Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Who's Knocking on my door?

Way back when I was in Girl Scouts--I think that was the connection--we used to get on the church stage and do a skit that began, "'Twas a year ago today/that my Nellie went away/She was sixteen, the village queen/The prettiest girl you ever seen." Each person took a role--Nellie, the father, the wicked lover, etc.--and we  recited this in a singsong manner, accompanied by deep knee bends. It's an indelible memory of my childhood, but I never can remember the rest of the words. The story is of course going to be obvious melodrama--Nellie is lured away by a mustachioed villainous actor; a  year later, she returns home bringing her infant. She has been abandoned. Everyone I asked about this looked at me blankly, indeed I think they thought I was a bit addled.
But last night I found a whole web site devoted to it. The poem or skit or whatever it is bears the title "Who's knocking on my door?" and there are countless variations in the wording. But it's more universally known than I thought. Most people remember it from the '40s and '50s. For me, it was like finding an old friend.
Now if someone could track down the Easter hymn we used to sing in children's choir: "One early Easter morning/I wakened with the birds/And all around lay silence/Too deep for earthly words." MY friend Barbara, who went to church and sang in the choir with me, remembers it but she doesn't know any more words than I do. My friend Betty, now retired after forty years as a church organist, never heard of it--and I thought she knew every possible piece of church music! Google doesn't help. Anyone know that song?

11 comments:

James Alter said...

Little Nell

It was a dark and stormy night
When my Nelly went away
And I'll never forget her
Til my dying day
She was just 16
And the village queen and the prettiest trick
That the valley ever seen
The farm ain't the same since me Nelly went away
The rooster died and the hen won't lay
But in this window I'll put a light
40 below zero, gosh what a night

Who's that a knocking at the door?
It's your own Little Nell
Don't you know me anymore?
What happened to the actor guy
Who used to call you Honey
Did he leave you all alone when you hadn't any money

Oh, he's a slick town guy and he lies with ease
And he's got more money that a dog has fleas
But he left me alone when I was most forlorn
The very night that my little Dumbell was born

Is that there Dummy
Well it ain't no other
The gosh-darned image
Of his gosh-darned mother

Hoity Toity my fair beauty
Or you'll come to harm
Cos I hold the mortgage
On your gash-darned farm
Give me back my Dummy
Your Dummy
My Dummy
Your Dummy
My Dummy

Who's this a comin
It sounds like a mule
I ain't no mule you gash-darned fool
Can't you tell by me badge
I'm the constibule

Now what's the harm
Do please tell
Well he ain't done right by my Little Nell
Yes I have
You have not
Yes I have
You have not

And I guess I'll have to fine him a dollar and a quarter
Which all goes to prove the price of sin
And tomorrow night we play East Lynn

Anonymous said...

"One Early Easter Morning" by Ralph E. Marryott

One early Easter morning I waken'd with the birds,
And all around lay silence Too deep for idle words.
One early Easter morning,
I heard a quiet weeping Beside a silent tomb. . . .

Happygirl said...

I think that the words I remember are probably the first and last verse. I have searched online for lyrics, and found the sheet music available to order at http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/One-Early-Easter-Morning/1858842

but have not found the lyrics listed yet.

The ones I remember are:
One early Easter morning,
I wakened with the birds,
And all around lay silence,
Too deep for idle words
One early Easter morning.

And as the dawn was lifting (rising?)
Across the eastern sky
I thank God for Easter morning
When Christ the Lord rides by
One early Easter morning.

My experience was similar in that we sang this song in church choir when I was in high school. I remember it and sing it aloud every Easter morning.

Happygirl said...

I think that the words I remember are probably the first and last verse. I have searched online for lyrics, and found the sheet music available to order at http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/One-Early-Easter-Morning/1858842

but have not found the lyrics listed yet.

The ones I remember are:
One early Easter morning,
I wakened with the birds,
And all around lay silence,
Too deep for idle words
One early Easter morning.

And as the dawn was lifting (rising?)
Across the eastern sky
I thank God for Easter morning
When Christ the Lord rides by
One early Easter morning.

My experience was similar in that we sang this song in church choir when I was in high school. I remember it and sing it aloud every Easter morning.

Judy Alter said...

"One Early Easter Morning" was beautiful this morning--sunrise, as it went from dark to light, with a soloist and three back-up singers. Too short but lovely.

Anonymous said...

I too remember being in Girl Scouts and doing "The Nellie Poem" with the deep knee bends! As I got older I would lay in bed at night trying to piece together the lines I could remember from that time. We would rehearse in the church in our small town in Ohio during the late 60's. What a coincidence to find someone with the same experience!

Anonymous said...

I too remember being in Girl Scouts and doing "The Nellie Poem" with the deep knee bends! As I got older I would lay in bed at night trying to piece together the lines I could remember from that time. We would rehearse in the church in our small town in Ohio during the late 60's. What a coincidence to find someone with the same experience!

Judy Alter said...

I was going to direct anonymous to the web, but I remember now that my son posted the lyrics. I was so glad to find them because, like you, I was troubled that I couldn't remember them all.

Joseph said...

I remember the final part of One Early Easter Morning. I was about 6 (now I am 70!). Someone fill in the blanks...

"At last the dawn came flaming
Across the Easter Sky
Thank God for ....
When Christ the Lord ...

Joseph said...

I was in children's choir, and I remember some words to the *last part of One Early Easter Morning, though I was 6 (now I am 70).. The song is sung very softly until this last part ... which I remember singing with big smiles and profound joy.

At last the dawn came flaming
Across the Easter sky
Thank God for Easter morning
When Christ the Lord ...(missing)

(( Then quietly finishes with ...))

One early Easter morning.

Best wishes!

Judy Alter said...

Thanks for reminding me and once again leading down memory's path. I was wishing they'd sing it at sunrise again this year.