Segarini – What Entertained My Mom

There’s a link to my Annual Mother’s Day Tribute to my Mother at the bottom of this column, but I decided to do something different this year.

I think about my parents a lot. Maybe as you get older, the memories of your childhood begin to offer clarity and comfort as you reach a certain age, but whatever the reason, I am sure I am not the only person out there who doesn’t find themselves remembering …or at least trying to remember, who …and where, they came from.

Lately, I began to realize that although my Mother and Father had no entertainment background, they had a love of being entertained. Of laughing. Of being touched by music and words that spoke to them emotionally. And realizing that, led me to have an epiphany …that whatever my parents were entertained by, listened to, watched, or read, would have been an influence on me. Putting this column together has clarified the thought. It is obvious that what they exposed me to as a child, whether accidentally or on purpose, was going to influence at least my taste, and start me on the road to developing my own taste in music, movies, television, comedy, and the printed word. I am exactly what they were. A consumer of things that speak to me, regardless if anyone else likes them or not. I look for greatness …things that have the power to engage me and stay with me. Popular, or obscure, fame and fortune do not matter.

Now, having just exposed the tip of the iceberg, I can see that I have even more to thank them for. Especially my Mom. My Dad had his loves too, Martin and Lewis (the only movie all three of us ever went to together was 1953’s “Money From Home”. I was 8 years old. The only time I am aware that my Dad went to a movie. He laughed the entire time. Jimmy Durante had the same effect on him. He also whistled and loved Johnny Puelo and His Harmonica Gang and accordionist Dick Contino.

My Mom, on the other hand, bought records. I found a big stack of 78s one day when I was 12, and looking through them, remembered hearing them played on our old 1939 Philco upright radio/phonograph console. To this day, one of the greatest sounding devices I ever heard. Clear, pure, and crisp high end, and deep, rich, mids and lows.

Here are some of the things I have remembered so far. There’s a lot more to recollect, and I will do my best as I stumble along. Mario Lanza and Nat King Cole already come to mind.


Eddie Cantor

Eddie was a HUGE star for a long time. He made my mother giggle.

Shirley Temple (And Little Kids in General)

Little kids. Even when Mom was young, I believe she had a destiny and desire to be a mother to many. Unable to have children of her own, after adopting me, no one ever left the house without them calling her either ‘Mom’ or ‘Aunt Merce’ from then on.

Bobby Breen

In the early ’50s, NBC in San Francisco bought this kids’ movies and ran them in the afternoon or on the late night “Owl Theatre”. My Mom would watch them with me, and I recall wanting to do what he did …only in a much lower voice. My favourite was a film where he was in a circus and most everyone else were small people. Is it still inappropriate to say “midgets”?

Cliff Edwards

Here’s another guy with a storied career who no one remembers. Always loved his voice. He introduced a lot of standards including the Disney Classics and George Gershwin monster hits, as well as the first recording of “Singing in the Rain”. Bobby Breen and Edwards did a number together in a movie when Bobby was 10 or 12 years old.

Laurel and Hardy

I can hear her laughing. Oh. I can hear me laughing, too. Her and I and millions of others.

Glenn Miller

I became obsessed with Glenn Miller’s music when I was around 7 or 8 years old. My Mom was a big fan of this particular tune, and I became one too. Miller was my first musical hero.

Milton Berle

Uncle Miltie. My Mom, Dad, and I every Tuesday night at 8:00pm. TV trays, TV dinners, and a television set with an 8 inch screen.

Clark Gable

She adored his wife, Carole Lombard, as well. One night when I was 7 years old, I heard my Grandma Kay and Mom talking about Gable. My Grandma said “He can park his shoes under my bed anytime he wants”. My mother agreed. I thought, “Why would you want some guy’s shoes under your bed?” It took years and years before I figured it out.

Totie Fields

Totie followed in the footsteps of another of my folk’s favourites, Sophie Tucker. Have any of you ever heard of either one of them? My Dad watched Sullivan every time Topo Gigo was a guest, too.

A Few Favourite Songs of hers with a comment on the last one.

Sentimental Journey

Canadian Sunset

Doris Day

Louis Prima

Frank Sinatra

Two of my Figone cousins, Nadine and Yvette, and Family Tree drummer/Lawyer Vann Slatter and I sang this A cappella in St. Lukes church for my mother’s funeral. The acoustics made it sound positively beautiful. I’m pretty sure she heard it.

Thanks for everything, Mom. I wish I could have been a better son. All of my good points are gifts from you and Pop, the luckiest Lottery win of all time. You and he gave me so much that even now I am still discovering just how much

I’ve always loved you. I always will.


Segarini’s column’s never leave the seat up, always stand when a lady sits at the table, and rarely, if ever, draws a dick on your face if you pass out drunk on his kitchen floor.


Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

5 Responses to “Segarini – What Entertained My Mom”

  1. marlene schuler Says:

    The songs you shared always bring pangs of longing and melancholy from a precious time. Mom and Dad drifting across a dance floor cheek to cheek. A toast to our beautiful Moms!

    • Thanks for your lovely comment, Ms. Schuler. It is rare that we think about our parents like that. Dating, enjoying music, etc. Just like us.

  2. patti blodgett Says:

    Bobby, my mom loved your mother and your mom really loved my mom. We have wonderful memories of our childhood. Your mom was a wonderful person and your father was such a hard working man and he always had a smile. We were lucky. You were probably one of the smartest kids in our W. Wilson School and always had something interesting going on. Wish that we could have a reunion from the neighborhood. Still in contact with some. If you are in Stockton, look us up and maybe we can all get together. Take care Bobby.

  3. Louise Simmons Says:

    Bob ~ I grew up on Arcade St where my parents built their home. I think I had a class with Eddie. Spent a lot of time in Segarini’s Market with my mom shopping. The butcher would give me a hot dog to eat. I also remember buying my own candy bar for 5 cents. Years later my own family of 5 moved into the house at 217 E. Ellis. Your dad would come often to care for the rose bushes next to the driveway. My stand out memory was with your mom. My then husband walked out one day leaving me with no money. Rent was due and I was scared and in a panic. I know I talked to your dad about it but it’s your Mother I remember. Sad, scared and overwhelmed I went to your home. There was a huge flowering tree or bush full of the most beautiful flowers. I rang the bell and there stood your mom smiling at me, so kind and welcoming as she opened the door for me to come in. I must have been there to discuss my problem and the rent not paid. I felt so small and embarrassed and then I heard her saying, “Don’t worry about it, my husband told me to tell you we’re letting it go, we understand.” Stunned I stood there . . . I must have been grateful, relieved and offered my gratitude. What I still remember clearly is your mom standing there with the kindest smile reassuring me all would be ok and I didn’t need to worry about this too. Now I’m crying . . . The Segarini family, your dad and mom . . . I’m still grateful 🙏🏻

  4. You had amazing parents. When I say “amazing,” I am referring to “the world,”…”the life,” they not only gave you, but shared with you, and very actively took part in actually sharing that life “with” you. You are an amazing son, to memorialize your parents, especially your precious mother. Being an “amazing parents,” requires people to do the right things for the family. It requires us to be our child’s friend, his/her teacher, his/her nurse, his/her confidante, and in so doing, will result in having a son or daughter who will be so bonded with that parent, that that parent’s legacy of being an “amazing parent,” will show in the life and soul of the child long after the parents are gone. Somewhere along the line, she (they), taught you how to ride this train called “life.” As an outsider, I see they succeeded in raising a son that they are eternally proud of. I love my parents, and I know they were not raised with the tools that are required to raise 12 kids, of which I was #11. But, I’m certain to recognize those who were raised with the proper tools.

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