Date: 2016-12-21 05:55 pm (UTC)
My grandfather was in the merchant marines. He was a cabin boy on the Med in his teens. HIs father was the most unlucky lobsterman in all of Nova Scotia, and eventually, he gave up the sea to paint houses, which didn't pay a lot, but paid more than sailing. My mother learned "Barnacle Bill" from him. I was very, very much an adult before I learned that "I'm all lit up like a Christmas tree" was a reference to being drunk, rather than someone improbably wearing Christmas lights. (I think the verse went, "It's only me from over the sea, said Barnacle Bill the Sailor. I'm all lit up like a Christmas Tree, said Barnacle Bill the Sailor.")

There was also the rhyme "Today is the day we give babies away, with a half a pound of tea," which my mother said often, when bouncing a child on her knee. I don't know if she actually knew the second half, which was "So if you know any ladies who need any babies, just send them round to me."

My mom was born in 42, her mother born in 1911(?), I don't remember when my grandfather was born. But yes, that general area of time.
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