Tribute to Caryl and Earl Haring

This “Cruisin’ in My Wagon” nostalgia CD is dedicated to my mother and father, Caryl and Earl Haring, who are among those great souls of the Greatest Generation.

Earl HaringMy father started playing the trumpet at age five, and my grandmother Edna often talked about how they “couldn’t get that bugle out of his hands,” as it was common for him to practice for 8 hours a day – just for the pleasure of it. His passion for the instrument was that strong. He played trumpet during the Big Band era and, like many California show musicians, he played in orchestras behind such artists as Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. All of this happened before he met our mother and moved to her home state of Iowa to raise four children – Cynthia, Beth, Michele and John.  We always thought those pictures of him with the soft, dreamy eyes and cool, wavy hair were an entrance into a secret world that he knew but few others entered – except my mother, of course – and that was many, many years ago.

Although my mother did not have the musical gifts of my father, she made up for it with an exuberant, larger than life performance style as she pranced around the house singing, “Oh You Beautiful Doll” and “Mister Sandman,” two songs featured on this collection. She had a contagious enthusiasm and a “get up and go” love of life romping.  She was fun!  We loved the sweet courtship story of how dad won mother’s heart by singing “I Don’t Know Why (I Just Do),” to her from the stage.  We often say that if it weren’t for that song (which appears on this CD with dad singing lead), we wouldn’t have been born.

Caryl HaringMother was an elementary school teacher in Iowa for more than 40 years, and she loved and valued her students, often quoting Dr. Seuss: “A person is a person, no matter how small.”  Years later, when she received holiday cards from her now-grown kindergarten students, she would share sweet details about “her cherubs,” as she called them. After her retirement from Eisenhower School in Davenport, Iowa, she still brought joy to others by doing volunteer work in the prisons and by performing these songs at senior centers with the Papillion (Nebraska) Butterfly Band .  During my performance career when I would play some slow, brooding song, and I asked her what she thought, she was always positive. Then she asked, “do you have anything with a little more pep?”  Yes, mother I do!  Finally, this is your CD… full of pep, fun, romance, joy, and great energy, just the way you like it, and just the way you taught us all to embrace life.

Caryl and Earl Wedding PhotoSo, we hope you enjoy your musical cruise through time with us . . . from 1911 with “Oh You Beautiful Doll” to 1939 with “Jeepers Creepers” to 1954 with “Mister Sandman,” always mother’s favorite, and beyond!  Some great Doo Wop legends – Steve Horne (Doo Wop Mob), Bobby Hendricks (Drifters), and Richie Merritt (Marcels) – join us on songs like “Blue Moon,” “Papa Oom Mow Mow,” “Pretty Little Angel,” and “Under the Boardwalk.”  The 18-song collection also features classics like “Summer Place, “Up on the Roof,” “Lollipop,” “Come Softly to Me,” “Venus in Blue Jeans,” “Mountain of Love,” and “Heart and Soul.”  We include three originals - “In Your Arms,” and “Sweetie Pie,” and our theme song, “Cruisin’ in My Wagon.”  Thank you for joining us on our journey!