Miss Otis Regrets

For a good portion of my childhood I had a stay-at-home mom. Between careers in marketing, education and public relations, my mom stayed home to take care of my brother and me. I look back fondly to those days, bringing friends home knowing our house would always be “together” and the aroma of freshly baked brownies waiting to greet us as we entered.

A Young Justin on the Stairs
A Young Justin on the Stairs

Another memory that sticks out is the music my mother played as she worked around the house. This requirement of aural stimulation must be genetic because to this day I have trouble getting much of anything done without music or a podcast in the background.

In fact, as I write this I am listening to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative album, Watch the Throne.

For my mother the music was Earth Wind and Fire, Al Jarreau, Aaron Neville, Sade and Bette Midler. Of all those artists, it was the Divine Miss M that impacted me the most. You would think the love I had for her and Barbara Streisand would have tipped people off but I guess everyone somehow overlooked that…

There was one song in particular sung by Bette Midler that I had a perhaps unhealthy love for; Cole Porter‘s song, Miss Otis Regrets.

The song is in the blues style, and Porter’s wry take on some common lyrical subject matter of the genre, telling the tale of a woman who comes to a bad end after an encounter with a man. But Porter’s peculiar twist is that Miss Otis is a polite society lady, and the story of her last evening is told by her servant after Miss Otis has met her demise. In a few compact lines, the servant reveals how, after being seduced and then abandoned, Miss Otis hunted down and shot her seducer, was arrested, taken from the jail by a mob, and hanged. The servant conveys Miss Otis’s final, polite, apologetic words to her friends: “Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.”

Why a six year old Justin obsessed over a song about a woman being lynched I don’t really understand. In any other situation, a song like this might seem totally inappropriate. However, when I woke up this morning, this song was in my head and my childhood on my mind.

Do you have any similar memories? Feel free to share them in the comments below! Now I feel the need to vacuum, so if you could excuse me…

30 thoughts on “Miss Otis Regrets

  1. @justex07 Quite a few. “Fancy” by Reba McEntire, numerous songs by Helen Reddy. The soundtrack of family car trips.

  2. @justex07 Quite a few. “Fancy” by Reba McEntire, numerous songs by Helen Reddy. The soundtrack of family car trips.

  3. @joubiku I LOVED Fancy, I think Reba was my first concert actually. I don’t think I know Helen Reddy! Spotifying it now.

  4. @joubiku I LOVED Fancy, I think Reba was my first concert actually. I don’t think I know Helen Reddy! Spotifying it now.

  5. @joubiku I am Woman sounds familiar but I think it’s because of Whitney Houston’s, I’m Every Woman. It’s next on my @Spotify playlist 😀

  6. @joubiku I am Woman sounds familiar but I think it’s because of Whitney Houston’s, I’m Every Woman. It’s next on my @Spotify playlist 😀

  7. @joubiku I’m loving this song! Thanks for enlightening me on the existence of Helen Reddy!

  8. @joubiku I’m loving this song! Thanks for enlightening me on the existence of Helen Reddy!

  9. @justex07 She’s the iconic 70s female empowerment singer. Can’t believe you hadn’t heard of her.

  10. @justex07 She’s the iconic 70s female empowerment singer. Can’t believe you hadn’t heard of her.

  11. @joubiku finally proven that I’m not perfect… 😛 Meanwhile, this song just started (LOVE IT!) George Jones – Good Hearted Woman.

  12. @joubiku finally proven that I’m not perfect… 😛 Meanwhile, this song just started (LOVE IT!) George Jones – Good Hearted Woman.

  13. @justex07 that is nice! My mom stated at home until we all started school, buy she took classes at night so by the time my sis started 1st

  14. @justex07 that is nice! My mom stated at home until we all started school, buy she took classes at night so by the time my sis started 1st

  15. @thejustins86 when we were both a little older, my mom went back to school to finish her degree. She worked doubly hard those days. 😀

  16. @thejustins86 when we were both a little older, my mom went back to school to finish her degree. She worked doubly hard those days. 😀

  17. @justex07 moms are great! I live mine. Actually mom and dad are friends and I can tell them whatever 🙂

  18. @justex07 moms are great! I live mine. Actually mom and dad are friends and I can tell them whatever 🙂

  19. @thejustins86 My parents are awesome too, though we still don’t discuss my personal life in much details. They do read my blog… Hi Mom!

  20. @thejustins86 My parents are awesome too, though we still don’t discuss my personal life in much details. They do read my blog… Hi Mom!

  21. @justex07 mom follows me and sometimes tweets me. I sometimes ask for advice in relationships, they’ve made it 25 years so they know a bit.

  22. @justex07 mom follows me and sometimes tweets me. I sometimes ask for advice in relationships, they’ve made it 25 years so they know a bit.

  23. @thejustins86 I have never asked any of my family for relationship advice. I don’t really ask anyone though… which I realize now is weird…

  24. @thejustins86 I have never asked any of my family for relationship advice. I don’t really ask anyone though… which I realize now is weird…

  25. @justex07 I NEVER ask only give advice. But my mom is a good person to discuss current relationships at times which is nice to have the opt

  26. @justex07 I NEVER ask only give advice. But my mom is a good person to discuss current relationships at times which is nice to have the opt

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