Posted in Stories from the Nursing Home

Songs of the Past

Once again the internet did something great.

A few weeks ago I was talking to one of the men in the nusing home, he turned 102 yesterday. He started singing a song, but only knew one word and the tune, so it was quite hard to find it. Today I was doing some research on carrier pigeons (for my communication talk in two weeks), and found a video from WWI but without sound, so I tried to find a song to go with it. For some reason I clicked on this one song, and it WAS THE SONG! So later I found this man and played the song. He immediatly sat up straight in his wheelchair, started marching and singing along loudly (something he almost never does). It turns out that this was a very popular song of the time, and I played it for one woman and she too lit up and started singing the chorus:

Over there, over there,Send the word, send the word over thereThat the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are comingThe drums rum-tumming everywhere.So prepare, say a prayer,Send the word, send the word to beware -We’ll be over, we’re coming over,And we won’t come back till it’s over, over there.

The man then asked me if I could find a song in German. He asked for a German Nationalist song, “Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden” (which is interesting in itself, as he is a Jewish man who left Germany in 1933). He was amazed that I was able to find it, even though he did not like the fact that all of the songs that I found were choirs, rather than one singer. He proceeded to translate the song, which was actually quite sad.

When talking to the woman about this song, she then told me about her gramaphone that she had as a child. It was her job to turn the handle to make it work.But she remebers the day her father brought home an electric gramaphone, and so she no longer had a job to do, and so she felt less connected with it. She was reminicing about turning the handle and said that even though she had an electric one for longer, she remembers the manual one more because she was a part of it.



I'm not always the greatest at sharing what is in my head. Here is a place that I am experimenting with sharing my ideas and thoughts. They are about my life, my experiences in becoming a rabbi, things that I see going on around me, and sometimes words of Torah.

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