For all you die-hard Frank Sinatra fans you may be aware that among the many songs ole-blue-eyes recorded was one entitled Somewhere in Your Heart. What you may not be aware of is that it was originally recorded by my father-in-law, William O’Keefe McCloskey, aka Bill Martel; Impala Recording Artist. While still in high school and before embarking on a singing career, Bill contracted the polio virus which left him with a noticeable limp. He would sometimes tell people that it was an old war injury, other times he would say he was doing his best Walter Pidgeon impersonation.
In the early 1950’s Bill met and married Barbara Meiris, the beautiful young woman who would become the mother of their 8 children, one of whom I had the good fortune to marry. My father-in-law had a great line in which he used to say, “You know, with a name like McCloskey and eight kids people assume we’re strict Catholics. The truth is, we’re just careless Protestants.”
It was during Bill’s heyday with Impala Records that he was being touted as the next Eddie Fisher. Accolades aside, he realized how difficult it was to actually make a living in the music industry and put his singing career on hold in order to support his ever-growing family. He ended up in the car business, a vocation at which he excelled.
The year my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, we threw a surprise party in which 100 of their closest friends and family were in attendance. The day after the party my father-in-law was waxing nostalgic when he said to me, “You know Rob, I was supposed to be the next Eddie Fisher. But after looking around that room yesterday I wouldn’t trade all the fame and fortune in the world for what I have”.
One month before his 82nd birthday, Bill passed away. I know those of us surrounding his hospital bed that morning had the same collective thought; thank-you dad, for finding a place somewhere in your heart for all of us.