Thursday, July 10, 2008

Music In My Life

Howdy, Friends,

I'm just a country girl at heart, because I spent a lot of time growing up in country surroundings. I also love country music, and grew up in the era of the Mid-day Merry- Go-Round Radio program on WNOX radio in the 1940's.

One could hear the music and talk from that program while walking around anywhere in our neighborhood around noon time till one o'clock in the afternoon because back then, no one had air conditioning and all the windows in houses were wide open. One could hear people playing musical instruments (mostly guitar and mandolin, and the fiddle), and singing country music.

Lowell Blanchard was the emcee and would joke around with the people on the show. Singers like Molly Bee and Hotshot Elmer could be heard every day, along with Homer and Jethro who were a comic act and also sang. There were others that I can't remember. It has been too long.

I remember a lot of the lyrics of songs that I learned in the war years, while my brothers were in the service. One of them was called, "The Letter Edged in Black", which was about a mother who had died and a letter was sent to her son, to tell him about it. Another was about a boy who had died in the war and it started out with the words, "The postman delivered a letter, it filled her dear heart with joy, but she didn't know til she read the insides, it was the last one from her darling boy."

My mom knew a whole slew of sad songs and she would sing them for us. One was called, "Put My Little Shoes Away." This was about a little boy who was sick and told his mother to give his toys to his playmates, but not his shoes. Another was "Please Mr. Conductor" about a boy who was rushing home to see his mother before God took her away, and he didn't have the money to pay for his ticket. He pleads with the conductor not to throw him off the train.

She also sang one about the Knoxville Girl who was killed by a cruel man named Leo Frank. She sang another about two little children who died in the snow, because they had no home and their mother was dead. Then there was the one called "Hello, Central" which is about a little girl calling a central operator and asking for Heaven so that she can talk to her mother who is underneath the golden stair in heaven.

Oh, yes, she sang a lot of tear jerkers while we were growing up and we would always be asking her to sing another one. Sometimes she would and sometimes not, depending upon the mood she was in. We all grew up loving music, and singing, as well.

Quite often, we would gather around while living in Possum Valley in that old cabin, and would sing songs from the Stamps-Baxter song book that was a Christian paper back quartet song book. I am quite sure that many times we butchered the songs and didn't really know all the tunes, but we had a wonderful time.

During my pre teen and teenage years, I listened to a lot of country music, as well as popular music and quite often learned all the lyrics, some of which I even remember to this day. When I got married in 1952 and moved to Indiana with my husband, I looked for good country music on the radio up there, but the closest I could get to it was a radio program called, "Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers" on WOWO.

For many years it has been my pleasure and priviledge to sing in our church choir, and I do love Christian music. It is uplifting more than any other kind of music for me. Our mom would also sing a lot of the hymns for us.

The picture at the top of today's post is of my mother taken soon after she and my dad were married . I am sure that she is responsible in a great way for our family's love of music. Thank you, Mama. I miss you still, even though 35 years have passed since you passed on to your reward. I know you are singing with the angels even now.
That is all from Blabbin' Grammy today. May God continue to bless each of you.
See you tomorrow.

7 comments: TN said...

I remember listening to WOWO when we first got married.
Your Mom was a pretty lady!

Grammy said...

Dear Clara,
Thank you, yes she was.

Judy said...

Your mother was beautiful. My mother used to sing to us, also, and she would sing sad songs as well. I do remember Molly Bee. Country music is my favorite. I love Willie Nelson and Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.

Joey Plott said...

Lowell Blanchard is my grandfather. It was nice reading your comments about his program. He passed on when I was 3 years old, but his memory lives on with my mom. Funny how you miss somebody you didn't know. His influence is felt still today. Thank you.

Grammy said...

Dear Joey,
Thanks for your very nice comment. Isn't it a small world? Who would ever have thought we would have communicated? I was a fan of your grandfather. Everyone loved and appreciated him.
I was just a young girl when he was on radio.

Joey Plott said...

Thanks Grammy. It was great finding your blog. I've been searching for mid day merry go round recordings for my mom, with no luck. Any discussions I can have with people who remember the show, especially with fond memories like yours is a blessing.

Thank you.

Grammy said...

Dear Joey,
I am sure you must have checked in the archives of WNOX? Surely they must have some...I hope you find some. I know performers like Whispering Bill Anderson and Wally Fowler, and Archie Campbell performed there.Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers was the name of Wally's group. If I can think of any others, I will post them for you.