Re-collecting a Collection

Three Years

This post marks the third year I’ve been writing these blogs for Team Frankie Laine. I consider myself both blessed and humbled since having been asked to be part of this fine organization dedicated to our “Legend of Song.”

Each month I find myself wondering whether I can think of anything else to write about. However, just when I think I have written all I know about Frankie Laine, it seems something always formulates in my mind. It’s all about the connection. Yes, I have written about my Laine involvement over the years, but the thoughts, the music, and the memories enable several day-to-day occurrences to somehow become “Laine oriented.” And then I proceed to write.

Collection Back to Normal

The deluge continues in the Midwest. We have had steady rain both day and night for a couple of weeks or so. Our downstairs family area—including my “Frankie Laine” room, has been dried, flooring ripped up and discarded, and new flooring installed. As I write this, we have a plumber installing a rather expensive battery-operated sump pump backup system. Of course, we had replaced our failed pump with a new one after our flooding disaster during Labor Day weekend, but we realized that if the electricity ever failed during the heavy rain we’ve been experiencing, we would be back in the same boat (no pun intended) with water seepage. This battery-powered backup will ensure that we are protected in cases involving a pump malfunction or a power outage. And, I won’t have to remove my precious Frankie Laine collection from drawers and cabinets and place items into boxes to be stacked randomly around our house!

After new flooring was installed in our downstairs area, and after cabinets were moved back into place, I went to work last weekend reassembling my Laine collectables.

It took several hours of organizing because I really couldn’t recall where certain things belonged. I found I was reorganizing items. In a strange twist, I thought this was good. I was able to take my time and provide a bit more order to certain items. I have quite a bit of loose paper items within my collection. Some are notes, email copies, bits of photocopied materials, and envelopes holding letters and notes. These are items I want to keep, but do not belong with the more important letters, papers and notes filed elsewhere. So, I was able to file these in a more proper area than I had before the waterworks happened.

It was nice to see my Frankie Laine Atlas 78 r.p.m. records. I hadn’t visited them for a long time. Frankie recorded a few songs for this label before signing with Mercury Records in the late 1940s. I chuckled as I picked up Frankie’s wonderful recording on Atlas of “Maureen.” I have made it a priority to play this song for any lady named Maureen that I know, or will ever know. I have carried out this task on a couple of occasions. Needless to say, these ladies are thrilled because they never had expected a song would be named, you guessed it, “Maureen.” It’s a beautiful name, just kind of uncommon for a song title.

I love Frankie’s early recorded work. It is no wonder he was something unique at the time. He certainly had a style that was unique and wonderful.

So, I pondered his Atlas list and held each disc carefully in my hands. It had been a melancholy time for me having to remove all of my Laine items from cabinets in a frantic hurry after we discovered our sump pump failure the Sunday after Labor Day. But, wait . . . I looked down at the Atlas record I had in my hands. The song was titled after another lovely but unusual female name: “Melancholy Madeline.”

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About the Author:

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Craig Cronbaugh, Director of the Legislative Information Office with the Legislative Services Agency at the Iowa State Capitol. As famed singer Frankie Laine’s special friend and a collector of Laine’s recordings and career memorabilia, Craig has written articles; has written, produced, directed, and hosted a distinctive radio program; and has appeared on Iowa statewide television regarding his Frankie Laine avocation. Craig has been highlighted briefly and has been given a research screen credit in the 2003 internationally distributed documentary Frankie Laine: An American Dreamer. Craig’s book, a memoir, Reaching for a Star, featuring his friendship with Laine, was published in 2005.