Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Ballad of Gladys the Turtle - a Child's Song.

At least eight or more years ago, my family was still living in Chicago.  Every summer we went up to the Wisconsin Northwoods, to boat and fish and kayak all over the nearest lake.  One summer Nicole, Brandon, and I got our dad to take us tubing as long as we could stand.  Long enough to burn the backs of our legs, and long enough to figure out how to link arms so we wouldn't fly off the tube raft every time Dad made a tight turn.  My mom had to hang over the back of the boat so she could see our hand signs for faster, slow down, this is good, and STOP!

About an hour into one day, the three of us began belting out songs over the roar of the boat and the crash of water.  Nobody in the boat could hear us, we could barely hear ourselves!  We sang whatever we wanted.  At some point we began to sing this song.  It began with a turtle, who lived in a zoo.  The tune is vaguely familiar, but I can’t place it. 

I've tried looking this song up online, but there’s nothing.  There’s a poem about a turtle that lives in a box, but the resemblance ends there.

Somehow we created a new child's song, meant to be sung ad infinitum, with only a few variations to keep it fun and to get the singers to sing it ad infinitum until ad nauseam.  But that’s the point of these songs in the first place, right?

I've named it after my Grandmother, Gladys. 

The Ballad of Gladys the Turtle
There once was a turtle
She lived in a zoo
She lived to the grand age of
Two fifty two
Her name was Gladys,
Her grandpa gave her that name
He once told her a story
And I’ll tell it the same:

There once was a turtle
He lived in a zoo
He lived to the grand age of
Two forty two
His name was (any male name)
His grandma gave him that name
She once told him a story
And I’ll tell it the same:

(And repeat in perpetuum, alternating gender, and age starting in first verse from 252 to 242, 232, 222, 292, 282, 272, 262, 252, and loop).  The only thing that stay constant is first turtle is female and lived to 252, and that the turtle in each verse is named by their grandparent of opposing gender.

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