Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

Back in the 70s, there seems to have been a genre of songs, both pop and disco, which featured endlessly repeated inane lyrics. Somehow they were popular, perhaps because they were so easily learned by international audiences. One such, Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, was a big enough hit to get all the way to Thailand before we left there in 1971.

I didn’t have much exposure to what was current on any radio at the time, but I suppose it got airplay on Thai stations. Our housemaids, Wandee and Uthai, knew the song, and gleefully sang it to my infant brother (who was then too young to understand the lyrics). I found the song profoundly creepy. “Where’s your mama gone, little baby son?” “Far, far away.” Did they wish for or foresee my mother’s absence?

I was already jealous of their doting on my brother. I didn’t get much attention from my mother, so there wasn’t much to envy there. But I was frightened by the implication that one’s mother could simply disappear: “Woke up this morning and my mamma was gone.”

Not long after that, she was indeed gone from my life.

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