Thursday, March 15, 2018

A look back at good times

I wrote this blog six years ago, but it came popping up with a comment in my inbox tonight, and it seemed too perfect not to share again. Thanks to son Jamie who found the complete lyrics to “Who’s Knocking at My Door?” Anyone else remember this? Here’s the original blog post:

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.

This is what Jamie found:

Who’s Knocking at My Door?

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

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