Of Childhood Songs

The Little Rascals

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I was sitting at work when a song entitled, The Little Green Frog, popped into my head. I sang it while shuffling papers and sitting at the computer. I hummed it while walking near the patients and doctors. The song was on a perpetual loop in my brain when I suddenly thought, “This song is barbaric.”

It’s no mystery that a lot of traditional children’s songs have a depressing or messed up back story, Ring Around the Rosy being the prime example. And yet, they keep getting passed down generation to generation.

I learned The Little Green Frog back in Girl Scouts, it has motions and everything:

Mm, mm, went the little green frog one day,

Mm, mm, went the little green frog,

Mm, mm, went the little green frog one day,

And his eyes went mm, mm, too.

Honk, honk, went the big red truck one day,

Squish, squish, went the little green frog.

Now his eyes don’t go mm, mm, anymore,

Cause he got eaten up by a dog, arf, arf.

Our troop sang this song at meetings, day camps, car rides, and most importantly – on stage. Imagine a bunch of 6-year-old’s singing a song about the gruesome death of a frog for their parents and grandparents. Either the adults didn’t really pay attention to the lyrics, most likely because of our blinding cuteness. Or, they laughed and didn’t care.

Upon the realization of the morbidness of the frog song, I immediately paused to think, “What other awful message have I sung for years?” Quickly I thought of, The Canoe Song – this song also has hand gestures. Let’s be real, they ALL have hand gestures.

This song is deceptive, it gives the illusion of girl power, but I think it’s a little rapey. I can’t help but throw in some commentary:

There was a boy and a girl in a little canoe with the moon shining all around,
Aw, romantic!

He paddled his paddle so that you couldn’t even hear a sound,
Why did he need to be so quiet? Did they steal the boat? Was it her parents boat? Were they somewhere they shouldn’t have been?

And they talked and the talked till the moon grew dim,
All night!

He said you better kiss me or get out and swim,
If she hasn’t kissed you by now, you’re friendzoned. You’ve literally been on a romantic boat trip from dusk to dawn. It’s not gonna happen buddy – sorry.

Well what you gonna do in a little canoe, 

With the moon shining all a,

Boat going all a,

Girl swimming all around.
Something serious must have gone down for her to be swimming in the water. A simple conversation wouldn’t suffice? Are they all talked out? Did he get aggressive?

As a child, we would yell, “Kersplash! Oh yeah! Smart girl!” But looking at the lyrics, I’m convinced that the girl said no and the boy didn’t take no for an answer. So either A: he pushed her into the lake cause he’s a jerk of a manchild, or B: her choices were swim, or get raped, and she chose to swim. So yeah, I guess chanting smart girl is in order. However, he’s in a boat. She’s in the middle of what I assume is a lake. There’s no way she can outrun him for long.

This screams horror movie.

 

 

Of Childhood Journal’s

Dear Diary

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The longer I reside in my childhood room, the more I realize what a vastly different person I was growing up. On the walls there’s photos of mission trips, a porcelain doll angel that literally watches over me while I sleep, a poster of a giraffe, and joy products. Oh the joy! Since my middle name is Joy every Christmas, I receive a slew of joy products. I have joy building blocks, moose antlers, ornaments, stamps, even a flag. Playing “Count the Joy” in my room is like saying, “I spy something red,” when you’re standing in a white room with only one rose laying on a white table – it’s super easy.

But my favorite discovery of my old room, is in the bottom drawer next to my bed. For in that drawer are at least ten partially filled out journals. I was never good at maintaining journals, but I always liked the idea of keeping a journal. Even before I could write myself, I would tell my mom what to write down for the day. As I read through page after page of my horrible hand writing, which hasn’t changed since I was sixteen, I could only think how the person who filled these pages would hate who she later became.

That girl was heading towards a life of purity: Christian husband, wanted to save her first kiss for her wedding day, longed to serve the Lord, struggled with even the slightest hint of temptation, was heavily repressed, sheltered, and didn’t actually start to experience anything for herself until college. If she found out ahead of time that she would slowly discover a world outside faith, swear, drink, realize she’s a lesbian, and lie to her family from the age of nineteen and up – she probably would have become the Christian equivalent of a nun. Looking back I see hints of where I was headed. Little moments, that at the time were either a huge scandal or a mere recording of what happened that day, ultimately led to where I am now.

I’m going to do something I normally would never do, share my journal. So here are a few of my favorite excerpts from past Sarah’s life:

Hello, my name’s Sarah and in case you were wondering, I’m awesome.

11-16-2000

I better introduce myself, my name is Sarah Joy Luna. I am eleven (11 yrs) old and in the 6th grade. I was born on March 8th 1989. Today was my conference, every year I’m always told “Sarah’s such a wonderful student.”

The Tale of the Girl Who Lost Her Panties!

1-17-2001

Today will probably be one of the most embarrassing days of my life. Today I was at Adventure Club. And well we were cleaning up and someone said here’s someone’s lost their underwear. I go over to look and realize it’s mine! It must have been stuffed somewhere in my pants. I have dance before church so when I was changing in the van I choose to wear my leotard instead of underwear. The underwear fell out at church! In the classroom! I lucked out though someone said, “If we throw it away the little kid who lost it won’t know.”

I offered to throw it away, I picked it up, acted like it was sick to touch it. Ran up to the library. While pacing I was wondering what to do. Should I hide it in here? Someone might find it. Keep it in my pocket? They might see it. Try to get in the van? Probably locked.

Then my mom came. I told her what happened. We both couldn’t stop laughing. She gave me the car keys. I put the underwear in the van. And that was the end of that.

I’m a woman.

11-24-2002

I started my period today and I decorated Christina’s house with lights, next we’re gonna do my house. Bye.

When on my mission trip to Zambia, I was a creepy teenager.

8-5-2004

I watched Bill and Mwewa kill 2 pigs today. At first it was horrifying but then it was cool. The first pig wouldn’t die though, it squealed so loud for a couple minutes while Bill was mercilessly hacking at the piggy’s throat. I got a few pictures.

I might have been a bitch – but at least I was a nice bitch.

3-1-2005

On the way home me and Jessica took Jolene’s shoe, only one, and only gave it back when we went to eat. But then when we got back, we took her shoe again and I didn’t give it back, but hide it in the bushes, however I wanted to be nice so I made it obvious where it was in the bush.

First sign of gay, too bad I wouldn’t figure it out for another six years.

4-21-2005

Oh my goodness or gosh as I usually say, I cannot believe what I did during English ….(It’s an improve thing) Let me just say, we didn’t get to pick our partners. While waiting for my turn I was planning my first line which was, “do you think I’m sexy?” then I was planning what to do if the person said no. Well Kristin was in the middle and she said YES! So, I’m thinking, “oh great,” so I walk in a circle around her, very slowly and say, “good cause if you said no I would have to hurt you.”

Then I sat down fast and all sexy-like and looked at her. I could tell she was totally freaked. I said something that I can’t remember, followed by asking her what she was afraid of, she said she was scared of me, so I said, “why … I’m friendly” while semi-stroking her arm (the motion of it. But not actually touching her). Immediately after I said that the teacher called switch. I thought it was funny because during it Sheridan said, “she’s like the Christian girl.” And at the end Sara said, “I wanted to see where it was going.”

Funky romance? What gross imagery – I’m picturing chunky love, ew.

12-10-2005

Man do I suck at ice-skating! But hey, Jessy’s the one who fell not me. Something about ice-skating feels romantic, I don’t know what it is, but cold, ice and blades make me feel funky.

First kiss innocence

2-26-2006

I don’t think he’s worthy of my first kiss … You know how having sex out of marriage is called out of wed-lock. Well, I don’t know the term for just kissing and that kind of stuff, but I don’t want it out of relationship-lock.

Puppets and Jesus

7-10-2006

And when we started to practice the puppet songs, they were all acting so stupid and I just realized how dumb all this was. So I let myself get consumed with sadness. During my 5 minute shower I realized that I wasn’t doing anything for the Lord but just sitting in classes.

What Would Jesus Do?

9-23-2008

Disastrous thoughts are worthy of murder on the soul. The reality is I can’t sleep. Because almost every night Satan likes to put tortuous thoughts in my mind. … WWJD? Well I know one thing, Jesus never did anything that made him question His character.

It’s almost sexy time.

11-16-2009

The no kissing, totally out the window, there’s a good chance sex is in my near future as well.

Birth of a liar.

1-22-10

I tried for a long time to be Christian. I envied the faith of my family and some of my peers at Houghton. And I hate that I can’t come clean to my parents and just be me.

This will always be true. 

2-16-2010

Note: I hate squeaky shoes on children.

Of Teeter Totters

Charlie Brown Teeter Totter

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Growing up I loved teeter totters. The simplicity of going up and down while talking or giggling with a friend was (and is) incredibly pleasant. To make things more exciting, on the way down, my friends and I would try to slam our bodies hard against the seat in efforts to throw the other person in the air – last one remaining on the toy is the winner.

Teeter totters required children to socialize, to make friends. After all, it’s really hard to teeter when there’s no one to totter. It takes two to teet and tot.

Nowadays, the teeter totters of my childhood are hard to find. The simple piece of plastic, metal, or wood balancing on a rod rarely seems to exist. They’ve been replaced with spring-loaded contraptions that look like the picture below:

Teeter Totter

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The large springs allow for a child to play alone on the toy. A sad, pathetic sight if you ask me. No longer forced to overcome their shyness, children without friends or siblings can sit quietly by themselves in the playground teetering and tottering without a care (or friend).