Monday, November 20, 2006

Timothy Turkey

Yesterday, I saw my first bald eagle. It was roosting in a tree that stands behind the church parsonage, which in turn stands next to the church where we were attending service. The reverend told the Sunday school kids that he discovered the eagle while raking leaves on Saturday. He then suggested that after service, everybody go next door and investigate the bird which was still sitting sentinel on a tree limb. Being a big kid myself, I was one of the first out the door. I was a little disappointed that the eagle didn’t have a white head and I speculated that it was wearing a toupee, or maybe it was using "Grecian formula" or "Just for Eagles". One of the sixth grade boys seemed disgusted by these comments. “It’s only two years old,” he explained, “its head hasn’t turned white yet.”

When we walked closer to the tree, we noticed that the eagle had a squirrel trapped in its talons. The squirrel’s fuzzy tail swayed in the breeze as the eagle eagerly ripped it to shreds with its enormous beak. The boys watched in amazement as the bird disemboweled its prey. The girls, on the other hand, thought it disgusting. I was with the girls on this one.

Watching this majestic eagle, made me think of how wrong Benjamin Franklin was when he petitioned to have the turkey, not the eagle, be our national symbol. Thoughts of turkey then turned to memories of kindergarten and my beautiful young teacher, Miss Flanagan. This was the song she taught us at Union School, November 1967:

Timothy Turkey
Why do you cry?
Boo Hoo Hoo

Timothy Turkey
I’ll tell you why
Boo Hoo Hoo


Thanksgiving is coming
They’ll Chop off your head
(We emphasized this last line by making a slashing hand movement across our throats)
And if you don’t hide
Then soon you'll be dead

Boo Hoo Hoo

I don’t think I ate much turkey that year.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was that Union School in West Haven?
A reader

Bobby said...

Yes, Union School in West Haven. I only went there for kindergarten. It has since been converted to senior citizen apartments. My mother's gentlemen friend had an apartment in what was once my classroom.

THANKFUL PENGUIN said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Justin said...

I've seen 2 eagles in the past year - one over a lake in NC and one over the Chesapeake Bay in MD - both adults. Is your church near a body of water?

Bobby said...

The tree the eagle was sitting in borders a river. Long Island Sound is basically across the street from this area. I believe this eagle nests in marshlands a little up river though. I forgot about my camera phone and I didn't take it's picture. The one shown on this post was taken off of Google Images, but it looked just like it.

Anonymous said...

Bobby, I was going to offer you a tour of your old school as I work for the West Haven Housing Authority and have office time there on Fridays. BYW would you mind sharing the name of your Mom's friend. If he lived there in the past 10 years, I probably know/knew him. Small world, huh?
Jamie's wife ( a fellow conductor)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the words to that song-Timothy Turkey. I am a 31 year old teacher that learned that song in nursery school. I went home singing it and that is how my baby brother got his name.
I wanted to teach that song to my students, but didn't have the words.
I've never heard anyone else sing that song. Thanks for the words.

Anonymous said...

I learned that song in Nursery School (mid to late 70s). I attended Kiddie Kollege, in Guilford, CT. After we learned the lyrics to that song, our nursery school teacher took all the kids in the class on a tour to watch a local farm woman pluck a dead chicken. Let's just say...to this day...I still forfeit the Turkey Dinner on Thanksgiving. Keep that in mind when you teach this song to your kindergartener class (to the first post).

Christopher said...

Wow I never thought I would find a reference to Union School in Wets Haven, CT! I went to school there Kindergarten- 5th grade. Sad to see it's apartments now but that's what's necessary to do.

Christopher said...

It also dawned upon me that we nust have been in the same Kindergarten class as I graduated from West Haven High School in 1980! Small world indeed Bobby!

David said...

I too sang this song Kindergarten in Southbury, CT. I was singing this song today at my friends house in Pasadena, CA and no else one knew the song. I could not remember the rest of the lyrics - thanks for posting them. Music education sure has changed :)

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MaryLou said...

I learned that song in school too. I think in kindergarten, probably. That would have been 1964. I went to kindergaten and elementary school in Wethersfield, CT. Funny!

Anonymous said...

This must have been a popular song in the NE...as I learned in in MA

Anonymous said...

I learned the song in 1st grade I think in central SC. (1976) guess we were a little behind everyone else? Glad you posted the words, I could not remember all of them

Peter said...

I went to school in New Britain, CT. We learned the "Timothy Turkey" song in Kindergarten (1964). I'm trying to remember back, but I thought the song was written by a music teacher in New Britain. Her last name was Dorfman. She published a music album with children's songs. My parents had a copy, but it is long since gone. I was trying to find an audio version on Google for today. Thanks for the lyrics.

Dave B. said...

Amazing! I just was remembering this song out of the blue and this site came up first in my search. I too remember my nursery school teacher singing this at Mary Louise Aiken in West Hartford, CT in 1969! Thank you!

sharon said...

OMG, I sing that song to my son every night he loves the "turkey song" I learned it in grade school at Alice Peck in Hamden, CT. I can tell you how I remember it. Maybe this is another verse...

Timothy turkey how do you do...bo hoo hoo, Thanksgiving is coming and off with your head unless Mama cooks a fat chicken insteadddddd.

I found your post Derailed when I was trying to look up more verses to that song. Thanks for remembering. Sharon, Burlington, CT

Sharon said...

OMG, I sing that song to my son every night he loves the "turkey song" I learned it in grade school at Alice Peck in Hamden, CT 1977ish. I can tell you how I remember it. Maybe this is another verse...

Timothy turkey how do you do...bo hoo hoo, Thanksgiving is coming and off with your head unless Mama cooks a fat chicken insteadddddd.

I found your post Derailed when I was trying to look up more verses to that song. Thanks for remembering. Sharon, Burlington, CT

Sharon said...

OMG, I sing that song to my son every night he loves the "turkey song" I learned it in grade school at Alice Peck in Hamden, CT around 1977. I can tell you how I remember it. Maybe this is another verse...

Timothy turkey how do you do...bo hoo hoo, Thanksgiving is coming and off with your head unless Mama cooks a fat chicken insteadddddd.

I found your post Derailed when I was trying to look up more verses to that song. Thanks for remembering. Sharon, Burlington, CT

Linda Claus said...

When I was little, my grandmother had a record that she kept at her house that had childrens songs for the holidays, and that was one of my favorite songs on that album, but I was never able to find it when my daughter was young... I have always hoped to find those songs, so that she could hear them... thank you for posting the words....

Pam said...

What a small world indeed! I also had beautiful Miss Flanagan for my kindergarten teacher, but I graduated in 1979.I wanted to write a little piece for my two baritone horn players, little boys, along with the lyrics to this song for this Thanksgiving.anyway, what a great teacher she was, and what a memorable School Union School was! You probably also learned Leo the Lion, correct?

Heather Eyres said...

My GreatAunt wrote this song.
Helen Horn Dorfman, she was a kindergarten teacher at Diloretto school in New Britain, CT.
I have her record. How funny is that? Record, when we now deal with cd's and mp3's. I have been looking for info on the web about the song, but not much is coming up. I learned this in Kindergarten in Southington,CT in 70's. Came home singing it and mom showed me the Album. So Cool!

Heather Eyres said...

My Great Aunt wrote "Timothy Turkey". I learned it in kindergarten in Southington,CT in 70's. Came home singing it and mom showed me the album. Really cool. Her name was Helen Horn Dorfman, she was a K Teacher at Diloretto in New Britain,CT.
I am trying to get the songs put on cd so I can upload them for all to enjoy.

pamig said...

Wow ! This songs brings a sweet memory of my son , now 40. When he was in second grade he came home looking very sad and told me that he had learn a new song that made him sad, when i asked him to tell me the song and i heard it I realized how sad it was for a young kid to hear that and as I usually did I changed the words to it and Timothy Turkey went into hiding until after the holidays. Big memories.

Lori said...

I was in Miss Dorfman's class in kindergarten at DiLoreto School in New Britain and we have this album somewhere in my parents stuff. I remember going to Sears at Corbin's Corner one Saturday with all of my classmates to sing in a show of all of her songs that we sang in class. I had forgotten all about Timothy Turkey but it came right back to me. It was such a sad day when we lost her:(

Anonymous said...

I remember singing this song in grade school at Wm Strong Elementary school in Southington. So many songs for little kids to enjoy, so many years have passed to forget them!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the words. I learned the song when my children was in grade school in CT the 70's and 80's. Now I sing it to my grandchildren. I forgot the words and was just singing the 1st part twice. I get great joy on thanksgiving morning for the past 12 years when I get a call from a dear friend (55 yrs. old) wanting me to sing the Timothy Turkey Song. Thanks to you I can sing the whole song.

tami9122000@aol.com said...

Ms dorfman had a album and one of the songs she wrote was mrs piano...1963 /1964 I was in her class in Deloreto in new Britain ct...

Anonymous said...

I was in Mrs.Helen (Horn) Dorfman's kindergarten class in the fall of 1955. The Diloreto School's original name was Slater Road School in New Britain, CT.

The words I remember (and taught to 25 years of my own kdg. students) are:

Timothy Turkey, Why do you cry, Boo hoo hoo?
Timothy Turkey, Please tell me why, Boo hoo hoo.
"Thanksgiving is coming, and I'll lose my head.....
Unless mother finds a fat chicken instead."
Timothy Turkey, Why do you cry? Boo hoo hoooo.

As children we begged our mother not to cook our turkey if it was "Timothy." She cleverly pointed out on the turkey label that our turkey was Tom. Tears avoided.