"Cowzy tweet and sowzy tweet and liddle sharksy doisters." She still doesn't understand me. Let me try this: "Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey". No luck, I'll never get there on time. Let me give it one more try: "A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?"
In certain parts of the United States, English may be the second, or third language spoken by the population. Those who have never traveled abroad, or spend little time in the major cities, may have never encountered a language barrier. They also may be very intolerant of the occasional person (foreign tourist or recent arrival) who crosses their path. I remember, with great pain, my first few months speaking a foreign language during my service with Peace Corps. I also remember my difficulties when working in a Nursing Home with patients who had suffered a stroke.
Mairzy Doats is a novelty song composed in 1943 by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston. It was first played on radio station WOR, New York, by Al Trace and his Silly Symphonists. The song made the pop charts several times, with a version by the Merry Macs reaching No. 1 in March 1944. In addition to its success on the home front, it was also a hit with American servicemen overseas, who allegedly used its nonsensical lyrics as passwords. At first glance the song's refrain, as written on the sheet music, seems to be meaningless.
Even in rural Maine, young people are learning a second, or in the case of my friend's son, a third language. My brother's daughter is fluent in Spanish. Us older folks must learn acceptance. The world, our country and our neighborhoods are changing. Acceptance begins the process of change. The demon may be alcohol, drugs, diet or social and cultural isolation. Once we recognize the problem, we can begin the process of recovery.
One of the writers, Milton Drake, says the song is based on an English nursery rhyme. According to this story, Drake's four-year-old daughter came home singing "Cowzy tweet and sowzy tweet and liddle sharksy doisters." (Cows eat wheat and sows eat wheat and little sharks eat oysters.)
However, the lyrics of the bridge provide a clue:
- If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey,
Sing "Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy."
Often the foreign tourist knows much more English than we give them credit for. The accent throws us off. So, if we are unwilling to attend Adult Education classes or buy the Berlitz Method training tapes, we must learn to listen carefully. A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
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Fortune has allowed me to come full circle and return to my earlier interest in photography. I am at that age were some weight loss would be beneficial. I certainly don't believe all photographers need to starve, but my initial goals are realistic, if not humble. The industry has changed tremendously, but the possibilities are unlimited. I am grateful that my parents' gave me a generic name. It's allowed me to explore numerous paths unhindered.
"I continue to seek exquisite beauty in my images, exploring all techniques, old and new".
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