Monkey Face

by Elizabeth Hummel

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This song was inspired by the very real and beautiful love story of my friends Mary and Joel. They first met in 9th grade in the small Washington town of Des Moines, and were friends through high school. Joel was “a gorgeous golden god,” as Mary describes him, a young man that she liked, but thought was WAY beyond her reach to date.

Mary was shy and had had a difficult childhood. In grade school, some of the mean kids called her "Monkey Face" because her ears stuck out a bit. For her own self-therapy, she spent a lot of time alone rowing her boat out in Puget Sound, with a can of olives for her daily snack. Joel often watched her rowing out in the Sound in her bikini top, long blonde hair catching in the breeze. He liked her and thought she was beautiful (“yes, she had a great bod!”). Joel claims he asked Mary out, but she has no memory of that. As teenagers, their love never had a chance to burn brightly, but there was always a spark. They dated other people, graduated from high school, and moved on with their lives.

Four decades were to go by before they saw each other again. They both married and had children, lives full of blessings and most of our lives. Both Mary and Joel had lost their spouses, and grandchildren had started showing up to claim their hearts and attention. Romance was just not on either of their minds--"been there, done that!" as Mary put it.

Then one day Joel's brother saw that Mary was on a "friend of a friend's" list on Facebook. They wrote to each other for six months. Joel finally picked up the phone and they spoke for the first time in over 40 years. When they finally met again, it was instantaneous love. They have been together now for 7 years, and the joyous energy between them is lovely and inspiring to everyone who knows them.

This song is written from Joel’s perspective—some of it was guesswork for me writing it, but they both tell me I got it all right, down to the details. Sometimes the songster muses work like that! This is for Mary and Joel, but also for all of us who have been hurt by life, but then opened up to the beauty of our own true nature. Love is the miracle that can do that.


(For Mary and Joel) 3/20/2015

She’s lovely as the first beam of light
Kissing the mountain, such a beautiful sight
How could it be in that long ago place
They ever called her Monkey face

She’s pushing out, pulling back on the oars
Away from me, away from the shore
If I could ever keep up with her pace
I’d say: I love you, Monkey Face

Monkey Face
Will we ever have our time
I love your face
Someday I’ll hold your heart with mine

A can of olives is between her knees
Her long blonde hair dances on the breeze
If I could only just make my case
I’d say: I love you, Monkey Face

Monkey Face
Will we ever have our time
I love your face
Someday I’ll hold your heart with mine
Her glowing shoulders are kissed by the sun
I wish that I was the lucky one
I’ll lock my love
In my heart’s secret place
Someday I’ll tell her, Monkey Face

Monkey Face
Will we ever have our time
I love your face
Someday I’ll hold your heart with mine

Bridge: Years go by…love and loss…my hair is grey
It’s the way of the world
Yet sometimes I remember
That golden-haired girl

One day I hear that she is alone
And so am I—I pick the phone
I can’t stop smiling, my heart starts to race
Will you come with me now, Monkey Face?

Monkey Face
We can finally have our time
I love your face
Now I hold your heart with mine


song by Elizabeth
guitar, all vocals, and organ by Elizabeth
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Brian Castillo




Elizabeth Hummel Olympia, Washington

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