While I wasn’t feeling great my memory decided to plague me with vague recollections, which I felt driven to explore. This will get tedious, I'm sure.... like listening to someone drone on about the latest dream they had.
Fragments of memory have been stirred up during the last few weeks, when I was bored out of my mind, woozy with antihistamines, and waiting for my sense of smell and taste to come back. (Yes, must have caught Covid, but since i’d had a vaccination 10 days earlier, I got off easy with no symptoms but sensory loss.) My springtime allergies were also bad, hence the antihistamines.
For example, out of nowhere I began to think of the song “Swanee River,” and seemed to remember it being about yearning for the “old plantation.” I finally looked up the lyrics online, and sure enough, it says that in there. In fact, it’s not the laid-back, contented song I thought it was, but a depressed lament from someone displaced by the Civil War — but I can’t tell if the singer is white or black. Anyway, it sounds possibly pro-Confederacy, romanticizing slave years, so I guess I’d better leave it alone.
Other songs from childhood came to mind too. Although I grew up in Ohio, many rhymes seemed to have southern origins. There was a circle game (like Ring Around the Rosy) with a brief song called “Mazoo From Alabama.” When singing it in 2nd grade, I thought it was about someone like the Wizard of Oz. When googling to find more of the lyrics, I discovered it had a twin version called “Miss Sue From Alabama.” This sort of slurring of lyrics seemed to occur in a whole lot of old songs.
One song that began, “Keemo Kimo Kaymo” had half a dozen similar versions, all very old, one or two with a few racist-derogatory lyrics, but most ended up being the Frog Went A-Courting song. I still can’t remember the version I knew except the first two lines:
Keemo, Kimo, Kaymo!
Lotty botty riggadam ….
But I recall that fragment as clearly as I do Petula Clark in the mid-60s, singing “Downtown.”
Other hand-clapping rhymes came to mind, so I wrote down as many as I could remember. It’s funny to think how easily we were entertained as kids — so many songs and rhymes. Connected with nothing else, some word combinations started popping up in my head, like: Suziana suziana. I have no idea what it is from. It’s not from the Polly-Wolly-Doodle-all-the-day song, but something spoken, and I had a notion it referred to penmanship — or linguistics… I don’t know. Oddly I do find this double word, suzianasuziana, being used online, so maybe it had significance. And in the singular, “Susiana” is another name for the ancient kingdom of Elam.
I can only guess at the deep song memories of some of you. It’s incredible what stays in your brain.