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12 Ballads and Songs of Michigan
meant, but that he had learned the song partly in school, where the teacher had taught him to pronounce them as he did.
Sometimes the efforts of people to produce what we were seeking were amusing. Mr. John Lambertson seemed to get inspiration from retiring to the kitchen, where he would clasp his hands behind his back and hum to himself as he walked back and forth until he felt that he had recalled all of a song. Another farmer, who had consumed too much beer at a local celebration the day before wc saw him, sang several songs for us and then hinted that he would like more beer, telling us that his wife had taken the family purse with her when she went berrying. When the hint laded to produce the desired result, much embarrassed but determined, he asked us for a "quarter to get some beer." Since wc yielded to his request, we have never dared to return for more songs lest we have to reckon with a wife thwarted in her efforts to force her better half to lead a temperate life.
Timid persons whom we sought because they had been recommended as good singers would often declare that they had lost their singing voice, that they had never known any songs of the kind we were looking for, or, most often, that they had known many and forgotten all of them because of religious or business interests. A tactful response to our queries was not infrequently an expression ol regret that we had not come a few years earlier when we would have been rewarded by the singing of a relative or neighbor since deceased.
In Michigan, as elsewhere, it is unusual to find people under the age of fifty who remember the words of many of the songs which they have heard members of preceding generations sing. And very few of the young people arc in the least interested. One remarkable exception was Lauretta Myers, of Pentwater. Having been told that her father and grandfather were singers, I went to call on the family one evening. The father said that the dairy business had driven from his memory old songs which he had once known and that his father, who had been a great singer in the lumber camps, had now at the age of ninety-four lost both memory and voice. Evidently wishing to be of service he added: "I have a girl of fifteen who is a tomboy and no help to her mother, but she likes old songs and has a notebook full of her favorites." At that the girl, who seemed to have been listening to the conversation, came into the room and offered mc the notebook. She generously said: "You can take it home with you and copy anything you like " When I questioned her about the sources of the contents, I was surprised to hear her reply: "The radio." Asked whether she could get the words from