Friday, August 25, 2017

My Grandmother's Song

My mother's family was very musical and they could all sing beautifully.  Mother's oldest brother played the violin and mother and her sisters played the piano.  Often, they would all gather around the piano in the evenings and sing.  In fact, according to my mother, her father refused to buy a radio because he was afraid that, with a radio in the house, the children would stop singing.  It seems that everyone had their favorite songs, which came to be identified as their signature songs.

My maternal grandmother had two favorite songs.  One was "A Boy's Best Friend", which her youngest son used to sing to her.  The other was "The Ballad of Grace Darling".  My mother taught me the song and had me sing it to her mother.  Several years later, on what turned out to be my mother's last visit to Sri Lanka, one of her cousins gave my mother this songbook that she (my mother's cousin) had, to be given to me:

Old Songbook
 The book contained the words to the song, Grace Darling:

Words to the Song

The Rest of the Song

My grandmother died when I was 15.  I have no idea why this was one of her favorite songs.  But I remember her every time I sing this song.

Today, I went to the office.  During my afternoon break, I went to the nearby CVS pharmacy to buy some cans of cashews.  They had them on sale - buy one get one free.  I bought two 8-oz. cans of roasted cashew halves and pieces for $6.79.  It was cheaper than the $7.99/lb. I pay for the raw cashews at the grocery store.  I kept one can at the office to snack on and brought the other can home.

The eye doctor's office had called and left a message, yesterday, reminding me that it was time to make an appointment for my annual eye exam.  So, I called them, today, and made the appointment for September.  Then, I texted my cousin N to ask if she could go with me to the appointment as my eyes will be dilated and I won't be able to drive right away, afterwards.  She texted back to say she could.  She has been such a blessing to me.

After I came home, I put away the load of laundry I did yesterday and watered the front garden.  Then, I played the piano and sang a bit, including the above song.  Later, I video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Memories of my grandmother
- Cousin is able to go with me to my upcoming medical appointment
- The songs we've sung and the memories they bring
- Water for the garden
- Video chatting with my daughter

How was your day?  Have you heard of the song "Grace Darling", before?  Are there certain songs that you associate with a certain member of your family?  What was your grandmother's favorite song?  Do you know?


  1. I looked up Grace Darling and listened to the song--a nice English folk song. Apparently Grace was a real person who live in the early 1800's and was quite famous.

    When I was a kid, every night after supper, my parents would go to the living room to watch the news and we four sisters would go to the kitchen to wash the dishes. While we were working, we sang. My oldest sister collected songs, a lot of them learned at scouts, and we sang mostly those. She compiled the words to many of them (maybe 100) in a small song book. A few years ago, I made copies of the song book for all of my sisters. I sing these songs regularly and occasionally get the songbook out and just sing.

    1. Yes, she was a real person. The song tune as I learned it was more of a waltz than the version I heard on-line. I had a collection of handwritten song books, too - some were compiled by my step-father's sister. They were among the items that were discarded before we left the country.

  2. Gathering around the piano to sing sounds such fun and I am glad you have such good memories. Grace Darling was based on the heroic bravery of a young lady who lived from 11/141815 to 12/20/1842 - - there are other versions with a different melody.

    My brother still laughs how I used to sing "Morning Has Broken" upon waking!

    1. Sandy, practically every time my mother's family got together, we ended up gathered around the piano, singing! Now, however, hardly anyone plays the piano and one of my cousins in Australia and I are about the only ones who still sing the old songs.

  3. Hi - not heard that song. However, I live near where Grace lived and undertook her brave and hazardous journey so her story is well known round here. Love that your family still sing and play instruments. Christine x

    1. Hi Christine, glad to hear you are familiar with the story. Now you can mention the song whenever you tell the story to others. :)

  4. I've been thinking about this blog for a couple of days now. It has stirred up memories. "You are my Sunshine" brings back memories of my grandmother, because she would sing that song to me. I don't remember my mother singing, but there are lots of songs I associate with my Dad. He liked to sing us awake every morning for school, after he made the porridge. It is an endearing memory now, but not at the time, Haha. And I like to remember the weekends when he was home and played his Irish music LPs on the stereo and sang along with them. Today when my sister and I get together, we belt out old campfire songs we grew up with. And every time I have a baby in my arms, I sing nursery rhymes and children's songs from memory. I used to have music playing in the house all the time, but that was a hundred years ago. I think I should probably start up again, don't you think?

    1. Susan, I am sure you loved waking up to the sound of your father singing! :D I think it would be lovely if you have music playing in the house, again, Susan. :)


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