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.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending: Rodents

OK, I know this sounds like an odd theme, but it comes to mind after watching repeated trailers for the movie Hop. I have to say that it looks like a cute movie - after all, it's about a cute bunny. Bunnies are automatically cute, right? Well, where we live, rabbits are rodents. (Why is it that the word "rabbit" conjures up positive connotations while the word "rodent" brings up negative ones?) Anyway, out in my territory, the properties are ravaged by bunny-rabbits every day, eating everything (except weeds), including garden growth, flowers, grasses, and even small trees. But because we live in the country, we are also host to other rodents, including squirrels, rats, and mice. Most efforts are focused on keeping the rats out of the house and intimidating the mice to keep them from making as few home visits as possible. Anyone who has left dog or cat food out, has horses, feeds the birds, or has a garbage can is subject to rodent visits. We actually get sort of used to it and when we get together as neighbors the talk often turns to "the best rat story."

So I started thinking about songs dealing with some of these furry creatures (some cute, some a little less than that). I can come up with probably a half dozen rabbit songs, but will leave those to others. Instead, let me share my favorite mouse song - from deep in the deepest recessed of my childhood:

M - I - C K - E - Y M - O - U - S -E (everybody sing!)
Mickey Mouse (Donald Duck), Mickey Mouse (Donald Duck)
Forever let us hold our banner high (high, high, high)
M - I - C K - E - Y M - O - U - S -E

See - not every rodent is an unwelcome home invader!

When I was about 5 we got our first television (1956). Every day after kindergarten, my best friend, Liz Thompson, and I would sit in front of the TV to watch the Mickey Mouse Club. We had our favorites (mine were Karen & Cubby) and cartoons we thought were dumb and ones we enjoyed. But we liked the singing part best, when Jimmy Dodd would take out his Mickey Mouse guitar and sing songs that carried special lessons. (No, I did not decide at that time to play guitar; that decision was made about 4 years later.) And then was the sad part when they would all sing (and appear so sad and almost ready to cry):

Now it's time to say good-bye to all our family
M - I - C (see you real soon) K - E - Y (Why? Because we like you!) M - O - U - S -E

To keep the Mickey Mouse Club alive in my life from one day to the next I had a Mickey Mouse tee-shirt. I even got to see the Club live at the 4th of July Fireworks Program at Dyche Stadium in Evanston, Illinois one year (my grandfather took me). It was a memorable experience, to say the least.

So there's my rodent song and why it is special to me. Got a rodent song? Share it here - the lyrics, MP3 or YouTube on-line, or just the title. And does it have a special meaning to you?

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