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Friday, October 7, 2016

Some Down Sides Of My Early Singing Career

Rare photo of me at six, with my older brother Eli

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear,
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?

At the Northern Barber Shop,
Fuzzy Wuzzy lost his crop.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't fuzzy, was he?

I was six years old when I innocently offered to sing this little ditty at a talent sharing time in Miss Fauber's second grade class. That was some 70 years ago.

Big mistake. I had no idea how many problems it would create for me during my remaining five years at Stuarts Draft Elementary. From that point on, students from all over the school of some 400 kids would repeatedly pester me to sing "Fuzzy Wuzzy" for them--at recess, over the lunch hour, while waiting for the bus, and at any other unexpected times.

Not only was this annoying, it was embarrassing for a young Amish kid who didn't care much for that kind of attention. Even worse, I was nicknamed "Fuzzy Wuzzy" by some of my fellow students.

I've mostly gotten over any complex this may have created, and I have sometimes even sung this nursery rhyme piece to my younger grandchildren, who have themselves asked me for repeated encores, along with the story of how others begged me to sing it when I was in school. 

I recently learned that the term "fuzzy wuzzy" originated as a derogatory term for some tribes of nineteenth-century Sudanese warriors who gave British imperial forces no end of trouble. So I was probably being politically incorrect and insensitive during this entire part of my singing career.

Of course I was totally unaware of this, and in my defense, the little song some of my sisters had learned from some worldly friends of theirs no longer carried that meaning for most people. 

Maybe my childhood performing experience wasn't all in vain, in that it may have helped me overcome some of my shyness. Or who knows, maybe it contributed to my becoming a pastor and counselor--in part to help others overcome past childhood traumas. ;-)

Note: I have no idea where the second verse actually comes from, as I haven't been able to find those words in print anywhere. But not to worry, my grandkids and I will likely remember them forever.
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