Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: CHAT: folk songs

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Thursday, August 23, 2001, 22:14
John Cowan wrote:

>Roger Mills scripsit: >> Hmmm-- that's not the Sweet Betsy from Pike we sang in grade school! >> (1940s)-- >> her _lover_ Ike??? _divorce_??? Obviously updated. ;-) > >More likely the version you sang was censored. Burl Ives sings >"her lover Ike" on the 78rpm records my parents had. And divorce >is not a novelty.
A bowdlerized version for us kiddies is certainly a possibility-- but that in itself is a sign of those times. No teacher in those days would have wanted to have to explain what a "lover" was; and divorce was a Very Bad Thing, barely discussed at all, and certainly not in front of the children. I was into my teens before the marital history of an uncle was explained to me (he'd had 4 wives in rapid succession). This of course may only apply to Small-Town America; perhaps sophisticated (degenerate :-) ) New Yorkers and movie-stars were more up-front about such things.... The raciest line I can recall from our version (not included in BJM's version): Ike proposed to do something, or go somewhere (I forget what, but it was dumb and sort of typically masculine), to which Betsy replied: "Said Betsy, you'll go by yourself if you do." Chuckles all around. Clearly Betsy was a feisty woman. Perhaps there were two competing versions, one suitable for Methodies Ladies, and a racier one more appropriate to saloons and music halls....... Amusing sidebar: In the late 19th Cent., South Dakota (my dear homeland) was the divorce haven of the US, Nevada having not yet been invented. Some Robber Baron (I think it was J.J.Astor) came out there to shed a wife; apparently he was Episcopalian, and needed the blessing of the Church, which he got. In gratitude, he put up the money for the very lovely Cathedral that still stands in Sioux Falls. (This I learned in 1985!!, from a commemorative plate in my aunt's things-- it explained that the church was a gift of (whomever), though not the exact reason why; that info came from others)