Avis Louise Foss Sinclair, my Mother, was born 98 years ago today on March 8, 1914.
My Mother loved music.
She played the piano – I wish I’d found out the name of that one piece she knew by heart and always played whenever she sat down at the keyboard – and she sang.
The song she loved to sing I remember well: “Down By The Old Mill Stream.”
This song, written by Tell Taylor in 1908 and published in 1910, is considered one of the most popular songs of the early 20th century. The first recording of it by Harry Macdonough and Chorus was a #1 hit in 1911.
Over the years, there have been dozens of recordings by a host of other artists including Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Mitch Miller and The Crew-Cuts.
Mr. Taylor wrote the original song with two verses and a chorus. My Mother only sang the chorus, but she added a phrase to the end of each line that was a humorous sort of answer or clarification to the original text.
Of all of the recordings I found that perform the song this way, I’ve chosen the one below to share with you. I can hear the sound of my Mother’s laughter if I could be sharing this with her today, too.
Nothing like a good campfire sing-along.
If you’d like to read a bit more about my Mother, please go back into the blog archives to my post of March 8, 2011.
My Mother passed away on August 5, 2001.