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By Edward A. Rinderle
Posted: 03/18/2024

From an early age, my Dad instilled in me a love of several of life’s treasures.  One of them was  was sports.  An early football hero of mine was a receiver for the LA Rams named Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch.  After retiring from football, Hirsch made a film entitled “Crazylegs”, which chronicled his life story.  A few years later he starred in a second film about a “prison without bars”.  Entitled “Unchained”, the movie wasn’t much of a hit, but it did introduce the world to its haunting theme:  “Unchained Melody”.

Years later, in the summer between my junior and senior years as an undergraduate at the University of New Orleans (UNO), I had occasion to attend a summer math retreat at the University of Oklahoma.  During that summer, the Righteous Brothers released their version of “Unchained Melody’, showcasing Bobby Hatfield’s magnificent voice.  That song lived in my memory as a reminder of one of the most special times of my life. The fact that I met my “first love” during that time didn't hurt, for she was also a fan of the Righteous Brothers.  

After graduating from UNO, I moved to Southern California to attend graduate school.  I married, had three kids, bought a home in Altadena, and settled into a job I loved.  Toward the end of my 30-plus years in Altadena, a movie called “Ghost” hit the theaters.  The film grabbed my interest, partly because its bittersweet nature was enhanced by its theme:  “Unchained Melody”. 

More years passed, and I found myself enjoying a little get-away with my wife Jean. I relaxed in a chaise lounge poolside at a condo in Palm Springs.  I took in the gorgeous mountain panorama towering above the ripples of the pool.  Across the way, Jean was sunbathing.  Piped in music filled the air with “oldies”.  Amid my reverie, Bobby Hatfield’s voice drifted in on the strains of “Unchained Melody”.  Then, just as Hatfield sang “I need your love, God speed your love to me”, Jean rose from her chaise across the way and walked around the pool to my side.  Though she is no longer with me, I can still see her walking my way in my dreams.

Across the years, “Unchained Melody” has linked together the phases of my life.  From “Crazylegs” to Oklahoma to “Ghost” to a poolside in Palm Springs, that beautiful and heart-wrenching air hangs as a garland.  A gift from the Cosmos to me. 

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