Three Coins in the Fountain

Three coins in a fountain
Each one seeking happiness
Thrown by three hopeful lovers
Which one will the fountain bless?

Three hearts in the fountain
Each heart longing for its home
There they lie in the fountain
Somewhere in the heart of Rome

Which one will the fountain bless?
Which one will the fountain bless?

Three coins in a fountain
Through the ripples how they shine
Just one wish will be granted
One heart will wear a valentine

Make it mine . . . make it mine . . . make it mine
-Frank Sinatra

You know how someone can mention a song or a movie and, instantly, you’re dropped right into the middle of a vivid memory? It’s like you’re there again, living whatever it is that the mention of the song has triggered.

That happened to me tonight. I live with two brilliant and lovable set designers who design for all sorts of shows and productions. I went into the kitchen to chat with one of them before I went to bed. While he was telling me about the next show he’s working on, a production of Forever Plaid, he said the first number in the show is “Three Coins in the Fountain.”

My mind drifted off and, all of a sudden, I heard my Grampa’s voice singing “make it mine . . . ” with the steadiness of his perfect tenor. He’d sing it while walking around the house when I was growing up. Not a complicated memory or some great story, but simple enough to bring a smile to my face. I have three or four Sinatra CDs, and I always repeat that track when it comes on. (If that surprises you, you’re forgetting I’m half Italian.)

He sang a lot of songs that you never hear anymore — if you know them it’s probably because you play piano and have a background in the standards. I wonder sometimes what my life would have turned out like if he hadn’t raised me. It makes me sad to know he’s getting on in years and may or may not be around when I have kids. I want him to be here. He’s been such a joy to me. I’m gonna give him a call tomorrow and tell him how much I love him.

My grandfather and great-grandfather in a photo.

My grandfather and great-grandfather in a photo.

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