the song, babes in the woods, begins "oh don't you remember a long time ago..." ...no, i don't. yes, i remember the song extremely well and my great grandma keyl's warbled voice singing it to each great, great grandchild, but i don't remember when i asked her to write down the lyrics to the song for me. i know the "why" in asking her; she had entered her nineties, and i accepted that i was not anytime soon going to be giving her more great great grandchildren to sing this song to, and that when that time did arrive for me, i was probably not going to be lucky enough to still have her inviting arms available to rock my little one in a rocking chair and sing this lullaby to him/her. i wanted to be sure that i had a sentimental keepsake of this memory.
it must have been around '98 that i asked her because i remember framing it above my bed in an apartment i had in chicago; it was framed in 3 more of my bedrooms in different houses up until 2005 when i was blessed with the twins and proudly hung it right above their twin cribs. i have copied it for both girls for their scrapbooks, as well as for the scrapbooks for my three nieces. the original copy now rests on a shelf in izzy's nursery, and because i have the lyrics, i learned the song when pregnant in '04 and have carried on the tradition of rocking the girls while quietly singing this song in hopes that they'll peacefully fall asleep. i often find myself trying to imitate my great grandma's aged quivery voice. (i sure hope i've never been overheard doing that by anyone other than these little ears that the song is intended for - it's not a pretty imitation!) my grandmother and mother have also carried on the lullaby and have sung it to all of the grandchildren as well. in fact, right before we went home for a visit, my mom claimed she was a bit rusty on the lyrics. she received a letter in the mail with a copy of grandma's handwritten song and i simply wrote "start practicing."
search in your collection of family traditions - maybe there's a lullaby, poem or picture that has been passed down and cherished. what a simple and cheap idea to add to the decor of a room. with three girls, it will be tough to figure out who will have the original handwritten copy someday should they want it - thank goodness for copy machines!
and i can't keep you wondering who my precious grandma keyl was - 6 years ago she passed away, 2 weeks before my wedding. i miss you Gramma K! thanks for leaving behind the inspiration to use that creative gene inherited from you!
my sister and i in '76 presenting our great gramma with her annual calendar - remember those fantabulous calendars? we've come a long way in photography gifts, right?
... and great great gramma k still smiling with her great great grandchildren in 1999.