About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 25 times over and a great-grandmother of 19. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega with Genealogy Journeys where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that can be found at http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and more about my own business projects is on my Circlemending website.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Children's Songs and Revelations

I have been working on the Kids Camp I'll be doing at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake in April/May and at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank in June and am going over the songs I want to share with the kids (of all age ranges). In the process, I had this amazing revelation (which, most likely, everyone is already well aware). First, some background:

I want to point out that songs come in different categories: play-party songs, riddle & question/answer songs, songs that teach lessons, lullabies, and songs that are just for fun. So I was considering some of the Q/A songs and one that I remember from my earliest childhood was called "There's a Hole in the Bucket." (Here's where the revelation comes in.) I remembered always being confused by the encouragement of Liza (to Henry, who complains about the hole in the bucket) to mend it with straw. Now, in my short life (having first heard the song when I was probably 4 years old), the only buckets I knew of were made of some sort of metal (see image above). It was not uncommon for a well-used bucket to get worn in the bottom so a hole might form. I could never figure out how straw could be used in any form to mend this problem . . . to me, the only answer was to buy a new bucket.

Now, with a little more experience under my belt, I have finally figured it out. The bucket is a wooden bucket with a solid piece of wood on the bottom and the sides made up of slats, held tight together with the metal bands around the form.

The hole that Henry finds in the bucket is probably between 2 of those slats. If one were to push some straw into the crack, it could, indeed, be mended at least to be usable for a little while longer. What a revelation! And it took me only 54 years to figure it out.

When I sing this song for Kids Camp, I'm going to make sure that the kids understand this so that they won't be trying to do what I've been doing all these years: imagine straw plugging a hole in the bottom of a metal bucket (though most probably are familiar with buckets made of plastic, which makes the straw repair sound even more bizarre)!

Songs may survive for centuries, but our field of experience can create confusion. In some ways, the lyrics of these old songs may give us a sense of what life was like in an earlier time.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, we might just have to bring the kids to one of those! They love music!!! We might be in Salt Lake around then for Matthew's graduation.