A shared secret

English: Blanche Fisher Wright's cover artwork...

English: Blanche Fisher Wright’s cover artwork for the Rand McNally 1916 book The Real Mother Goose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My literary career began before I could read or write, and I suppose that Mother Goose may be partly to blame since I learned of rhyme and rhythm from the sing-song-y verses Mama read to me at bedtime.

It’s the wanting to REMEMBER, though, that birthed the writer in my soul.  More specifically, it’s the COMPENSATING for FORGETTING.

And it is as simple as this:  I often heard songs, I often heard poems, I often heard stories that I loved.  I loved to hear a well-told tale.  I loved to hear a lovely song.  I loved to repeat a well-turned phrase.

The stories my Mama read to me, she read over and over again; and I could remember every word.

The songs my grandpa taught me, he sang with me over and over again; and I could remember every word.

But there were OTHER songs.  There were OTHER stories.  I would hear them once.  I would want to tell them.  I could not remember the words.

I would try to sing a song I had heard.  (This was generally for my own amusement.  At that point I was a toddler, and for the time being, an “only” child.)  I would recall a phrase or two, but not the whole.  So I would think.  I would try to remember. I would wonder what comes next. “Now what word sounds like sky?” I would say to myself.

Then I would sing, and just PRETEND my new verses were how the true song went.

I needed to memorize my made-up verses as I went along, though.  So I would do two lines, and get them to rhyme, and then repeat them again and again before making up the next two.  Repetition like that is how my grandpa always taught new songs to me.

Sometimes I would remember almost nothing of the “real” song, and I mustneeds make up MANY verses, in order to go with all the notes.  It seems I could naturally remember the tune and how long the song should be, even if I heard it only once, but I couldn’t memorize the words fast enough to keep them forever.  And I mustneeds keep them forever.  That I cannot tell you why, because I do not know.  I have simply always wanted words to be kept forever.

When I got older and went to school, I loved to share songs; but at first I continued to pretend these all were songs I’d learned somewhere.  I ashamedly hid the truth that I had “written” them myself.  At that young age, I somehow felt it was wrong of me to selfishly make up words just so I could teach myself to sing the pretty songs.

Eventually, however, when I was nine, a teacher found me out.  I had escalated my criminal behavior to include teaching my songs to a girlfriend whose daddy played guitar, and this little girl had a charming voice.  Her daddy had her sing for people, and she liked to do that.

Our teacher played piano, and our whole class sang at the beginning of every school day.  My little entertainer girl friend volunteered to sing my songs in front of the class and dragged me up front with her to sing along.  I could carry a tune, and she could sing like an angel.  Our teacher loved music, and she encouraged us to perform this way every time my girlfriend said that she and Rani had a new song.

Without my knowledge, that teacher started writing down some of my words, and she gave typed-up copies of my “poems” (as she called them) to my mama at parent-teacher conferences.

When my mama showed those “poems” to me, I was stunned to discover that it pleased my parent and my teacher that I was doing this dishonest thing of making up my own little stories and rhymes.

Well needless to say, my temperament being such as it was, I was all about pleasing the parent and the teacher; and heck, by that time I could make a rhyme out of anything, any time it struck my fancy to do so.

So that’s my story
Each word is true
And I have remembered it here for you.

My girlfriend’s name was Mary Lewis.  Her voice sounded just like Mary of “Peter, Paul and…”  I just this moment remembered her name.  The school was Malcolm, the town was Sault Ste. Marie.  Mary, if you’re out there, write to me.  You moved away before I did, and I never knew what became of you.  I wonder if you knew that I was “making up” the songs.  I do not think I told you.


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The words my mama taught me and the songs my grandma sang

This is Your Brain on Music

This is Your Brain on Music (Photo credit: brewbooks)


“Music is an outstanding gift of God and next to theology … I would not give up my slight knowledge of music for a great consideration … and youth should be taught this art … for it makes fine skillful people … I would certainly like to praise music with all my heart as the excellent gift of God which it is and to commend it to everyone.”

— Martin Luther

I woke up this morning to this music in my memory:

My mommy told me something
A little girl should know
It’s all about the devil and I’ve learned to hate him so
He’ll only give you trouble if you let him in the room
He will never, ever leave you if your heart is filled with gloom, so:

Let the sun shine in.
Face it with a grin.
Smilers never lose,
And frowners never win.

Let the sun shine in.
Face it with a grin.
Open up your heart and let the sun shine in.

Here’s another one:  Does anybody else know this to be the first verse to Rock-a-bye Baby?

Rock a bye baby, your cradle is green.
Daddy’s a nobleman, Mommy’s a queen.
Sister’s a young lady who wears a gold ring.
And Johnny’s a drummer who drums for the king.

Rock a bye baby, in the tree top.
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

Rock-a-bye Baby!! (2)

Rock-a-bye Baby!! (2) (Photo credit: Jeanette’s Ozpix)

In adulthood, I heard that some think the cradle in that lullaby falls and crashes to the ground, injuring or killing the baby … but by the time I grew up and heard that interpretation, it was too late to stick that ugly picture in my memory because I already saw it floating gently to the softest of landings on the notes my grandma sang to me as she rocked me in her arms.

Remember to sing to your children!

Have a joyful day, my friends!

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More on Albert and Jay

Here’s Albert and Jay in 1901, with their sisters.  The oldest sister is my great-grandma.

Here’s another of their military photos:

And here’s their daddy’s (and my great-great grandpa’s) military headstone.  My grandpa Charles served in the Civil War.

For those of you who do genealogy research, please appreciate the difficulty of researching the last name of White!  As they say about Pokemon, “Gotta catch ’em all!”

I have, in fact, collected data on nearly every White family in the counties and states where my own ancestors lived in the 17 & 18 hundreds.


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Genealogy Research Success Story

Second cousins, three times removed. 
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Minard Zuidema

“Take me down to the banks of the ocean, where the walls rise above the Zuiderzee.  Long ago, I used to be a young man; and Margaret still remembers that for me.”

from “The Dutchman”
by Robert James Waller


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These are my uncles, Albert and Jay.  Photo was taken in 1907.  They enlisted together.  However, Albert was told that he could not enlist with his brother.  So he left the line of volunteers, and rejoined the line at the rear, and used the last name of some family friends instead of his own last name.

These are some photos of my uncles’ military days:


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Same stuff, different day

20121204-235536.jpg“Every modern erroneous cult is just some old Satanic heresy revived, and each is designed to misrepresent some aspect of revealed truth in regard to Christ and His redemptive work. The advocates of these systems may profess great humility and preach and practice great self-abnegation, even to the neglecting of the body and its natural needs, but they all put Christ Jesus – the true Christ of God – at a distance, and an imaginary Christ, a Christ who is not an atoning Saviour, in His place.”

(c) 1929, H. A. Ironside, Litt.D.

Lectures on the Epistle to the Colossians

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