Erasing History

By Eilene Lyon “There are those who wrap themselves in flags and blow the tinny trumpet of patriotism as a means of fooling the people.” -- George Galloway I recently saw this meme posted on Facebook and felt it brought up issues regarding history that this blog ought to address. Taken at face value, I... Continue Reading →

Lucky Me!

Week 11: #52 Ancestors – Luck By Eilene Lyon I would never deny that I’ve had very good fortune in life. Living in America has been a real blessing, and is a circumstance of my birth for which I can claim no credit – I’m just lucky! I grew up in a solidly middle-class family,... Continue Reading →

A Christmas Custom

By Eilene Lyon Sometimes I like to imagine the ways our pioneer ancestors did things differently than we do today. Of course, the list is long. One tradition I ran across in several county history books comes from the late 18th and early 19th century. Practiced at “free schools” in rural areas at Christmas, the... Continue Reading →

The Huntington: Galleries

By Eilene Lyon During my day-long visit to the Huntington, I alternated between strolling through the gardens and visiting the galleries to get out of the sun for a bit. I wrote previously about the gardens. Henry and Arabella were both collectors and particularly enamored with Louis XVI French style. Their former residence is dedicated... Continue Reading →

Murder in New Netherland

Week 31: #52 Ancestors – Oldest By Eilene Lyon I consider myself a family historian. Genealogy is a tool I use to construct my family stories. For this reason, my family tree does not wander back to the hinterlands of history. Most of the people I research date from the 18th century forward. In fact,... Continue Reading →

The Amazing True History of Yankee Doodle

If you ever wondered if history could be enlightening, entertaining and downright hilarious, you must read this story about the origins of “Yankee Doodle.”

Dispatches From the Former New World

To celebrate the July 4th holiday I reprise the amazing true story of an American patriotic song, first published in The Dabbler on June 3rd 2015. Could it be that Yankee Doodle Dandy started out as a British insult?

yankee-doodle

In recent years I’ve spent a lot of time singing nonsense songs to my grandsons. Nursery rhymes and traditional children’s songs, often imperfectly remembered. So sometimes I make them up and improvise pure nonsense as I go. The other day I found myself singing the American patriotic song Yankee Doodle. This time I remembered the words exactly but, as if hearing them for the first time, it suddenly struck me what utter nonsense they are. What on earth does the song mean?

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