Vicky Loras posted a blog challenge called “What’s Your Story” . I was able to identify with her story of immigration as I moved to Israel from the United States when I was eleven years old.
Back in mid 1970s there was no Internet and the world wasn’t quite as globalized as it is today. Fashions spread slowly then and my new classmates stared in shock at my brand new bell-bottom pants. Unlike today everyone wasn’t watching the same T.V. shows and food products from the States (such as peanut butter) weren’t available in the local, small town supermarket.
I wasn’t particularly attractive to my new classmates. They had all been together since kindergarten. I was a poor student as I knew Hebrew, but not on grade level. To make matters far worse, I was a complete klutz in the playground and could not contribute to team sports. Couldn’t sing well or dance well either.
My knowledge of all matters American seemed suspect. I claimed that there were 50 states in the United States. The teacher (BIG sigh!) and the pupils all said there were 51 states. We took a class trip to the Kennedy Memorial. Each state there has a plaque and SO DOES THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA! That adds up to 51…
But at least I knew English. That is, until “Mull of Kintyre” became a huge hit.
The kids were wild about foreign music. As there was no Internet to get the lyrics from, the thing to do was ask a native speaker to write down the lyrics while listening to the song. I often had trouble doing that as singers don’t always enunciate clearly or the music is too loud. But “Mull of Kintyre” was the worst. As a kid I had no idea what a “mull” was or that “Kintyre” was a name of a place. In fact, I couldn’t even tell where one word began and the other ended, I tried to make sense of different sound combinations (mulling on tyres / molliking on rye) and drew a blank every time.
I know there were other songs during those years that caused me angst but this one stuck in my memory because it took me a long time till I learned the meaning. By then I had become proficient in Hebrew and gotten over a lot of the problems that had plagued me as a newcomer.
This song always triggers memories.