27 December 2008

Rift in my personal time-space contiuum.

I cannot explain this any other way; perhaps it is just how one fractures as a parent. Today I have felt both youthful and also as old as dirt.

On one hand, I had a long chat with my niece (she is 16) via Facebook (I do this fairly often now as she is willing to talk to me that way and is frequently logged in), having a good laugh that we liked many of the same albums and artists. This -- along with staying in touch with pop culture in general (watching SNL, reading BoingBoing, etc.) -- makes me feel youthful.

A half-hour later, I was explaining to Kiddo how I used to sing the "Miss Mary Had a Steamboat" rhyme* at school while bouncing a tennis ball in a knee-high stocking on the school wall under and over my legs. Yeah... might as well have been chasing a barrel hoop with a stick, right? Old. As. Dirt.

Sigh.

.. .. .. .. ..


*This rhyme varies depending on where you grew up -- some will remember it as Miss Suzie, others as Miss Mary; some as a steamboat, others as a tug boat and so on. This is how I remember it:

Miss Mary had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell,
Miss Mary went to heaven, the steamboat went to --

Hello operator, give me number nine,
and if you disconnect me, I'll kick you right ---

Behind the 'fridgerator, there was a piece of glass
Miss Mary sat upon it, and broke her big fat ---

Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies,
the boys are in the bathroom zipping up their ---

Flies are in the city, and bees are in the park
where boys and girls are having fun, kissing in the DARK DARK DARK!

Here are some other versions along with some much ruder rhymes. Did you sing this one as a kid? Do you remember the ball-in-a-stocking thing?

3 comments:

Z├ęzette said...

Yup, we did the tennis ball thing, but in a cut off length of pantyhose. (What do you mean by stocking? Sock, or women's sheer thing? When I say pantyhose I'm talking sheer thing.) We sang a version of that rhyme, too. Isn't it weird that these things are international? How does that happen? At the same time in history people discover fire on opposite sides of the globe; similarly, children play the same makeshift games. Freaky.

Star said...

I don't recall the ball thing, but the hyme is familiar. I don't think it was exactly the same, but close enough. I think we chanted it while jumping rope. Do kids still jump rope? Not only is that an international similaity, but a generational one as I am at least one older han you.

Cheryl said...

Looking online, it seems to be a popular rhyme from the UK, going back to the war, which would explain the generational thing. I have a book (somewhere) called I Saw Esau, which is all about childhood rhymes and their universality, so I'm not too surprised.

Zezette: yes, by stocking I meant sheers (pantyhose, etc.) -- we used knee-high sheers and knotted the end.