Sunday, November 2, 2008

Memory of Grandma Beck

Does anyone else remember Grandma Beck reciting this?

Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an'
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an-
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun,
A-listenin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

I had completely forgotten about this poem until I heard it at a church function the other day. Memories came flooding back of sitting in my grandmother's lap listening to her recite this poem. I used to giggle with anticipation for the part about the "gobble-uns" and how they were going to git me! Hearing this again sparked my curiosity about this old story. So I did a little research...

This is actually just one small part of a long poem written by James Whitcomb Riley in 1885. Riley, also known as the "Hoosier Poet," was born in 1849 in Greenfield, Indiana. His parents named him after the Governor of Indiana, James Whitcomb. He was able to pick up the cadence and character of the dialect of central Indiana and the travelers along the old National Road, which came through in the many poems he would go on to write. One particular visitor was Mary Alice Smith, who would eventually stay to live with the Rileys. Mary Alice ("Allie") Smith would be the influence to Riley's poem, Little Orphant Annie, which was originally to be called Little Orphant Allie but a typesetter's error changed the name of the poem.(wikipedia)
Fun memory that I had completely forgotten about. There was another story she used to tell about a dromedary...


Julie said...

I remember that, but not from Grandma. At least I don't remember her reciting it to me.

How interesting.

There was a lady, about Grandma's age, who used to tell me stories. I wish I could remember them all. Orphan Annie was one of them.

sheryl said...

Yes, I do remember her saying it too.