Perry Como and My Mother-in-Law

Now that National Poetry Month and NaPoWriMo are over, I have been revising poems. Mainly, they have been small changes, so either I did better than I thought last month or (and more likely) I am still not seeing them clearly.

Spring is in full swing in Arizona, and everywhere I look it’s yellow, green, and blue.

I’ve been going through some of my mother-in-law’s paintings that were left over after she passed away. (She died 15 years ago, so it’s time to look at them again). The reason I pulled them out is because my daughter moved into her own place, and I am looking for paintings to bring her for her to choose from.

I wrote about my MIL’s art My Mother-in-Law’s Legacy, Part I and My Mother-in-Law’s Legacy, Part II and My Mother-in-Law’s Legacy, Part III

A lot of her paintings are portraits, and those are more difficult to hang on a wall than landscapes. I thought I’d share one of the portraits with you today. Maybe share some more later . . . .

Because my MIL was hired to paint a lot of celebrity portraits, the ones that are left are often “first drafts,” but sometimes she just painted them because they were famous and she hoped to sell those paintings.

Do you know who this is?

That’s right: Perry Como and his family, wife Roselle, son Ronnie, daughter Terri, and son David. Perry and Roselle were teenage sweethearts and were married until her death at age 84.

I love Perry Como’s voice and laidback coooool style. This is one of my favorites:

And this one, of course:

You might prefer different versions, but he’s pretty consistent, so they are all good!

OK, NOW FOR THE BIG QUESTION. Was Perry my sweet cat named after Perry Como?

Wait for it.

Perry the cat was named for Perry Como and Perry Mason!


Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, Arizona, Art and Music, Cats and Other Animals, Flora, Garden, and Landscape

58 responses to “Perry Como and My Mother-in-Law

  1. This post brought back so many memories, Luanne. My mother loved Perry Como. Every Christmas, she’d play his album on the stereo in our living room. To this day, I cry every time I hear him sing Ave Maria.

  2. We didn’t have his records (my family was more into country and western), but I loved watching Perry Como on the Ed Sullivan show and I think he had his own TV show for awhile. I loved Perry Mason too. As for the furry Perry, I’d loved to tease his tummy!

  3. I want to kiss that belly! I loved both Perrys and cat Perry too!

  4. My dad loved Perry Como and I inherited that from him. What a wonderful legacy gift that portrait is…and I loved hearing about a celebrity marriage that lasted a long, long time…

  5. Those were the days! I loved watching Perry Mason. He was born in Vancouver in 1912 and had a place in Fiji (I think). He grew orchids as a hobby.

    • Raymond Burr grew orchids? Really? I thought he was from Canada, but for some reason assumed Toronto or Montreal. (Of course, until I moved to California years ago I pretty much thought Canada was Windsor, Toronto, and Montreal. And my MIL grew up in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, so I should have known better. My cousin is an orchid grower, and when we lived in California the gardener was a whiz at orchids.

  6. How interesting that your mom-in-law would paint a portrait of Perry Como’s family! Strange what we are drawn to capture in our art. I love his voice too. Massive dose of nostalgia today. That and Doris Day’s passing. I loved her movies as a kid. Double features at the drive-in. Where did that all go?

    • Not only was she drawn to these types of portraits, but that’s how she earned money for her art. She was hired by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Helen Hayes, etc. to paint their portraits, family’s portraits, etc.
      Doris Day’s passing about did me in yesterday. My daughter was in tears. I brought my kids up on her movies, and idolized her for her work with animal welfare.

  7. I don’t have any associations with either Perry. I don’t remember my parents listening to Perry Como. I remember reruns of Perry Mason, but I wasn’t a fan. Now, I’d definitely be a fan of Perry the Cat. (And I think I’ve told you my daughter’s nickname is Perry.)

  8. Interesting Luanne. Your mom was very talented.

  9. I thought he was named after Peregrine Took, cousin of Frodo Baggins, Guard of the Citadel and knight of Gondor, and 32nd Thain of the Shire. 😉

  10. While staying in NYC for an Easter weekend, I briefly met Mr. Como on the sidewalk as my mother grabbed his arm and proceeded to act like a typical over-excited fan. Dad and on moved on thinking the poor guy being spun around was an old friend of hers, she called us back. Mr. Como recovered from my mother’s craziness and was quite pleasant!!

  11. Those Perry’s are known of, but not not known well by me. Perry is not at all a common name here and feels quite odd when I write it – isn’t that strange. However Perry the cat is known of here and much admired and his name doesn’t feel at all odd on him! 🙂 Your mil was a talented artist – I’m guessing the 50’s when that family portrait was painted?

    • Oh, interesting that the name is unusual by you. It’s pretty uncommon here, too, although clearly a well-known name because of Como and Mason. Perry Mason is probably my favorite old TV show. And then my daughter thinks the gardener looks like Perry Mason (but thinner) hahaha. I admit my furry Perry is best of all, though :). Very very good guess, Pauline! I am pretty sure you are right about the painting being from the 50s!!!

  12. I love the fun tales your post elicited. I like Como’s voice, too. Might have seen a few episodes of Perry Mason, but the cat’s the best!

    • Haha, Eilene, yes!!! Perry the cat is the best of all!!! Although I do love the Perry Mason show! I’m sure I’ve seen every or almost every episode!

  13. Three fine Perrys! And a talented m-i-l.

  14. My mother loved Perry Como and I still have some of his albums in the loft.

    • Oh, that’s so cool. Do you have a record player for the albums? I still have old albums, and daughter wants to collect albums, but neither of us has a record player to play them on.

      • I do yes, I’ve still got all of the records I ever bought, although I haven’t played any for a while. Vinyl is making a bit of a comeback here and you can buy some quite inexpensive little players.

        • That is what we need to look for then. Why do you think it’s making a comeback? The tactile thing?

          • Some people think vinyl sounds better. I think maybe there’s a nostalgia thing with vinyl seen as ‘cool’. There is a pleasure in holding those objects – I remember whenever a new album would come out by my favourite artist walking home with it there for all to see and you could even get special frames to put the album covers in to put on your wall…

  15. I love the portrait piece!! Wonderful story about your mother in law, too!! I used to watch the Perry Como show every Saturday night with my grandmother…we both loved him.

    • How are you feeling? How is the recovery going? Oh, what a sweet memory of watching Perry Como with your grandmother. I’m so glad you had that experience. It seems so simple when it’s happening, but later, wow, it’s a memory to hang your history on.

      • Hi Luanne, it is a memory to hang my history on for sure.
        As for my recovery, I told Pretty today was the first day I’ve felt like myself since I had the surgery two weeks ago tomorrow. I don’t like to whine, but if I did, I could.
        The rehab is, how shall I put this?, a bitch.
        But I persevere every day!! I miss my cyberspace peeps!!
        Sending you hugs from your friend in South Carolina…

  16. I love this Perry trio! The best, of course is Perry the cat 🙂 I remember watching Perry Mason now and then when I was a teenager in the 70’s and enjoyed the programmes. I have heard Perry Como on the radio but not often. Your mil was a very talented artist!

    • Of course, he is the best ;)! Haha, so he tells me as he’s sitting here looking at me! Thank you very much on my MIL’s behalf, Clare!

  17. I enjoy both Perry Como’s Christmas hits and Perry Mason. My family also likes Perry the Platypus. 🙂

  18. I thought as soon as I saw this headline that you were writing about your sweetie cat Perry! Lovely images and recollection of your MIL! And, I’m glad to hear your poem drafts may not need as much revising as expected. And, congrats on your daughter’s impending move! Hope all is well w the rest of family!

  19. I briefly had a black and white ‘moo cat’ called Como for the same 🙂
    We had to rehome her, she simply did not adapt. Now she is an only cat and very happy 🙂

  20. Ah…Perry is named after two great people! 🙂

  21. John

    Really wonderful illustrations of como family. This woman was a huge talent. Would love to see more of this work.

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