Monday, September 10, 2007

Wee Sing

I apologize for what I am about to do—I am going to write the words of a song, and I can almost guarantee that, if you know the song, it will get stuck in your head for a while.

It's a world of laughter
A world of tears
It's a world of hopes
And a world of fears
There's so much that we share
That it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all

Not “ringing any bells” yet? Well, here’s the chorus.

It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world.

If you click on the link, you will be able to listen to the music. And then? And then, it will be S-T-U-C-K in your head all day. I can think of no other song that so insinuates itself into our minds!

Music has such power. It charms us when we are young and it stays with us as we grow old.

When our children were small, I sang lots of little ditties to them. In fact, when our daughter was little, we got a series of tapes called
Wee Sing. There were Wee Sing Camp Fire Songs, Nursery Rhymes, Christmas Songs, Bible Songs—and on and on. The songs were such fun.

We found one particular song our daughter really liked. It’s the song “A-Hunting We Will Go.” The chorus included these lines:
“We’ll catch a little fox and put him in a box, and then we’ll let him go.” She loved that line. She’d sit up in her chair, animatedly sing “Catch a little fox” and then relax. I confess, we backed the tape up multiple times just to see her spring to life singing about the little fox.

Children’s songs that include animation have always been a favorite for me. I sang “The Grand Old Duke of York” to my children and their friends, especially if they were outside playing. I marched the kids up to the top of the hill, down the hill, and half way in between. If you want more
Kids songs just click on the link.

We also had a softer side to singing. I always sang my children a bedtime lullaby—either Edelweiss (from The Sound of Music) or the lovely old Welsh melody
All through the night. I still think the words to this lovely folk song are so appropriate to falling asleep.

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.

In fact, singing is what sparked the romance between me and my husband. We met at a church camp, where we were both staff. But our immediate reaction to each other was. . .less than positive. As the camp week passed, though, we began to talk. And then we began to like each other. Then there was the final night when campers camp out overnight. My husband was a counselor, so he was going to be sleeping out with the kids. I was a crafts teacher, so I was supposed to go back to the main cabin. But, I stayed and we kept talking. And then, I sang to him a folk song (made popular by Peter, Paul and Mary) to the melody of
O Waly Waly—“There is a ship.” Thus began our romance.

Well, I don’t know if music really has the power to start a romance, but once imprinted in our brains, music stays there long after other memories fade. When my mother-in-law, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, had lost her ability to speak, she could still sing songs. I was amazed when the nursing home staff told us she had taken part in Christmas carol sing.

So how am I going to get “It’s a Small Small World” unstuck from your brain? Well the only thing that I know that works is to watch the
Knut polar bear video. The song featured on that video will replace the Disney song easily!


Rhonda said...

Oh, man! The Wee Sing tapes! Yeah, we have TONS of them. I used to play them all the time and the girls loved them. They've all been supplanted by Hannah Montana or "High School Musical", of course.

Speaking of singing, I learned the Preamble to the Constitution by repeated viewings of "Schoolhouse Rock" between Saturday morning TV back in the day. What a great way to learn things, IMHO! Going from watching "Superfriends" ("Wonder Twin powers, ACTIVATE!") to learning the Preamble to the Constitution. Perhaps TV is not the root of all evil, after all...

JeanMac said...

Ah, the memories.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Oh my, did we have the song tapes! Wee Sing, Sesame Street, Tom Chapin, and Scupper the Sailor Dog were the favorites.

Anvilcloud said...

I have heard about the Alzheimer’s thing before, but I had forgotten. With a new grandchild, I think singing is a great thing for us to keep in mind. Lot's of parents read to their kids now, but I wonder how many sing with them. Thanks for the post.

denverdoc said...

Not only is "Small World" now stuck in my brain, but it's playing along with the visuals of the manic presentation of the song with hideous little singing small things at, where..., Disneyland?

Occupational therapy at the nursing homes when baby boomers hit the halls will sound like a sing along to our current oldies stations. Hello Tommy James!

Pam said...

Music has always been a very powerful force in my life... always there for me in happiness and sadness, celebration and grief.

What stuck in my head was "All Through the Night." I'm not sure why, but it made me cry... a faded memory, perhaps.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Music doesn't play a big part in my life now. It must have at one time for when i hear '50s and '60s music I remember some of the associations back then.

I am stuck on Vera Lynn war time songs. I had a mother who spoke often of the second world war and Vera Lynn.

Mary said...

Donna, you had me smiling throughtout this entire post! First, I had Wee Sing for Gina. We sang all the time and her favorite bedtime melody was "My Favorite Things", also from The Sound of Music.

Your musical romance is a wonderful story and one you will never forget! Does your husband recall your singing?

OK - "It's A Small World" is stuck in my brain. I agree, however, that if I listened to te Knut Polar Bear long enough - yes, it's catchy! Knu...t Knu...t... :o)

cat59 said...


What a wonderful post. I agree with you about music. The words to that Welsh melody are very nice. If only we could all sing together, maybe we would get along better. Oh, I guess there is a song for that, too: "I'd like to teach the world to sing. . ."

Mauigirl said...

Thanks for all the wonderful memories of these songs. I didn't know all of them but the ones I did brought back memories. I remember the "All through the night" song very well.

KGMom said...

It sounds like music sparks a response in many of us!
I am glad to read that some of you also had the Wee Sing tapes.

Rhonda--now I am showing my "age" as I have only read about "High School Musical."

Jean, Lynn--yes, wonderful memories.

AC--so in addition to taking up the fiddle, you will have to brush up on your singing for Smudge!

Femail doc--oh dear, the song AND the visuals. Sorry. Chuckle on nursing homes with boomers everywhere.

Pam, cat59, and Mauigirl--All Through the Night is a sweetly sad song--must be the Welsh melody. I think Welsh tunes are ALWAYS the best!

Philip--oh, the wonderful WW II songs that Vera Lynn sang, including "We'll Meet Again."

Mary--oh yes, my husband remembers me singing. He told me later that no one had ever sung specially just for him before. So it was more remarkable to him that I sang, than to me as singing is so much an everyday thing for me.
Isn't Knut cute?

To all--thanks for humming along with me!

Ruth said...

I sang that lullaby to my children every night. Music has always been important in our family. I play the piano at various seniors' homes and watch people sing and enjoy music, even with advanced dementias. Those musical tracts are imprinted deep in the brain and often stay when most everything else ceases to work.

Beverly said...

What a wonderful post! I certainly was singing in my head all through the post. And then Knut! What a cutie! Thanks.