Friday, November 30, 2012

I saw three ships

I don't know why, but I thought I would mention that one of my earliest school memories comes from learning the song I Saw Three Ships when I was in first grade.  It was December, 1973.  Richard Nixon was president as the Watergate Scandal was picking up steam.  The Beatles had broken up three years earlier.  The American Psychiatric Association had just removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders (so it must be true).  And this little seven year old didn't know any of it.  Well, I had heard the adults talking about something happening around a water gate, but I couldn't put any of it together.

And in Mrs. Woods' northwestern corner classroom, with the old metal chair-desks pushed around into a large circle, the class gathered in the center to learn new songs.  I Saw Three Ships wasn't on any of the old Christmas records we listened to, and to be honest, I don't think I recalled ever hearing it before.  But I remember on that grey, December day, I learned a song about some things that I was only vaguely aware of (FWIW, for some reason all of my memories about school when I was young seem to imagine a grey, overcast or rainy day).

Don't know if this means anything or nothing at all.  Maybe it's just how things have changed, for I seriously doubt a public elementary school would teach the kids that song today.  Perhaps it's the irony of the events surrounding me and how out of touch I was.  I don't know.  I just know it's a memory, and a fond one, of things long ago, faded into my memory, only accessible now at random times or seasons.

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