Friday, October 03, 2014

My Ears Hung Low

When I saw the prompt, I thought back to my very few days wearing a uniform, to wit when I belonged to the Canadian Girls in Training or CGIT. My father used to call it "Cutest Girls in Town", embarrassing me to no end. The organization was an alternative to Girl Guides and a Christian (Protestant) program intended to improve a girl's moral character.
I'm front on left, Linda Wiebe is front on the right.
Our uniforms were white and blue middy blouses. One year and one year only I went to the summer camp. My girlfriends all participated too and as I recall, we had fun swimming and learning some crafts like wood burning - everyone etched their names into signs. Looking at this photo, I don't look very happy - probably just got a chunk taken out of me by one of the billions of mosquitoes. There was never a dull moment because in the Canadian woods there's always mosquito swatting and bite scratching to while away the time. I believe we had a few leech situations as well (didn't I throw that in casually?). Sleeping away from home for a whole week was challenging and we got very homesick; I remember that week seemed like a month. If someone got a care package, it was a big deal.

One camp song stands out in my memory:

 "Do your ears hang low".. Here are the lyrics although I'm guessing almost everyone has heard them.

Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow?

Can you throw them over your shoulder
Like a Continental soldier,
Do your ears hang low?

I googled the song to see if I could find anything interesting about it, because that's what Sepia Saturday drives you to do, and I was shocked to read that the original version was a soldier's song and the lyrics were slightly different. My father was a WW1 veteran and I'm thinking he probably knew this nasty version of the song. I wonder what went through his mind when I came home from camp singing this song over and over again. 

Soldiers' version

The lyrics of the World War I version of "Do Your Balls Hang Low?" are recorded as
Do your balls hang low?
Do they dangle to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow?
Do they itch when it's hot?
Do you rest them in a pot?
Do you get them in a tangle?
Do you catch them in a mangle?
Do they swing in stormy weather?
Do they tickle with a feather?
Do they rattle when you walk?
Do they jingle when you talk?
Can you sling them on your shoulder
Like a lousy f------ soldier?
Do your balls hang low?

Here's a cute children's version (the clean one)  if you want to hear it.



Children's Song

And I'll add my favorite photo of someone reading the Saturday Evening Post just because I like it so much. After viewing, march quickly, without looking over your shoulder, to the other posts on Sepia Saturday for more interesting stories.
Library of Congress photo.

16 comments:

  1. I remember hearing that song too--probably in Girl Scouts.

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  2. Our camp song was similar:

    Don't let your ding dong dangle in the dirt
    might hit a rock and sure as hell will hurt.
    stuff it in your pocket
    stuff it in your shirt
    but don't let your ding dong dangle in the dirt.

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  3. Those were pretty cute uniforms for the times. Though they wouldn't be appropriate for a young woman's camp, when I was performing in the Golden Chain Melodrama Theatre, I used to sing 1890s British Music Hall numbers. To the unaware ear, the lyrics sounded innocent enough. The real meanings, of course, were 'hidden' between the lines - subtle, but not so subtle adults couldn't figure them out. :)

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    1. Every once in a while I'll hear one of those songs and finally get it....took me a long time. Do you still perform?

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  4. I seem to have hear the soldier's version somewhere. The Saturday Post picture is a beauty.

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  5. Ha. I used to sing that song as well, your version. I wonder which came first!

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  6. I can just imagine a guy coming home from war singing that song and his wife rapidly rewriting it before the kids could hear it. I can remember singing the "ears" version. It's no wonder that one lasted instead of the "balls" version. I must admit I like Blue Heron's version. I wonder why it didn't last.
    Barbara

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  7. I, too, remember the "ears" version...and there was one about your boobs hanging low, too. The winner, though, is the Saturday Post photo...fabulous!

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  8. Anonymous8:49 PM

    Brings back very vivid memories -
    especially the leeches.
    Linda

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    Replies
    1. Was that Gladys Campbell in the front row middle? And was that Fish right behind you?

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  9. Ah yes...songs. My father taught me a song from Navy Recruit days which my mother didn't think was very proper.

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  10. I’ve heard both versions but then I’m married to an ex-serviceman. This was a fun take on the theme.

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  11. Bless you. I know I'm going to have a good day when someone puts a smile on my face from ear to ear while I'm having my first cup of coffee for the day.

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  12. And I always innocently thought that song was about long dogs' ears! You all looked very cute in your uniforms.

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  13. Oh yes, I know that song well, but the WWI version is a new one to me. However, I'll confess, we used to make up words to that same song including, "Do your boobs hang low" but I can't remember what all we added to that one.

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