardly, about the aging process, I went through a lot of old photos, finding several girls I knew from my swingley days.

Possibly the prettiest was a Greenwich Village, long-haired, beautiful blonde, Carol Henry. We both enjoyed Gilbert and Sullivan and went to all of the presentations by a leading company, presented in the basement of a church.

A friend to whom I showed the photos said his favorite was Kathy Davis, a sweet-faced, girl-next-door type from Roscoe, N.Y. I met her when I was a 17-year-old camp counselor.

Two of the girls were from another world — Enid Rhymes from England and Andrea Garcia, a Spanish lass, each with seductress movie star looks and a little more friendly than their American counterparts.

Keep in mind this was the ’40s and ’50s, so “friendly” usually meant not much more than warm goodnight kisses.

Nothing happened with Phoebe, because we were more like brother and sister. She was cute, though, and less than five feet tall.

Terry Zacour was a Rochester, N.Y., divorcee. This was a 1959 romance. She was pretty and very marriage-minded, seeking a daddy for her two kids. Eventually, she found one.

One of my favorites was Norma Johnson, a Minnesota-born Swede — blonde and lovely.

She stood by me during part of my Army career. I remember leaving for Seattle. It was tear time. We went from gate to gate at Pennsylvania station, kissing goodbye at each one. A few months later, she married my best friend, Donnie Norris, someone she used to say she didn’t like. Que sera sera, as philosopher Doris Day once noted.

I almost married sweet-as-can-be Betty Blakely. For some reason, I called her “Chicken.” That had nothing to do with her adventurous nature. I was stationed in Nome. She couldn’t wait to leave.

We courted, announced our engagement, and my protective Momma stepped in, wrote to Lt. Morgan, my commanding officer, and told him to put a stop to the romance. I was 17. Betty was 15.

A major high school romance was Enid Ginsburg, a lovely, quiet redhead whose family had something to do with the Mafia.

I liked Yvonne, because I was enamored by cute ‘n’ perky. Norma Walta, a Kansan, was the most — uh — romantic.

I was a busy rascal.

OK Roberts, time to part with the pictures from the past. You are 86. You have three grown children, five great-grandkids, and two great-great-granddaughters.

Enjoy the past, but live for the present.

But those girls….

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at