Loopy lyrics

In 1991, my husband, our toddler and I rented a beach cottage in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. It’s the same cottage we still get almost every summer.

Over the years, the owners have upgraded the cottage with assorted amenities but, in 1991, it was pretty rustic. No dishwasher, no microwave, no air conditioning. Worst of all, no TV. There was, however, a cassette tape player.

When we arrived with our two-and-a-half-year-old, we thought the absence of a television would be a plus. That is, until we realized we had one cassette tape. For the whole week.

It was Wee Sing Silly Songs. The three of us must have played that tape—and sung along, with hand motions—20 times or more that week. Got to know all the silly songs by heart.

Who can forget the classic “John Brown’s Baby?” Or as our son sang it, “John’s brown baby.” He had a cold upon his chest, and they rubbed it with camphorated oil.

Oh, what did Delaware, boys? What did Delaware? She wore her New Jersey, boys. She wore her New Jersey.

Good times.

I know that, in years to come, when we are in The Home, drooling in the corner and unable to remember our own names, we’ll still remember the lyrics of the great children’s songs. I’ll have to be sure my son has a copy of “Silly Songs,” in whatever format it will be then, to play for me when I’m old.

My brothers and I grew up on Irish drinking songs and versions of children’s songs that weren’t yet scrubbed of their political incorrectness. Didn’t we all? 

I went to the animal fair, the birds and beasts were there
(we thought it was bees)
The big baboon, by the light of the moon, was combing his auburn hair.
The monkey he got drunk. He fell on the elephant’s trunk.
The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees,
And what became of the monk? 

Then there were the songs we learned on the playground, such as “Miss Lucy Had a Steamboat.” We thought we were so cool because the lyrics allowed us to curse without cursing. 

Or this:

Tra la la boom di-ay, there was no school today.
Our teacher passed away; she died of tooth decay.
We threw her in the bay; she scared the fish away.
And when we pulled her out, she smelled like sauerkraut!

What songs comprised the soundtrack of your childhood?

5 Comments

Filed under Family and Friends, Music, Travel

5 responses to “Loopy lyrics

  1. Sheree

    I beg to differ on the lyrics of Tra La La Boom-di-ay…
    Tra la la boom-di-ay
    There is no school today
    Our teacher passed away
    We threw her in the bay
    We got a substitute
    That we just had to shoot
    Tra la la boom-di-ay
    There is no school today!

  2. dave

    From 3rd grade:

    Glory, glory, hallelujah.
    Teacher hit me with a ruler.
    Bopped her on the bean
    With a rotten tangerine,
    And the [something, something] marching on.

    • Your lyrics were gentler than the ones I remember: “met her at the door with a loaded .44.” Then there was “hit her in the butt with a [something] coconut.” And it ended with something like “and she won’t bother us no more.”

  3. Polly

    My father always enjoyed waking us up to military songs like “Over There”. And one of my early favorites included the lyrics, “Hi-O Silver steppin’ on the gas, here comes Hitler sliding on his ashcan, tincan, who can, we can… ” I was also a fan of the pseudo-swearing as a child ; )

  4. My father reminded me of two others:

    A horse and a flea and a coupla mice
    Were sittin’ in the corner shootin’ dice.
    The horse slipped and fell on the flea
    And the flea said, that’s a horse on me!

    I’m a rambler, I’m a gambler, I’m a long way from home
    And if you don’t like me just leave me alone.
    I’ll eat when I’m hungry, I’ll drink when I’m dry,
    If the whiskey don’t get me I’ll live ’til I die.

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