I just finished reading Good Morning, Merry Sunshine: A Father’s Journal of His Child’s First Year, which I picked up at my parish’s wonderful monthly Book Swap.  The title comes from the father’s habit of saying this each morning to his baby girl when he goes to pick her up out of her crib when she wakes.  He writes that his mother used to say it to him, that he probably hadn’t heard it since he was about five, and that all of a sudden one morning the words just came.
This instantly called to mind my own good morning tradition.  When I was little–and not so little–my mother always woke me by singing, “Good morning to you, good morning to you, good morning, Dear Leslie, I’m glad to see you!”  This song, which is sung to the same tune as “Happy Birthday,” has an interesting history, as a quick trip to Wikipedia attests.  It was written by a pair of kindergarten teachers to sing to their students.  Originally titled, “Good Morning to All,” it was first published in 1893, and probably owed a debt to several earlier songs.
The version my mother sings has two more verses and I am going to have to ask her if she added them herself, because an internet search shows no trace of them anywhere.  It continues:  “Potatoes have eyes, but they never blink.  And big cauliflowers have heads but don’t think.  But we use our heads, and we use our eyes, and we go to school so that we can get wise.”
I have sung this song to all my children in the mornings for as long as I can remember, until they grew old enough to be annoyed by it.  There was no conscious moment when I thought, “Oh, now I am the mother, I should sing the Good Morning song!” I just sang it.  And I won’t be a bit surprised if I hear my kids singing it to my grandchildren one of these days.


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