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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Song Of Graduation Season

Lake High School graduates throw their caps into the air, Tuesday, June 8, 2010, at Owens Community College in Perrysburg, Ohio. (J.D. Pooley/AP)

Lake High School graduates throw their caps into the air, Tuesday, June 8, 2010, at Owens Community College in Perrysburg, Ohio. (J.D. Pooley/AP)

If you’ve attended a high school or college graduation recently, you may have heard Tom Rush’s version of “Child’s Song.”

It’s become a classic, with its lyrics about a child moving on.

In 2011, Here & Now host Robin Young spoke to Rush about his performance of Canadian Murray McLauchlan’s tune, which he says bowled him over when he first heard it.

“I knew that I had to sing it, but I couldn’t get through it from top to bottom for about six months,” he said. “I had to toughen up so that I didn’t burst into tears…somewhere around the third verse.”

Lyrics to “Child’s Song” by Murray McLauchlan

Goodbye Momma, goodbye to you too Pa
Little sister, you’ll have to wait a while to come along
Goodbye to this house and all it’s memories
We just got too old to say we’re wrong

Got to make one last trip to my bedroom
Guess I’ll have to leave some stuff behind
It’s funny how the same old crooked pictures
Just don’t seem the same to me tonight

There ain’t no use in shedding no more tears Mamma
There ain’t no use in shouting at me Pa
I can’t live no longer with your fears Mamma
I love you but that hasn’t helped at all

Each of us must do the things that matter
All of us must see what we can see
It was long ago, you must remember
You were once as young and scared as me

I don’t know how hard it is yet Mamma
When you realize you’re growing old
I know how hard it is now to be younger
I know you’ve tried to keep me from the cold

Thanks for all you done, it may sound hollow
Thank you for the good times that we’ve known
But I must find my own road, now to follow
You will all be welcome in my home

Got my suitcase, I must go now
I don’t mind about the things you said
I’m sorry Mom, I don’t know where I’m going
Remember little sister, look ahead

Tomorrow I’ll be in some other sunrise
Maybe I’ll have someone at my side
Mamma, give your love back to your husband
Father, you’ve have taught me well, goodbye
Goodbye Mamma, goodbye to you too Pa

Guest:

  • Tom Rush, folk and blues singer, songwriter and musician.

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  • Amyt

    If only you had followed that song with a reading of The Giving Tree -you could have completely stopped traffic for a 10 minute crying jag! I loved the song, didn’t know it. Feel like my son could have been singing it to me. Thanks.

  • Diana Brown

    Tom, I have listened to that song ever since you began playing it.  Today on Here and Now, you grabbed my heart, much the same way Toph did 8 years ago by including The Child Song on a mix he gave to us when he graduated from high school. Robin, please play this piece every year in June, We all hear it new as the years unfold. Thank you both.

  • GinnyGinnGinny

    Then there’s the letter from *the parents* to the kid who’s graduated and moved away.  Try to keep dry eyes with this one!  :(

    https://myspace.com/deanfriedman/music/song/the-letter-38789243-90706828 

    The Letter

    by Dean Friedman

    Autumn seems awful lonely here whenever we think of you.
    Last night the sky was purple and we wanted to share the view.
    Leaves on the trees are turning and the woods are all ablaze
    They smell of timber burning in the fireplace.

    Sunday we woke up early and we drove out to Tice’s Farms,
    Gorging ourselves on all the cider and doughnuts we could fit under both our arms.
    Picking out penny candy in the country store,
    Till we collapsed on the porch with our bellies sore.

    So what’s it like to be on your own, a roaming vagabond, away from home,
    in search of some forgotten door?
    Is it half as good as it sounds? Tell me, have you really found
    the peace and calm we’ve all been looking for?

    Freckles still misses you. She always sleeps on the floor in your room.
    Ruth says she smells, but you know it’s just her very unique perfume.
    The tree in the back bore apples but they’re green and full of worms.
    Guess we’ll sit tight and wait until the cider turns.

    Everyone sends their love; they still don’t really believe you’re gone.
    Everyone’s jealous of this crazy odyssey that you’re on.
    Hoping this finds you happy and healthy and sane.
    I pray that your strength will ease you through the growing pains.

    So what’s it like to be on your own, a roaming vagabond, away from home,
    in search of some forgotten door?
    Is it half as good as it sounds? Tell me, have you really found
    the peace and calm we’ve all been looking for?

  • Jesse Mireles

    Haven’t heard this in years. This goes out to our graduates Kyle & Jordan, their parents and sibs, to all the people I love, especially my wife Allen, sons Gabriel & Alex, et al. 

  • Blasthoff

    Thanks so much for playing this again. It’s impact never diminishes and again it changed my day completely. Being a long time fan of Tom’s, this song touched me in my early twenties just as much as it touches me now in my sixties. It is one of only a very few, if any, songs that fit in the full circle of life. Thanks again.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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