November 8th, 2019


Sunday, 10 November 2019

The one where Elly remembers that Grandpa Jim used to sing a lot of songs not from World War II.
(Original Publication Date, 11 November 1990)

Panel 1: From the Wikipedia.,_Nellie
"Wait 'Till the Sun Shines, Nellie" is a 1905 popular song with music written by Harry Von Tilzer and lyrics by Andrew B. Sterling.  In a long-standing tradition, floor traders at the New York Stock Exchange sing this song on the last trading day of every year and on Christmas Eve. The song has been the stock exchange anthem at least back as far as 1934.

Panel 2: From the Wikipedia.
"Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile" is the full name of a World War I marching song, published in 1915

Panel 3: From the Wikipedia.
"Now Is the Hour" is a popular song from the early 20th century. Often erroneously described as a traditional Māori song,

Panel 4: From the Wikipedia. is the one and only WWII song in the bunch.
"(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover" is a popular World War II song composed in 1941 by Walter Kent to lyrics by Nat Burton. Made famous in Vera Lynn's 1942 version, it was one of Lynn's best-known recordings and among the most popular World War II tunes.

Panel 5:
The lyrics to "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" were written by the Irish-American bandleader Patrick Gilmore during the American Civil War. This is the oldest song of the bunch.

Panel 6: Now for the dialogue to explain why Elly is enjoying those songs (as opposed to explaining why any radio in 1990 would be playing that music).  Elly explains that she remembers her dad singing those songs.  Elizabeth asks, “Why?” and before we see the reason Elly gives, let us look at the real reason.  Grandpa Jim is based on Lynn Johnston’s father, Mervyn Ridgway and he was born in 1920.  All of these songs (but one) predate Mervyn.  So, most likely these were songs he heard growing up and not during WWII.

Panel 7: Elly goes to the Remembrance Day theme (November 11, 1990) and suggests the songs reminded Grandpa Jim of the wonderful people he met overseas during the war.   My wife has the Satellite Radio station 40s Junction and it is truly a fascinating thing to listen to songs written in the 1940s which bring up World War II themes.  Here is a favorite:

Panel 8: Elizabeth asks if Grampa had a lot of friends, seeming to have missed the whole war part of what Elly said.

Panel 9: In case we forgot that Elizabeth has no friends (because Dawn Enjo does not count), she is jealous of WWII Grandpa Jim’s wartime friend-making.

Panel 10: Elly gathers Elizabeth to her and points out that Grandpa Jim was lucky because he was one of the ones who came home.   Awww!!

Summary: This is the first Remembrance Day since Lynn’s father died in August, 1990, and I fully expect Lynn to have notes talking about how all these songs were songs that her father actually sang around the house.  This is also one of many times when Lynn will use Remembrance Day as a day to celebrate WWII veterans or her father’s participation in WWII.   She creates a perception that Canada does not have any veterans after WWII and the most egregious part is that she never uses Remembrance Day to recognize her own mother’s participation as an officer in the WWII RCAF using Grandma Marian.  Here’s to you Mervyn and the amazing Ursula Ridgway and to all of Canada’s veterans, even the ones that did not serve in WWII.