Memory Lane: A Navy Lullaby

My mother used to sing this to each of her children, in turn, as a lullaby: Bell Bottom Trousers. Most of the versions on Youtube have naughty lyrics that we never got to hear. Most of the arrangements are for loud, brassy music; but my mother sang it softly, as a lullaby. With different lyrics!

“Bell bottom trousers, coat of Navy blue/ Your daddy was a sailor, you’ll be a sailor, too.”

Thing was, our daddy really was a sailor, during World War II. And the old storage space in our house–all that was left of the attic, after he’d converted it to bedrooms–was chock-full of stuff he brought back from the war. Dad’s ship was based in the Philippines, and he had a lot of little knick-knacks from there: plus the whole panoply of his sailor duds.

Oh, where is all that stuff now? Dad and Ma moved so many times, and we played carelessly with the souvenirs as kids: I don’t think there’s any of it left, other than a few Filipino coins from the war years.

But it was a nice lullaby: and I was very proud of my Daddy the sailor–never crossed my mind that he was little more than a kid himself, when he clapped eyes on the Pacific Ocean. How young he was…

2 comments on “Memory Lane: A Navy Lullaby

  1. Being born of the postwar baby boom was an interesting privilege. Growing up, I heard experiences of WW II in many places. One uncle had exceptionally interesting items brought back from his time in Asia, I believe I have some of these in my possession, being one of his last surviving relatives.

    The lessons of that war have fallen from the collective consciousness, in our day, and I fear we may be doomed to repeating some of these fearsome events.

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