Not Your Average Lullaby

There were lots of Americans talking about patriotism and the 4th of July yesterday at my usual Internet watercoolers, as you can imagine. I reflected a little on the idea that how you interpret patriotism comes from how what values your parents instill in you, and I was reminded of a conversation I had with my mother a while back on her choice of lullabies when I was young.

A couple of years ago, I took my mom to a Crosby, Stills, and Nash concert for Mother’s Day present. As an encore, they sang “For What It’s Worth,” a song that Buffalo Springfield is best known for, but it was written by Stephen Stills. You can listen here:

Anyway, I remarked to my mother that she used to sing me that song when I was a little girl when she was trying to calm me down, often at bedtime. She didn’t remember but joked, “Well, it’s no wonder you turned out the way you did!” It is true that although I really liked it when she sang it to me, it’s a full-on political protest song written in response to the Sunset Strip curfew riots. It’s not exactly the first thing you think of when you’re looking for a lullaby for your children. But of course, I didn’t know what it meant at the time. I just knew that I liked the way it sounded. Now that I’m older, I still appreciate the song, just in a different way.

What about you, Persephoneers? What songs did your parents sing to you that aren’t traditional lullabies where you live?

By BaseballChica03

Political hack. Word nerd. Stays crispy in milk. Oxford Comma user. Blogger since 2001.

4 replies on “Not Your Average Lullaby”

My dad sang us a lot of Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen, accompanied by his guitar, and he usually tried to explain the lyrics when we asked. When my sister fell asleep I’d usually request my melancholy favorite, “Suzanne.” But dad usually finished up with “Edelweiss” as a gesture to age-appropriateness.

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