The music brings back memories of the surfer girl and the long, lonely nights




Terry Mosher 3

It was 1963 and my dark years were in full bloom, but they were not as dark as they were for a old girlfriend. My “Ferndale Flower” came down with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1963, the year the Beach Boys produced “Surfer Girl.”  She was only 20 and about to get married to a friend when she began to limp.

That was the beginning of the end for her. The next 23 years until she died at 43 were not anything you would wish on your worse enemy. She was blind, could not talk or move for the last 10 years of her life, and was attended to in a state facility in Bellingham.

There isn’t much to Brian Wilson’s Surfer Girl in terms of lyrics. But the song, which I’m now listening to, shakes me to my foundation for what it meant back in 63 when the Ferndale Flower was first stricken.

 “ Little surfer little one
Surfer girl my little surfer girl
Made my heart come all undone
Do you love me, do you surfer girl
Surfer girl my little surfer girl

I have watched you on the shore
Standing by the oceans roar
Do you love me do you surfer girl
Surfer girl surfer girl

We could ride the surf together
While our love would grow
In my woody I would take you everywhere I go
So I say from me to you
I will make your dreams come true
Do you love me do you surfer girl”


Not that we surfed. We didn’t, except for many crazy nights surfing through and listening to a long list of sad songs from Hank Williams, who was on his own ride through dark years before dying at the very young age of 29 in 1953

I was listening to doo-wop then besides riding through the dark side of Williams. I have a big stash of doo-wop albums somewhere in this house – I have a stew of other records, too, which are probably worth 50 cents each on the open market, but are worth millions to me because they got me through some rough times when I cried softly at night to the dim light of my old upright Zenith radio.

I don’t know how I got here. I should have been dead many years ago. If drugs were a popular culture item back then, I likely would have been dead.

Now I’m listening to Lee Andrews and the Hearts in their 1957 heart-breaking song, “Long, Lonely Nights.”

That would describe my teen years from 1954 to 1960 when I turned 20 on the beach at Hermosa Beach, Calif., and soon enough would be back in Ferndale, WA. where I managed to stumble through five years at Western Washington while working long summer hours at great jobs with a food processing plant.

Weekends I would list to Willliams music with the Ferndale Flower until she got married and then got so bad she was placed in a state institution and never left except when they covered her with a sheet and carried her out.

I get shivers thinking of all the events and people that I enjoyed while trying to shake my dark years. I think when I left for California n 1965 with a degree from Western I finally got some peace. I didn’t find work there, but for a month I enjoyed the sun and the night life, and then I left for Oklahoma and a oil-related business that with a couple of other jobs in Alaska and Seattle finally pointed me toward the wonderful world of writing.

When I arrived in Kitsap County I was married and the darkness had left me, as did the Ferndale Flower and another buddy who also had a degree from Western. That degree helped him teach for a few years in Bellingham until one day they also covered him with a sheet and carried him out, the victim of a horrible family genetic disease.

It may be that I have the opposite of the Midas Touch because almost every one of the guys I used to run with from New York, California and Ferndale are long gone. Some at a very early age. Yet I’m still standing.

But the one thing that has not left me is all the memories, all the songs from the 1940s and 50s that gave me some relief from the darkness when I needed it most. I don’t know why the songs still shake me and remind me how lucky I have been to survive this long when there is no way I should have.

I’m trying to be an enlighten spiritual soul, but the music, and the people I knew keep tugging at me, and I can’t get away. Nor do I want to get away. And I don’t know why except the music and the people I knew who are no longer here were good people who would have made a positive impact on society had they not had the misfortune of losing the battle of life.

 “Oh long, long, and lonely nights

  Oh how I miss you, my dear

 Please, please come back to me

 How  I wish you were here.


Oh, oh, oh, long and lonely nights

I guess you’re never coming home

Long, long and lonely nights

Ever since you have been gone.”


Be well pal

Be careful out there

Have a great day

You are loved”